Specialized Torch 3.0 review

These lightweight shoes really shine

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

My size 45 Torch 3.0s tickle the scales at just 564g, and it's soon obvious why.

  • Highs: Performance, comfort, weight and price
  • Lows: Boa S2-SV dials add seconds to dressing time
  • Buy if: You want a comfortable and secure shoe at a great price for the tech

The uppers consist of textured TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) at the front, thermobonded to a synthetic leather rear, with the only seam travelling asymmetrically up the heel. Multiple perforations in the TPU forefoot show a dense mesh beneath, but there's none behind the large perforated patch on the instep.

The forefoot Velcro strap is backed by two Boa S2-SV Snap dials, which independently deal with fine volume adjustment and security. The well-padded tongue is semi-rigid and shaped to stay in place, protecting the foot from localised lace pressure.

Its upper edge has a soft rubbery-feeling bumper for ankle comfort, and this material continues around the firm heel cup. A broad rubber toe bumper looks after the sole's leading edge protection, and replaceable tall twin rubber pontoons on the heel ensure stable walking.

Boa S2-SV Snap dials work by rotating in both directions to tighten or loosen, but with shorter laces than usual. I found it impossible to put the shoes on, or take them off without unhooking the top Boa lace from its anchor, which takes a few seconds more, but isn't hard.

There's great adjustment right across the shoe, the front Velcro strap can be left alone, but the fine adjustment and positioning of the Boa dials make it easy to gain a great fit.

On-the-fly adjustment is simple too, needing only a click in either direction, with no danger of the dial popping up and releasing all lace tension at a critical moment.

The toe box is roomy, and the shoes happily accommodate fairly wide feet, which hasn't always been the case with Specialized shoes. I prefer average arch support, and the thick Body Geometry footbed in the Torch 3.0s felt good in that respect, and they're nice and snug around the heel cup, preventing any slippage, even when pulling hard while climbing out of the saddle.

The FACT unidirectional carbon sole is plenty stiff enough for sprinters, and the ventilation from its mesh-covered forefoot vent, plus the highly perforated uppers is very good.

The dense mesh behind the toe box perforations didn't even transfer much road spray in the rain. The Torch 3.0 really is a lightweight competition-level shoe that's not for race days only, but robust enough for daily duty, performing superbly well. 

Full Specifications

BikeRadar verdict - 4.5/5
"The Torch 3.0s have the fit, feel, finish and performance of shoes costing £100 more" 

Specification

  • Name: Torch 3.0
  • Built by: Specialized
  • Price: £200.00
  • Shoe Compatibility: 3 Bolt Cleat

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