Looking out the window, summer still seems like a long way off. However Specialized is already looking towards the warmer months, launching a brand new S-Works Vent EVO shoe, designed for logging big miles on gravel, and redlining it on the XC course in toasty temperatures.
As its name suggests, the S-Works Vent EVO shoe joins the brand’s current Vent product family — which includes the S-Works Vent Road Shoe and S-Works Prevail Vent II Helmet — with the sole purpose of enhancing performance through rapid cooling and channeling airflow. While its Vent range has mostly been aimed at road cycling, the introduction of the S-Works Vent EVO shoe brings the brand’s Vent technology off-road.
Specialized claims that the new S-Works Vent EVO shoes will compete watt-for-watt against its S-Works Recon, which are currently Specialized's best mountain bike shoes.
The Vent EVO shoes use the same ultra-stiff FACT Powerline carbon plate to maximize power transfer and responsiveness as the S-Works Recon race shoe, so it's certainly not going to damp any explosive race moves.
Specialized has also utilized its Body Geometry sole and footbed technology, which it says optimizes hip, knee and foot alignment and reduces the chances of injury whilst also improving power and efficiency.
As with the S-Works Recon, Specialized has used Dyneema materials for the uppers which have been paired with an engineered mesh to offer huge ventilation panels to help air move across the foot. Specialized believes that “Cooler Is Faster” and for riders who are regularly blessed with warm weather, the added mesh panels across the front of the shoe are going to open the foot to far more cooling airflow.
The mesh used in the S-Works Vent EVO is also used in the parts of the shoe that need the most flexibility, meaning that the toe box, tongue, and medial panel of the shoe also have enhanced ventilation to offer further cooling around the foot.
Specialized has also updated the fit of the Vent EVOs, using an all-new last to shape the shoe in order to give a broader fit for more riders. If you find performance shoes too unforgiving, Specialized indicates that the use of mesh makes the Vent EVOs more complementary, helping the uppers to move with the foot. Fit is fine-tuned using two Boa dials and a velcro toe strap.
While we haven't got official weights from Specialized, we have been informed they weigh around 300g per shoe. If correct, all that mesh makes them a touch lighter than the regular S-Works Recon's.
Pricing is on the premium side, with the S-Works Vent EVO shoes retailing for $450 / £400.