Specialized S-Works Torch road shoes review

The Specialized S-Works Torch shoe is all about balancing comfort with performance for the perfect everyday shoe

Specialized S-Works Torch road shoes
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Cyclingnews Verdict

The Specialized S-Works Torch is wider and more comfortable than ever before while still prioritising performance. There are few details worth a critique and the whole package comes together in a way that works no matter what you have planned for the ride ahead. Although it's hard to bring a single differentiator to the forefront, these are the shoes you can happily make your everyday shoe.


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    Superb visual package

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    Comfortable fit, tailorable even further by using custom footbeds

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    Two fits available - standard and wide

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    Good ventilation

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    Well engineered


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    Some might prefer Boa Li2 dials rather than S3

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Now up to five distinct models, the Specialized S-Works shoe portfolio is brimming with some of the best cycling shoes options, of both the lace-up and Boa dial variety. The brand's latest road shoe, however, serves more as a replacement rather than outright addition – it also represents something a little different to what we've come to expect from the fabled S-Works moniker with a special focus on comfort. Of course, this hasn't come at the expense of stiffness and outright performance but Specialized is touting it as its most comfortable S-Works shoe ever, 'crafted to disappear on your feet'. 

It's called the S-Works Torch and serves as a replacement for the long-serving S-Works 7 performance road shoe. The Torch name is nothing new to the Morgan Hill-based firm having first appeared on its mid-range road shoe line-up back in 2017, and the new model serves as a means to connect the lower models with the premium S-Works nameplate.

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Testing scorecard and notes
Design and aesthetics Beautifully designed with a wonderful balance between textures, colours and materials9/10
ComfortSpecialized has put a massive emphasis on comfort and tweaked all the right areas to promote a better fit across the sizing spectrum. Full marks here10/10
PerformanceRetention is brilliant. The Boa S3 dials have culminated in a closure system that also fosters a better interaction between the foot and shoe - it's not just about maximum watts here but overall performance9/10
WeightAt 220g per shoe (Size EU43), the S-works Torch are one of the lightest options in the segment 9/10
Value for moneyThese aren't the most expensive shoes in the segment but they're not what you'd call affordable either and many cyclists will find the price tag hard to swallow - especially as the cost of living crisis gets worse8/10
Overall ratingRow 5 - Cell 1 90%

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Aaron Borrill

Aaron was the Tech Editor Cyclingnews between July 2019 and June 2022. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. Throughout this career, Aaron has spent almost two decades writing about bikes, cars, and anything else with wheels. Prior to joining the Cyclingnews team, his experience spanned a stint as Gear & Digital editor of Bicycling magazine, as well as a time at TopCar as Associate Editor. 

Now based in the UK's Surrey Hills, Aaron's life revolves around bikes. He's a competitive racer, Stravaholic, and Zwift enthusiast. He’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, completed the Haute Route Alps, and represented South Africa in the 2022 Zwift eSports World Championships.

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB