Pedalling at the speed of light
There’s lightweight and then there’s the new S-Works EXOS definition of lightweight – a term that marries lightness, agility and power all in a single shoe. Everything but the bare necessities have been stripped away, leaving a cycling shoe that will help you float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
The lightest cycling shoe ever made
There are two new pairs of climbing shoes in the S-Works EXOS range: the ‘standard’ S-Works EXOS and the S-Works EXOS 99 – we’ll let you guess which one is lighter.
Weighing in at a scant 99g (for a size 42), the S-Works EXOS 99s have redefined what it means to be light, turning the cycling shoe market on its head. To stand at the pinnacle of shoe performance and technology however, we had to look at every single engineering trick in the book, ensuring we designed a shoe that was extremely lightweight, but also super-stiff and power efficient.
Every single detail was scrutinized and obsessed over, our engineers analysing the carbon that went into the outsole ply-by-ply. It’s the absolute best we could do, and that’s why only 500 pairs will ever be made – not only are these the lightest cycling shoes ever, they’re also a piece of cycling history; a piece of history that you can wear on your feet.
So, what makes the EXOS 99 shoes so incredibly light? It starts with our space-age material called Dyneema, which is what we’ve constructed the upper and heel areas from. Not only is it super-light, but it’s also incredibly power efficient as it can lock your feet snuggly in place without any wasted sway.
We’ve also totally re-designed the heel area, throwing away the injection mould of the S-Works 7 shoes and constructing a new cup made from a mixture of Dyneema and another material called CubicTec. This allows the heel cup to be a little more flexible, contouring naturally around the wearers heel to create a very secure and comfortable fit.
Like the injection moulded heel cup, the toe box has also been removed, shaving even more weight. The biggest weight saving, however, has almost definitely come from our new 50g carbon outsole. This is what took the most time, our engineers spending almost as much time on this as they did on designing the Tarmac bike.
We didn’t want to just indiscriminately shave weight from the sole as that would have compromised stiffness, so we set about conducting pressure mapping tests to see exactly where we could remove weight and material from while maintaining super-stiffness. It’s stiffness without sacrifice combined with the non-stretch Dyneema material up top and the carbon outsole below, these shoes are incredibly power-efficient, optimised for gliding up viciously steep mountain passes.
Now, you’d think that with all of our effort going into shaving weight and maintaining stiffness, we might have totally forgotten about comfort. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we kept all of the ergonomically designed, scientifically tested Body Geometry features that you’ve come to know and love. We’ve also gone a step further, introducing a malleable toe box that gives the shoe the comfort of a bedroom slipper. Laces also help to increase comfort, contouring the upper Dyneema exoskeleton perfectly to your feet, leaving you with an all-day comfort that you can rely on.
Four-years in the making
The EXOS 99s aren’t the only shoes in the new S-Works range, there’s also the ‘standard’ S-Works EXOS – the word ‘standard’ is used very loosely, these shoes are still just 150g a pop in a size 42.
Instead of using laces, the S-Works EXOS use the popular and super-secure Boa® dial. While it’s a little heavier than laces, these dials are perfect for our World Tour athletes as they allow for on-the-fly adjustment. We’ve also placed the dial directly on top of the tongue rather than off to the side to relieve a little bit of pressure and spread the tension more evenly across the top of the foot.
The only other difference is in the carbon outsole at just 16g heavier that the outsole on the EXOS 99s. It’s a small compromise in weight, but it still provides the same super-stiffness and extraordinary power transfer.
Aside from that, the rest of the shoe’s construction is exactly the same, using the same Dyneema material to create the non-stretch, super-light exoskeleton.
Both the S-Works EXOS and EXOS 99s are available from a size 40 through to a 48, including half sizes. They’re also compatible with all of our custom footbeds for the ultimate lightweight road setup.
While the S-Works EXOS are available at most major Specialized retailers, including all of our Concept Stores in the UK, the EXOS 99s are only available through pre-order here, so make sure you’re quick off the mark.
Who are they for?
We built these shoes with our World Tour athletes in mind, rigorously testing each prototype with some of the biggest names in cycling. They’re optimised for climbing, especially the super-light EXOS 99s, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be used in other situations. In fact, we think the S-Works EXOS might be the ideal shoe for short and super-fast races like criteriums.
They’re incredibly quick off the mark and being super-light, they almost feel like you’re riding on a cloud, effortlessly gliding over whatever terrain the road chooses to throw at you. At £450 and £600 a pair we understand that they’re a serious investment. But, if they’re to make serious improvements to your performance – which we’re sure they will – then that’s something you can’t put a price on.
If you’re eager to try out a pair of these for yourself, why not pop down to one of our stores and try on a pair. In the meantime, look out for our World Tour athletes rocking them at some of the biggest races on the cycling calendar.
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