Long Term Review: S-Works Torch

I really loved my S-Works 7 shoes. They were the best road cycling shoes I had ever worn. But they were falling apart due to wear and tear. I got the Bont Vapor S but the fit was not right. When the S-Works Torch was launched and to many good reviews, I thought I finally found the successor to my much loved 7s. It is unfortunately not quite the case.

The Good

  1. Incredible toe room. Specialized has been making more and more toe room in their shoes. There was a significant jump from the S-Works 6 to 7 and now to the Torch. I love roomy toe boxes. I think this should be the limit though. I can’t see why most cyclists would need greater toe room than this.
  2. Stiff and light. It is 20g lighter than the 7s and stiffer, though frankly I could not tell the difference. I just liked the fact that the performance was minimally on par.
  3. Sturdier uppers. The 7s fell apart at the tongue of the shoe. The BOA dial wires cut through the external layers of the tongue over time. The Torch appears to have addressed this by improving on the materials used and also having a fabric notch to guide the wires.
  4. Reinforced front area. No toe rub concerns. There is a plastic sheath unlike the 7s.
  5. Great BOA dials. Precision control both in tightening and loosening. No quick release but no biggie.

The Bad

  1. Does not fit me as well as the 7s. This is a big one for me. Specialized changed the profile of the shoe. This means that the way my feet sat on the shoe was markedly different from that of the 7s. The Torch encourages feet to roll very slightly outwards. This caused a slight hotspot to form at the area between the fifth proximal phalange and metatarsal on my right foot. My left foot was fine, perfect in fact but my right foot needed adjustment. After getting the cleat positioning right, I went down the rabbit hole of footbeds because of this (future post upcoming). The lesson is to always try a few shoes before you settle on one. A warning sign is when you have to increase the size in order to fit. I had to go for a 10.5 for the Torch as compared to a 10 for the 7s. This was an indication that the fit was no longer the same.
  2. Expensive. S$675 for a pair of shoes is pretty crazy to be honest. Top of the line shoe at a jaw dropping price.

This is a great pair of shoes. I am still using it despite the less than perfect fit on the right foot, largely because the footbeds (future post) helped.  But do try a few shoes before you buy. You want a shoe that hugs your feet really well and feels like a second skin. The Torch fell slightly short on that at least for me. I bought mine from Specialized’s online store after the size I needed was not available at brick and mortar stores.

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