Specialized Announces New Ultra-Lightweight 232 Gram MTB Shoe

Jun 9, 2021
by Sarah Moore  
Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes



Specialized announced the new S-Works EXOS EVO shoe today, the lightest off-road shoe they’ve ever created. The new mountain bike shoe effectively combines the bottom half of the S-Works Recon off-road shoe with the unique 'Dyneema' material-based upper of the S-Works EXOS road shoe.

Specialized says that they were able to create a shoe that weighs just 232 grams in a size 42, or 464 grams for the pair, because of that Dyneema material on the upper and because they did away with the weight and bulk of a traditional molded heel counter.

It wasn't about saving weight at any cost however, and the off-road shoe weighs about 80 grams more than the ultra lightweight road shoe. On the S-Works EXOS EVO mountain bike shoe, Specialized includes a protective toe bumper and they added
Specialized EXOS Evo MTB Shoe
• Body Geometry design
• XC FACT carbon plate with Stiffness Index of 13.0
• 464 grams for a pair of Size 42 shoes
• Dyneema Mesh on outer
• BOA Li2 dial for on-the-fly micro-adjustment
• SlipNot rubber heel and toe tread
• Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward
• Added Mudguard TPU layer for additional protection and durability
• Two-bolt cleat pattern fits all major MTB pedals
• Sizes 36-49
• $425 USD
a layer of Mudguard TPU for additional protection and durability. The shoe has a 13.0 Stiffness Index as does the S-Works Recon off-road shoe.

To secure the foot, Specialized has used the newly released BOA Li2 dial, which features an increased level of micro-adjustment, a lower profile, and a refined ergonomic design. To achieve the low weight, the upper lacks any form of rigid or moulded material. In addition to forgoing the usual molded heel counter, Specialized has reimagined toe box uses a sleeve that stretches over the top of the toes and forefoot while maintaining room for movement and flexion.


Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
The new S-Works EXOS EVO (left) effectively combines the bottom half of the S-Works Recon off-road shoe (right) with the unique 'Dyneema' material-based upper of the S-Works EXOS road shoe.

Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
One BOA Li2 dial per shoe secures the foot.
Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
The two-bolt cleat pattern fits all major MTB pedals.

Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
In addition to forgoing the usual molded heel counter, Specialized has reimagined toe box uses a sleeve that stretches over the top of the toes and forefoot while maintaining room for movement and flexion.

Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
To achieve their low weight, the S-Works Exos uses an upper that lacks any form of rigid or moulded material.


Learn more at specialized.com. For a full review, check out our sister site CyclingTips.


72 Comments

  • 48 2
 $ works
  • 5 9
flag fantaman (Jun 9, 2021 at 0:56) (Below Threshold)
 The dentist shoes
  • 22 1
 @fantaman: Ironically dentist shoes are crocs.
  • 4 0
 @jmtbf omg spat my coffee out. Truth!
  • 5 0
 Can’t say about the durability of the new EXOS, but I’ve been torture testing a pair of s works rekons for 2 years now and they have zero functional wear on them, just scratches and scuffs. Really impressive and it can be worth it to front the initial investment if it’s something that will last the next 5000 hours of riding.
  • 1 0
 @KeeganPelton: I've found the same with my S Works Rekons as well. Only 1 year on mine, but have found the same thus far and I ride them 10-12 hours per week. Only complaint is that the tongue kinda rubs into my top front part of my foot a bit when I crank them down, but as they broke in, that seems to have gone away.
  • 1 0
 @RR1: try twisting the upper boa wire 180 degrees! It was a huge change for me after I switched it in the first week of riding, could not ride the shoes without doing that.
  • 20 1
 Been waiting for these. I have weird feet, and every normal high end and low end shoe hits a protruding bone on my right foot. Right where most put a boa dial, is where it hits. So I have been trying the softest shoe designs, and this might finally be the winner. Just tried the Rapha Power Weave shoes, and sent them back. Toe box pinched my foot. But the same dyneema stuff was fantastic. And the new Boas were so smooth and micro, I almost kept them anyway. So I ordered up these today. The flex mush of the uppers, and the one boa up out of the way, gingers crossed, might be perfect. The price seems fair if they really fit just right. Besides saddles, your shoes are so important for comfort.
  • 2 0
 I have the same issue, just on my left foot. As I just wrote in another comment, I really hope that these offer the same sock-like fit as Adidas Ultraboosts, which I'm a huge fan of for that exact reason.

