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Specialized launches S-Works Torch, the 7’s minimalist successor that aims to please with more versatile fit and emphasis on comfort

Will Strickson
24 May 2022

S-Works hero shoe line is renamed and remodelled to be all-rounder

Specialized has launched the S-Works Torch, its follow-up to the previously numbered series of premium road racing shoes that ended with the S-Works 7.

With its range of road shoes now being more specialised to include the lightweight S-Works EXOS, cooling S-Works Vent and sprint-focussed S-Works Ares, the Torch represents the more traditional, versatile design.

Photo: Tornati.cc

That means Specialized has attempted to add emphasis to the shoe’s comfort, while maintaining its performance capabilities, rather than push the latter.

To that end, the S-Works Torch includes a wider but lighter baseplate, an asymmetrical heel cup and an ‘adaptive’ upper that balances enough freedom to move with zonal holds to maintain power transfer.

A pair of S-Works Torch shoes are priced at £385/€440/$450 and have a claimed weight of 225g (size EU42).

Passing the torch

The Torch name is already used for Specialized’s non-S-Works road shoes, so it was an obvious renaming choice when ditching the old numerical system.

The tagline being pushed alongside the launch is ‘engineered to disappear’, which tells you all you need to know about Specialized’s designs for this line. Its emphasis on comfort and minimalist aesthetic, with few logos on most colour options, mean riders should virtually forget they’re there.

While many things had to be developed from the S-Works 7, the Torch does, of course, maintain the classic three Body Geometry features used across models to stave off injuries throughout the body.

In adding specialist performance shoes such as the Ares, this range becomes the neutral all-rounder, so its fit has been adapted to work for as many riders as possible.

If the shoe fits

That begins with a new last used for the main body, with the help of over 100,000 footscans taken from its Rëtul customers, meaning designers have an enormous amount of data to ensure it fits as many people as possible.

That research has led to the introduction of a nearly 4mm wider platform – with the wide model a further 4mm wide – ensuring efficiency of power transfer for those with slightly wider feet.

The baseplate itself has been refined so that doesn’t affect those with thinner feet, either. With the shape narrowing towards the heel and the addition of what Specialized has dubbed the ‘I Beam’ in the midfoot, there’s enough carbon to hold the same stiffness while shaving excess material by bringing the upper and heel cup further round the shoe. Specialized says this saves 20g of weight over the S-Works 7’s plate.

Talking of the heel cup, inspiration has been carried over from the S-Works EXOS shoes to try to further trim materials. A new asymmetrical design has been brought in that means that a strong heel hold remains while giving the outer side and the achilles more room to move. This adaptation has also allowed for a slightly lower collar.



On the up

The Torch’s new upper says bye bye to Dyneema fabric with Specialized’s own composition taking over. Comfort and conformity are front and centre here, with foot freedom enhanced by this stretchy material while there are strong skeleton-like reinforcements to keep a firm hold in the right areas of the foot to transfer power as usual.

Finally, the strap has been deemed superfluous and just the two BOA S3 dials remain, though they have been shifted slightly lower and further inwards to hold the foot in place rather than pull it in. Specialized says taking the strap away also helps the more sensitive areas above the front of the feet.

The Specialized S-Works Torch shoes are available in white, ‘oak’, ‘team white’ i.e. with more logos, ‘deep marine’ and ‘lagoon blue/vivid coral’ and you can buy them now at sigmasports.com.

Lead photo: Cyclingimages

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