Specialized Recon 2.0 gravel shoe review

Interview

Maintaining MTB/Gravel shoes can sometimes be tricky, especially after a harsh winter like the one we experienced, where the shoes were not spared during each outing. A complete wash was necessary after each gravel session.

You would think that you would have to spend hours trying to find the original color of the Specialized Recon 2.0, but that is not the case. Due to the absence of light-colored mesh material (with the exception of the fabric heel cup), the shoe is fairly easy to clean from the first rinse with clean water.

The construction of the shoe, with its plastic inserts, even allows stains to disappear after several hours of walking in the mud. Drying, although never really easy after a thorough wash, is quite satisfactory. However, it is best not to expect to put them back the next day as they remain damp.

Maintenance is therefore not at all an obstacle for this pair of shoes. If you are hesitant about choosing the color, I absolutely do not recommend this white model. Small downside with the presence of the scratch which makes this part difficult to clean.

Rigidity

This is the weak point of this version of the recon 2.0 for experienced cyclists who are used to the road.

I wasn’t expecting this level of flexibility, the Specialized Recon 2.0 is incredibly flexible! It’s simply perfect for walking thanks to Stride toe-flex technology which promotes natural movement of the forefoot when walking or carrying, but this comes at the expense of rigidity.

When it comes to performance, this pair of Recon 2.0s provides a special feeling when pedaling; I really felt like I could feel the pedals through the shoe. This lack of rigidity is not really surprising: from the start, it is easy to twist this pair without effort. For my part, it’s a real inconvenience and that’s what would make me go for the new version of 3.0. Having covered many miles with the previous version, I didn’t expect to lose so much in terms of stiffness.

This is where we can highlight the lugs on the sole, which are generous and provide perfect grip when walking on greasy terrain. This is a notable advantage which also helps reduce the noise of the cleats rubbing against the ground when walking on tarmac. You can walk discreetly, which I particularly appreciated.

Tightening

The shoe’s tightening system is efficient, with an excellent Boa Li2 ensuring precise tightening. It is accompanied by a scratch on the forefoot. A single Boa is more than enough for this type of shoe, because the front of the foot is well adjusted, the support is very satisfactory. Especially with this model of shoe which is not very rigid, the addition of an additional Boa would have been superfluous.

The tightening system harmonizes perfectly with the spirit of the shoe. It should be noted that during the first few rides, the tongue may ride up slightly on the top of the ankle, but this discomfort gradually disappears over the miles.

In the long term, it will be necessary to check the condition of the Boa cable, which comes in the form of braided string on this pair. Although this may raise doubts about its durability, it is probably very sturdy.

Aeration

It is difficult to provide an accurate assessment of the ventilation of this pair of shoes, as testing was not carried out in extreme heat conditions and feet quickly became damp, eliminating any risk of overheating.

However, it should be noted that this pair of shoes is equipped with numerous ventilations, distributed throughout the upper and tongue, which logically makes it very breathable. In addition, the fineness of the materials used helps keep feet cool, even in hot weather.

In summary, although the tests were not carried out in extreme conditions, the breathable properties and the fineness of the materials suggest increased comfort even in extreme heat.

Comfort

Specialized has accustomed us to very comfortable shoes, and once again, this model did not disappoint!

The shoe is extremely welcoming. Its lack of rigidity ultimately proves to be an asset and responsible for the comfort of this pair. Unlike the previous version, the forefoot is narrower, offering increased support and a more even distribution of pressure on the foot.

I found that the tongue perhaps goes up a little too high, which could cause slight discomfort.

This thin shoe can easily accommodate a certain foot width. Even during long outings, when the foot swelled slightly, I never felt tingling or discomfort.

Verdict

Specialized’s Recon range, particularly the 2.0 model we tested, presents a mixed compromise between comfort and performance. Priced at €200, this mid-range model offers some interesting technical characteristics but also leaves room for some criticism.

The ergonomic construction, with insoles and outsoles designed to improve power transfer and reduce the risk of injury, is a testament to Specialized’s efforts to deliver a quality product. However, the pronounced flexibility of the Recon 2.0, although appreciated when walking, can be perceived as a weak point during more intense pedaling phases, in particular because of its lack of rigidity.

Despite these reservations, the Recon 2.0 offers an appreciable level of comfort. It will therefore suit cyclists looking above all for comfort on long rides, while accepting some compromises in terms of rigidity and performance.

In conclusion, the Recon 2.0 from Specialized remains an interesting option for Gravel and MTB enthusiasts, offering a good balance between comfort and functionality, although some points can be improved to fully meet the expectations of the most demanding users.

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