Specialized S-Works Ares shoes review

Hyper-focused race shoes, the S-Works Ares offer bags of performance, but at a cost

A black and white S-Works Ares shoe, being worn by a cyclist in USA-flag socks
(Image: © Will Jones)

Cyclingnews Verdict

Exceptional race level performance but at some cost to comfort


  • +

    Incredible power transfer

  • +

    Unparalleled foot retention


  • -

    Not the most aesthetic shoe

  • -

    Not the comfiest

  • -

    Poor ventilation

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Specialized makes some pretty fancy footwear, with more than one offering featuring in our list of the best cycling shoes. In fact, the brand's range of S-Works road shoes is seemingly evergrowing, with the Ares sitting alongside the S-Works Exos, S-Works 7, 7 Vent, 7 Lace, and a new pair on the way too. 

The S-Works Ares are, Specialized claims, the most efficient and powerful performance shoe ever made, and a full one per cent faster than any other shoe it has made before, which is why they’ve been most prominently seen on the feet of the Mark Cavendish, Sam Bennett and Legion of LA's fast-sprinting Williams brothers. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Testing scorecard and notes
Design and aesthetics Not ugly by any stretch, but a slightly cumbersome look7/10
ComfortFor my feet, in order to utilise their full potential, uncomfortable6/10
PerformanceExceptional foot retention and power transfer9/10
WeightNot class leading, but also not a deadweight around your ankles7/10
Value for moneyNot the most expensive shoes on the market, but being so race orientated mean they don't offer as full a package as their rivals8/10
Overall ratingRow 5 - Cell 1 74%

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Will Jones
Senior Tech Writer

Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. He’s tried his hand at most cycling disciplines, from the standard mix of road, gravel, and mountain bike, to the more unusual like bike polo and tracklocross. He’s made his own bike frames, covered tech news from the biggest races on the planet, and published countless premium galleries thanks to his excellent photographic eye. Also, given he doesn’t ever ride indoors he’s become a real expert on foul-weather riding gear. His collection of bikes is a real smorgasbord, with everything from vintage-style steel tourers through to superlight flat bar hill climb machines.