Alberto Contador used a unique pair of unbranded shoes on his way to winning the Giro d'Italia, with the black shoes seemingly a lighter and less structured model compared to the fluorescent Specialized S-Works road shoes used by his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates.
Specialized refused to reveal any details of the shoes but Cyclingnews captured several photos at stage starts. Other images show him in action while wearing the shoes.
The photos clearly show the differences between the current S-Works road shoe and Contador's Giro d'Italia winning footwear. Danish rider Chris Juul-Jensen uses a more relaxed Audax model from Specialized to give him a more comfortable fit but Contador's shoes seem to be a custom design perhaps to satisfy his own requirements.
The black shoes are less structured than the current model used in the peloton and on sale. They have softer one-piece leather material for the softer toe area and sides. Instead of a mesh-covered breath panel above the toes, Contador's shoes have a series of punctured holes, which also seems to help the material flex more.
The holes continue along the external side panel and on the tongue as they do on the current model. The instep structure also appears to be lighter, with the loops for the closing system attacked to a shiny material that is in contrast to the matt black leather like material. The shoes include a rigid heal cup but Contador's shoes have an extra band high up on the heal to perhaps give extra rigidity.
Contador appeared to use the same shoes throughout the Giro d'Italia, only changing the colour of the Boa dials that close the shoe from fluorescent yellow to maglia rosa pink for the final stages of the race.