Specialized S-Works Ares Road Shoes
Specialized S-Works shoes are widely regarded as some of the very best available and are frequently lauded by the cycling press and praised by riders, pro and amateur alike. Seeing this, the launch of the new S-Works Ares road shoes will undoubtedly cause something of a stir amongst the cycling fraternity. This article looks at what’s new in the Ares and what current Specialized technology has been integrated into their design to make what the brand is claiming to be their fastest and most comfortable shoes to date.
New BOA Li2 Dial Closure System
A brand new feature seen on the S-Works Ares shoes is the improved positioning and configuration of the twin BOA Li2 dials. The upper BOA dial forms a three-point anchoring system that tightens evenly across the midfoot, dissipating peak pressure points and locking the fit around the metatarsal bones to eliminate inefficient foot roll and maximise power transfer. The lower BOA dial adds independent tightening nearer the toes to give a personalised retention level depending on the rider's foot shape and profile.
Tongueless Sock Upper
Another fresh design attribute seen in the S-Works Ares shoes is the tongueless sock upper. Wrapping around the foot and encroaching slightly on the ankle to give a striking aesthetic, this sock's primary Airmesh material is soft, flexible and breathable to impart a plush level of comfort. Dyneema fibres, which are fifteen times stronger than steel, are added to this upper construction in refined quantities across specific zones to give extra support to the feet during sprints or high-intensity climbs.
Body Geometry Concept
Specialized’s ergonomically driven Body Geometry concept is infused into the S-Works Ares shoes via three important features. A Longitudinal Arch is moulded into the outsole to prevent the rider’s arches from collapsing during the pedal stroke; a built-in Varus Wedge gently tilts the foot outwards to improve knee alignment; and a Metatarsal Button is added to the insole to reduce pressure on nerves and arteries. These three traits work in unison to increase power output by up to seven watts, improve blood circulation, and reduce repetitive strain injuries.
The Form Fit last used in other S-Works shoes is again employed for the Ares and perfectly complements the slipper-like comfort already afforded by the new closure system and sock upper. This last has a slightly roomier toe-box that gives plenty of wiggle room to help avoid numbness and tingling even when the wearer’s feet naturally swell on hot and demanding rides. A PadLock heel format adds extra security at the back of the foot and eliminates rubbing and blisters by cancelling excessive slipping.
FACT Powerline Carbon Sole
Used for World Championship winning rides, Specialized's FACT Powerline carbon sole is enlisted to maximise the efficiency donated by the S-Works Ares shoes. This sole is super light, but thanks to its sophisticated full carbon construction still boasts a stiffness index of 15.0. This stiffness aids in translating all the rider's power directly to the pedals, even when subjected to Tour de France sprint-winning wattages. The sole also has a venting system to keep the feet cool and titanium bolts that offer generous amounts of cleat adjustment.
Pro Rider Design Input
Sam Bennett, one of the fastest professional sprinters on the road and renowned for his meticulous approach to equipment, was heavily involved in developing the S-Works Ares shoes. Bennett's tremendous peak power output at the end of 200km long races required the S-Works Ares' design to include heightened security and efficiency and reduce pressure on the tendons to help him triumph at the world's biggest races.
Specialized's Fastest Ever Shoes
Successfully amalgamating all of its design prerequisites within a structure that weighs just 220 grams per shoe (size 42), the S-Works Ares helped propel Sam Bennett to the Tour de France green jersey via his stage wins at the 2020 edition of the race. Bennett's success undoubtedly gives credence to Specialized's claim that the S-Works Ares are 1% faster than any other shoes they have ever made.
Not Just For Sprinters
With the development of the S-Works Ares aided by one of the peloton’s most powerful sprinters, it could be assumed that these shoes are purely for the fast men. However, when Specialized met up with their sponsored professional teams at the first training camps of 2021, 60% of the riders opted for the Ares as their shoes for the forthcoming season. This percentage of riders included sprinters but also climbers and classics specialists, who all praised the Ares’ blend of supple feel, supreme foot retention and low weight.
Thanks to a comprehensive collection of attributes, the S-Works Ares shoes promise to be fantastic all-round performers that will help any rider achieve their personal goals across any ride length, intensity, or topography. Available in four colourways, they complete the Specialized S-Works range of shoes by accompanying the versatile and aesthetically pleasing S-Works 7, the super-cool S-Works 7 Vent and the stunningly lightweight S-Works EXOS.