Reviewed by Laurel-Lea Shannon
These beautiful-looking shoes — sleek and streamlined — are super-comfortable, providing good support for your feet from heel to toe and the stiff full-carbon sole delivers excellent power transfer to the pedals.
Comfort and fit
I’ve used the Specialized Pro Road shoes for a couple of months now. Loaded with goodies they ensure a comfortable fit. For starters, at 235 grams (8 ounces) the shoes are so light you can hardly feel them on your feet.
Contoured outsoles and footbed hold your foot in a stable and biomechanically optimal position for cycling. The upper (the top of the shoe), is made of supple synthetic leather, adding to the snug comfort of the shoe. The well-ventilated upper and the breathable tongue help keep your feet dry and cool.
Cycling shoe soles are measured by a stiffness index that goes up to 13. The full-carbon sole on the Specialized Pro Road shoe has a stiffness index of 11. Stiff soles allow you to transfer power efficiently from your legs and feet to the pedals. They also protect your feet from hot spots and numbness so you can ride longer. I have high arches and I needed to wear sports inserts in my other cycling shoes to prevent hot spots on my feet. But the Pro Road shoe provides the necessary stability and stiffness to keep my feet comfortable on long rides. The stiff soles provide an extra boost when you need to hammer down on the pedals to get up steep hills.
I have only one complaint with these shoes: the closure buckle. The Specialized SL 2 closure system is designed for lightweight, secure ankle control and adjustability. It is lightweight and it does provide excellent ankle support, but I found the buckle clunky to use. You can dial-in the right tightness but the ratchet mechanism feels stiff and requires a heavy hand, which I found surprising on a shoe at this price point. Loosening the shoe takes two hands and a good yank on the strap.
The mid-level Torch Road shoe from Specialized that I reviewed last year has a smoother closure buckle than these. Perhaps I just happened to get a pair with faulty buckles. Not sure what happened there.
The shoe fits Shimano SPD-SL, Look, Time, and Speedplay 3-bolt cleats. And if you happen to wear out the heel lugs, no worries. They are replaceable.
The Specialized Pro Road Shoe comes in white with classy silver and gold decorative highlights. You can travel far with these shoes. The elegant yet robust design ensures they’ll be a dependable cycling companion for years of wear.
Bottom line: I love the shoes! The buckle, not so much.