Regarding price, at some point you just stop caring if the fit is right. A good shoe lasts thousands of miles anyway, which sort of evens out the steep initial "investment".

Have you by any chance tried Lake? Their "shoes designed for real feet" approach sounds very promising as well.
  • 2 0
 For weird feet I've heard that moldable Bont shoes are unbeatable. Just check Haley Smith's, if they work for her must work for everyone!
  • 2 0
 Why don't you just buy yourself a pair of Bont shoes?
  • 1 0
 Ups! I'm late. KotsosK already suggested that
  • 1 0
 @Nygaard: Just FYI, I've been through three pairs of S-Works Rekons so I can say somewhat confidently that they don't last forever. They probably will last a long time if you never hike-a-bike in them. With no replaceable parts on the sole you need to avoid hike-a-bikes at all costs--especially alpine scree fields.

They are amazing on the bike though, I own heavier socks and when fitted properly they are the most comfortable big ride shoes I've ever owned.
  • 1 0
 @used-couch-salesman: I've been running S-Works MTB shoes as my road shoes for years (Can't stand not being able to walk around comfortably, and I like the float of SPD). They work great, but they're definitely on the flimsy side, which is why they're on road/gravel/cx duty only.
  • 1 0
 Another vote for Bonts. I've had a few pairs of their highest end ones with great results for XCM racing. Trying their mid level Riot+ shoes now and they're almost as good at a lower price point. Specialized shoes, like their xc tires, are a little too skinny. Maybe their calipers are out of spec over there Smile
  • 1 0
 @Nygaard: Lake shoes are really nice. I have off the chart wide feet and they are the only shows ive found that are even close to fitting me.
  • 1 0
 @KotsosK: I tried Bont, the carbon footbed comes up about 1/2" from the bottom of the shoe, and that's exactly where the side bone pops out, so I would have had to really mold the thing quite radically. And, honestly, they felt really cheaply made. Not sure why, but I thought for sure that would be the holy grail of shoe. Mold to your own foot. But it just didn't work. Lake shoes have proven nice as far as fit, but the pair I had was so rigid around the collar where your foot goes in, that both sides of my ankle bones got rubbed raw. Very hard material. The toebox area was plenty wide though, better than most. I am also ordering some MX241 from Lake as the position of the Boa dials looks very well done. And they seem a bit less rigid. fingers crossed.
  • 1 0
 @shorttravelmag: yeah if you're not willing to mold the bonts they're probably not the right choice. I used the butt end of a screwdriver to push specific areas like that out on mine. Golden.
  • 2 0
 @davidccoleman: If these spec exos don't work out, maybe I'll give the Bonts another try. I have to order everything online anyway, the days of walking into a shop and finding any decent selection of higher end mtb shoes are long gone where I'm at.
  • 21 4
 Here's an idea- super glue your cleats to a sock for ultralight weight.
  • 5 0
 Direct mount screws to your foot bones.
  • 7 0
 Hold onto a bare pedal spindle with your toes
  • 4 0
 Spray on shoes. Has no one seen Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs?
  • 8 0
 Oooh! I'm guessing it's a bad idea to accidentally boot a cactus wearing these. Think I'm gonna be sticking with my Sidi Dragons. My tootsies need protection from the desert...
  • 2 0
 I'm reserving judgement until they're in my LBS's and I have a chance to try them out. Dyneema Mesh is supposed to be some pretty tough stuff. They also may be great for those of us with wide feet. PS Don't kick the Cactus, or the Mesquites, or the Palo Verdes....
  • 3 0
 Looks like a real improvement over the Recon with the return of a "open" design. I had the 2020 S-Works Recons for a short period and found the fit to be very comfortable, but the "strap" that goes over the instep made them absolutely horrible to ride in, as it created a pressure point on the large tendon at the front of my legs.
As a huge fan of Adidas Ultraboosts, the sock-like fit sounds very promising. I'm a bit skeptical about the lack of a molded heel counter though.
  • 1 0
 Never rode the Recon Line, still have a couple pairs of the Expert XC Mountain Bike Shoes which other than being narrow in the Toe Box at first have been absolutely great shoes. Hot water and shoe stretchers took care of that problem.
  • 1 0
