Specialized S-Works Ares road shoes - first look

After much speculation, Specialized drops the covers off its fastest road shoe ever made - the new S-Works Ares, a shoe of two extremes

What is a hands on review?
Specialized S-Works Ares road shoes
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Early Verdict

A WorldTour-developed road shoe built around providing its wearer with impressive comfort and fit levels, ultimately boosting power transfer and all-round performance


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    Class-leading retention system with twin Boa Li2 dials

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    Tongueless sock system improves fit and comfort

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    Layered and detailed aesthetic

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    Light and stiff

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    Non-slip replaceable heel tread


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We first caught a glimpse of the new Specialized S-Works Ares road shoes when Bora-Hansgrohe's Daniel Oss leaked an image on his Instagram account back in October last year. While much speculation hinged around whether the shoes in question were in fact a replacement for the venerable S-Works 7 shoes, we can now confirm they are an entirely new model that will form part of a four-prong S-Works line-up together with the S-Works 7, S-Works EXOS and S-Works Vent shoes. By broadening its S-Works shoe offering, Specialized has given both the professional athlete and competitive amateur racer more choice. The S-Works Ares however, is said to cater for all types of rider styles despite the research and development team using feedback almost entirely from sprinters. 

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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 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.