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The 2022 Specialized S-Works 7 Lace is the Aethos of fancy road shoes

Matthew Loveridge
14 Jan 2022

Specialized adds minimalist lace-up option to S-Works shoe range

New for 2022, the  Specialized S-Works 7 Lace is a minimalist lightweight road shoe with – you guessed it – laces. It’s an appealingly simple looking design, but one that includes the brand’s latest and greatest carbon sole for performance. Priced at £300, it’s a premium option, but considerably cheaper than some other models in the S-Works range.

Specialized offers road shoes for all tastes. The S-Works Vent was all about airflow, the S-Works Ares made some bold claims about power transfer, the S-Works Exos was absurdly light, while the standard S-Works 7 is an all-rounder with Boa dials. 

The S-Works 7 Lace doesn’t come with any specific performance claims save featuring Specialized’s ‘lightest and stiffest’ Powerline carbon outsole with a ‘stiffness index’ of 15.0. 

We love an arbitrary scale at Cyclist. The S-Works 6 had a rating of just 13.0 so the current generation should be 15 percent better, right?

While the S-Works 7 Lace isn’t the weight weenie option per se, it’s a very light shoe. Claimed weight is just 236g per shoe for size 44 and our pair is just a hair under at 232g each. 

That’s partly thanks to the lack of plastic fastening hardware as good old laces are really light. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting tangled either – any trailing excess is kept in check with a simple elastic strap on the tongue. 

More importantly, it looks great. If the sprint-curious Ares is the Tarmac SL7 of shoes, the S-Works 7 Lace is surely the Aethos – a stripped-back, aesthetically clean choice for riders more interested in the niceness of things than pure performance concerns.

It seems I’m not alone in making this link – the Aethos features prominently in the press material for the shoe.

Like all Specialized shoes, the S-Works 7 Lace is designed using the brand’s Body Geometry principles, aiming to offer a ‘sublime, supple fit’.

It uses a conventional construction with a tongue – no knitted socks or anything – and there’s a combination of perforations on the upper and toe vents to supply airflow. 

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