 I've talked to a lot of other riders who had this exact problem with S-Works Recons. Specialized denied this was a design problem, but clearly a lot of riders encountered it and returned shoes because of it. But the placement of the boa on the new design looks terrible to me - instead of a soft tongue like most shoes you get a hard round dial? Hmmm...
  • 3 0
 I was able to fix that by twisting the boa line 180 degrees, so there’s an X shape that doesn’t put pressure on the top of my foot. I’ve seen lots of others do that as well.
  • 5 0
 I am surprised at the mostly positive response in the comments here. I thought they'd post this type thing as a "throw them to the wolves" type of article.
  • 7 1
 Those are some nifty ballet shoes!
  • 1 2
 Will go perfect with their Borat banana hammock.
  • 2 0
 I have a set of the Exos road shoes for summer time here in the southeast. They are easily the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever worn on a bike. It takes some figuring out how tightly you want to adjust the BOA but that is easily done on the fly. Now I agree I would not want to wear these slippers anywhere I know will involve hike-a-bike as you will likely demolish the soles pretty quickly. For gravel or XC use, especially in a hot climate these would likely be amazing.
  • 1 0
 This article says they have the same sole as the old Rekon. I can definitively confirm that you would have a really, really hard time doing anything to those soles. It’s kinda like walking with hardened steel on your feet. Absolutely zero grip anywhere but good luck making a dent.
  • 6 1
 I only ride Specialized DOUBLEDOWN Evo MTB shoes.
  • 4 0
 Well excited for these. Nothing beats riding the lighest kit about when your packing a beer gut too.
  • 3 0
 Holy shizzle that's light. Good on Spesh for pushing the envelope yet again
  • 2 0
 I've always liked specialized shoes. Think they among the best. Slipknot sucks though, extra grip is minimal. Wish they shut up about it already.
  • 1 0
 Nope, the heel is still too narrow. After having to haul a broken bike several miles down a mountain in shoes like that in the dark, I'm sticking with a more traditional shoe you can walk in.
  • 1 0
 Why y'all putting quotes around a registered brand name? Also not sure how much flexion is going on with the SUPER stiff S-Works level carbon sole...
  • 3 0
 No you want heavy shoes to help push the pedals down.... helloooo.
  • 2 1
 It is a fashion faux pas to wear them with baggy clothing. Must be worn with lycra.
  • 6 0
 Looks perfect with my skate helmet, goggles and denim vest.
  • 1 0
 I was gonna ask if I can wear them with my SB165.
  • 3 1
 If you bought them, you would need to put frame wrap on them.
  • 2 1
 Are these mullets? You should have one bigger than the other to match the wheels on your bike!!
  • 2 0
 Looks like they’ll fit like a glove
  • 2 0
 One of the best fitting shoes.
  • 1 1
 I like how PB writes an article about shoes and obscure DH bikes no one's ever gonna own, but can't write about Evil's new bike.
  • 1 0
 They’ve talked about this in the podcast several times, Evil won’t send them bikes to test or review.
  • 2 0
 In the first shot, they really need to pee.
  • 3 2
 I can’t think of anything currently that I give a f@#k about less than those shoes.
  • 3 2
 So what? Specialized designed an aquasock.
  • 1 0
 The Specialized Huarache! Have you hugged your Foot today?
  • 2 2
 "To achieve their low weight, the S-Works Exos uses an upper that lacks any form of rigid or moulded material"(Thin fabric)
  • 3 2
 LOL. The way marketers spin things. “How do we turn this potentially negative feature into a benefit we can charge more for?”
  • 6 0
 @gnarlysipes: why do you think it is bad? A fully flexible upper part that conforms to your feet perfectly, not like a bulky 5.10 ( i love em, no hate here ) or something. Horses for courses .
  • 1 0
 @mate1998: Not saying it’s bad, just musing on the marketing.
  • 4 2
 Guccialized
  • 1 0
 Nearly a buck a gram, not bad!
  • 1 0
 Hey pinkbike forgot shoes...
Where is fantasy league???
  • 1 0
 A sock with cleat receivers tup
  • 7 5
 WHAT ARE THOSE?
  • 7 2
 They're shoes, they go on your feet.
  • 2 1
 i just hate the look of clip shoes, flats all the way
  • 1 2
 Specialized shoes are the most uncomfortable thing I have ever worn. Good thing Giro exists.
  • 10 0
 for YOUR feet maybe, for me they are the best. good thing we have options…
  • 1 1
 will there be a Rapha Limited Edition available at 699$?
  • 1 1
 That's a pair road bike shoes!
  • 2 3
 Can't afford - Cue dentist comment*
  • 1 3
 I cant read any article anymore untill FANTASY DOWNHILL will be opened!
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