Daniel Oss has posted a photo on Instagram, and with it, the Italian's choice of footwear is piquing the interest of eagle-eyed tech fans across the cycling world.
The Specialized-sponsored Bora-Hansgrohe rider is sporting what looks to be an unreleased pair of Specialized shoes, in what could well be the first sighting of Specialized's S-Works 8 road shoes.
Judging by the photo, the new shoes fasten using a twin Boa design, similar to the S-Works 7 shoes, but with what look to be Boa's new Li2 dials rather than the proprietary-to-Specialized S3-Snap Boa dials. The dials are similarly-placed on outstep of the forefoot, but with a separation between the fabric on which the upper and lower dials are placed. The upper dial seems to be positioned higher up the foot, suggesting that the shoes potentially have higher ankle than their predecessors. The shoes also look to feature some of the breathability of the S-Works Vent, but without the vented toe box and with more of a solid upper.
At the top of the brand's current cycling shoe hierarchy, there are a number of high-performance road race shoes, however judging by the launch timelines, and by the look of these shoes, it seems most likely that they will be a replacement for the S-Works 7, a shoe which was originally launched in early 2018, and is widely accepted as one of the best cycling shoes on today's market.
If that assumption is correct, it's likely that these shoes will be called the S-Works 8 shoes.
The S-Works 7 positions itself as a road racing shoe, and is worn by the majority of riders from both the Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep teams in the men's WorldTour. Elsewhere in the range, the S-Works Exos is a super-lightweight shoe, often seen on the feet of Michael Mørkøv, and the most recently-released shoe in the range is the S-Works Vent, which introduces comfort and breathability to a shoe that bears a large resemblance to the S-Works 7, and was the go-to choice for Remco Evenepoel before his crash at Il Lombardia.
It's unclear whether Oss's Instagram post was an intentional play by Specialized or an accidental leak by the Italian domestique. The (translated) caption to the post celebrates Oss and Oscar Gatto's 15-year career together, following the news of Gatto's impending retirement.
Oss, however, has previous for sharing unreleased Specialized goodies on social media. Just last month, he leaked the Specialized Aethos in what was a considerably more curated Instagram post.
A photo posted by @daniel87oss on Oct 20, 2020 at 8:12am PDT
If these are indeed S-Works 8 shoes, it's a safe assumption that they will come with claims of increased stiffness, comfort and potential weight savings over their forebears, but they will have big metaphorical shoes to fill, given the S-Works 7 shoes are some of the most widely used footwear in amateur and professional cycling.
There is, of course, no news as to a potential release date.
Cyclingnews has reached out to Specialized, who are yet to comment, and we will update this story when we hear more.
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