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Specialized launches S-Works Ares shoes

,
21 Jan 2021
Verdict:

The new Specialized S-Works Ares are sprinting shoes that may solve comfort and efficiency problems throughout the peloton

The new Specialized S-Works Ares are the latest shoes to come from the mould of the S-Works 7 as part of Specialized's mission to create more shoes for specific riding and racing styles.

Named after the Greek god of war, the Ares is a sprint specialist that, thanks to Specialized's partnership with Deceuninck-QuickStep, was developed with the support of Sam Bennett.

While Specialized has been trying to build the Ares since the S-Works 5 alongside superstars like Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel, the 2020 Tour de France Green Jersey winner's ability to articulate exactly what he needed from his shoes in the sprint was the key.

 

Specialized S-Works Ares: What is it good for?

Much of the design is the same as the S-Works 7 as the Ares maintains the Body Geometry features as well as the carbon outsole and heel counter. However, Bennett helped to identify three major target areas to optimise performance at the business end of races.

Firstly the tendons, which on a world class sprinter with 5% body fat are incredibly prominent on the top of the foot yet under protected.

To fix this, Specialized has introduced the 2.5mm padded mesh sock which removes all overlapping surfaces and pressure points, including the tongue, to keep it comfortable even when pulling hard in a sprint. 

Secondly, more support was required to prevent the foot rolling when throwing the bike side to side. A bracing strap construction that wraps over the foot has been added to hold the foot in place and stop the shoes pinching.

Finally, in order to maximise power transfer, movement within the shoe needed to be eliminated.

For this, there is a brand new Y-shaped closure system that Specialized claims increases contact surface area by 20% with the Boa Li2 dials. According to the brand, it pulls both cables simultaneously to spread tension across the foot and maximise efficiency even in the most violent efforts. 

Specialized says these features make the Ares a lot more breathable and 30g lighter than the S-Works 7 coming in at a claimed 440g for a pair of size 42.

 

Specialized S-Works Ares: Price

The S-Works Ares are priced at £375, only a shade more than the S-Works 7, and come in four colours: white, black, red & black, and 'team white' (white with black lettering and highlights).

Thankfully the sock is treated to a DWR coating to prevent dirt ingress and make it easier to clean. Still, we'd say the white colour option wouldn't be the most sensible choice in the UK winter.

While it was intended to be purely a sprinter's shoe, Specialized boldly says it expects over 50% of the peloton to be wearing the Ares, with high praise already from Alaphilippe on its comfort.

Considering how excited Specialized and its riders are with the new features, trickle down is likely although it isn't a replacement for the S-Works 7. It will be interesting to see just how popular the Ares is and where the main line goes from here.

 

Specialized S-Works Ares cycling shoes: key details

Power increase: 7 watts
Speed increase: 14 seconds faster over 10km
Price: £375 / $425 USD / $575 AUD
Colours: Team (white and black), white, black and red & black

Price: 
£375

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