Specialized S-Works 6 XC shoe review

Modern cross-country shoe delivers near-perfect performance

Specialized S-Works 6 XC Shoe

The S-Works 6 XC is among the lightest cross-country mountain bike shoes ever produced. It’s also wonderfully rigid with a super comfortable upper.

What is it

The latest top of the line XC race shoe from the Big Red S is one of the lightest mountain bike shoes ever produced. Excellent stiffness is augmented by high-traction rubber shoe lugs on this new off-road kick. The fit is updated as well, with a tight heel cup and a roomier toe box.

Specialized S-Works 6 XC Shoe

The heel cup of the S-Works 6 XC is pretty tight, something our reviewer enjoyed. But it may not be for everyone.

  • Very light at 275 grams for a size 42.5 shoe
  • Tighter heel cup is very snug while toes are given extra room with a wider toe box
  • Excellent comfort for long days in the saddle, great for mountain biking, cyclocross and gravel
  • BOA closures allow for a wide range of on-the-fly micro adjustment
  • Very expensive at $400
  • The BOA S2 Snap closures are light but don’t have a quick release like the IP1 model.
  • Each time putting on or taking off the shoes, you need to lace the Boa wire across the shoe.
Specialized S-Works 6 XC Shoe

BOA’s S2 Snap dial is low-profile and saves weight over the popular IP1 dial, but to do so it foregoes the quick release.

Mtbr’s Take

Specialized’s new S-Works 6 XC mountain bike shoes rank among the very best cycling shoes we have tested. Fit is always an important consideration, but if they do suit your foot, the stiff, grippy sole, tight heel cup, and excellent upper deliver premium performance and comfort.

Small details like the titanium cleat nut and Dyneema-reinforced upper show Specialized’s eagerness to incorporate modern materials into its top-tier shoes. To call them perfect would be misleading, but aside from the slightly inconvenient BOA closures, they’re darn near there. If mountain bike racing, cyclocross, or even gravel events are your cup of tea, Specialized’s S-Works 6 XC shoes are sure to impress.

Specialized S-Works 6 XC Shoe

As you’d expect, carbon fiber is used in the shoe’s sole to keep it light and rigid. Grippy, rubber lugs offer good off-bike traction. Beneath the cleat is a titanium cleat nut that saves weight.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $400
More Info: www.specialized.com

About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview. To follow along on Legan’s cycling adventures, find him on Instagram at @nlegan and be sure to check out his new book Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking.

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