Specialized Recon 3.0 MTB Shoe Review
Review by Nic Hall
Chances are, if you’ve ready many of our reviews lately you’ll know that we like Specialized shoes and their Body Geometry technology. If you missed them, you can check out our reviews of the Specialized Rime and Cliplite shoes here. With an entire team dedicated to building the best bike gear possible, Specialized has been a consistent performer in the gear and shoe sector for the last several years.
This year, we have been testing several XC bikes and thought we should update our enduro shoe lineup to something a bit more complimentary to our freshly shaved legs. Specialized sent over a set of their Recon 3.0 mountain bike shoes for some testing on our lycra-clad adventures.
The Recon 3.0 is based around the S-Works Recon, Specialized’s high end XC race shoe, but with some key differences. Just like the Recon, the 3.0 utilizes a Body Geometry sole and footbed, which adjusts the foot for optimal pedal output and efficiency. the Specialized Recon 3.0 features STRIDE toe-flex, which allows for a bit more compliance and natural toe and forefoot movement while off the bike. These shoes have a stiffness index rating of 10.0 which means they’ll still help you put the power down on the pedals without beating your feat up on rough trails and will still move a bit while walking or hiking.
The entire upper is seam welded to reduce stress areas and increase comfort. Closure is handled by a dual BOA system and a single Velcro strap over the toes. The sole is made of a stiff rubber with a unique pattern to increase traction while two optional mud cleat mount points are included.
The interior is made with XPEL mesh, which is supposed to absorb less water and dry faster than other foam interiors. Coupled with multiple micro perforations, the Recon 3.0 has high levels of breathability and moisture management.
Straight out of the box, the Specialized Recon 3.0 offers impressive comfort. The welded seams and flex patterns really do improve first ride comfort. We did not find a big difference between the first time we rode them and slipping them on for the 50th ride. BOA adjustment allows the rider to dial in a perfect amount of tension without losing any circulation. Gone are the days of XC shoes that felt like clamping your foot into a ski boot. Walking comfort is on part with aggressive all mountain shoes but the footbed is very stiff and steep mountain scrambles might pose an issue with anything more than a featherweight XC bike.
Pedaling efficiency and comfort is surprisingly good. The Rime 3.0 performs almost as good as it’s XC race brethren with little of the downside. The more time we spend in Body Geometry designed footwear, the more we become believers. I have a tendency to mis-align my left knee when pedaling which can cause soreness and pain the next day. This usually takes micro adjustment to my cleats and seating position but the Body Geometry shoes keep me in line with minimal adjustment.
Downhill performance is as good as it gets for shoes on the XC spectrum. The stiff sole and strategic small amounts of armor protect surprisingly well but no ankle or lateral armor can leave your feet exposed to some hits.
The Wolf’s Last Word
If you are looking to add a few more vertical feet to your climbs or want to maximize your pedaling effort without having to ride in full blown XC-slippers, check out the Recon 3.0. We were impressed with the comfort and efficiency but make sure you aren’t taking them down your local DH track as protection is minimal and they are definitely designed for the performance focused trail rider or XC-racer looking to “retire” and blend comfort with performance. We definitely will continue to be riding in the Specialized Recon 3.0’s until the weather drops this winter.
Weight: 749g per pair;
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.
Low levels of protection
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