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Specialized S-Works EVO MTB shoes

When we started to look for new XC shoes in early-2012, we wanted to find a shoe that is stiff and efficient. A shoe that would not only excel in XC racing but also be comfortably wearable in more casual singletrack and all-mountain riding. Visiting several dealers, we ended up trying shoes across the whole price range. When we first tried the ordinary S-Works XC racing shoe, we were immediately blown away by the difference in its fit and feeling compared to, for example, lesser Specialized MTB shoes. For us, the S-Works simply felt much better with its tighter but still more comfortable and balanced fit. However, we still preferred to find something slightly more robust and all-mountain oriented instead of a pure, hard-core XC racing shoe. Then we came across the EVO version of the S-Works shoe.

Master of stiffness
S-Works EVO is a breathtakingly good shoe both for XC racing and trail riding.
S-Works EVO is a burlier version of its pure XC racing S-Works MTB shoe. The EVO looks more robust, providing more support and durability for aggressive trail riding. Like its sibling, the EVO has an extremely stiff full-length FACT carbon midsole, having a stiffness index 10 compared to 11 of the ordinary S-Works version.

S-Works EVO has a composite outsole designed to provide decent grip when walking, a synthetic Micromatix upper and a very aggressively vented tongue. Two replaceable S2 Boa cartridge closures with an additional velcro strap closure is used to tighten the shoe. Besides being light (370g according to specifications), the shoe certainly looks robust and confidence inspiring.

Specialized S-Works EVO shoe
Pedalling pleasure
We have been using S-Works EVO shoes with Shimano PD-M980 pedals since early-summer 2012, so far mostly in XC riding and racing. Despite its stiffness and close fit, the shoe is a pleasure to wear and use. It dries fast and is easy to clean. The shoe has a surprisingly good grip when walking and excellent breathability for summer riding with air flowing directly into the shoe. Tightening mechanism is light but robust. By a twisting the knobs it is easy to adjust the fit even when riding. For us, we can't imagine a shoe with a better fit than the S-Works EVO. A shoe like this should, of course, be tried before buying. We could imagine that the fit may be on a tight side for those with much wider than average foot.

All in all, we are more than satisfied with the EVO version of the S-Works MTB shoe. We encourage everyone who is looking for a top-of-the line MTB shoe that is slightly more robust than a pure XC racing shoe to give it a try. Going into the season 2013, we are certainly planning to use the EVO also in all-mountain-riding and maybe also in some enduro racing.