Tester: Adam Newman
We don’t need no Velcro. We don’t need no stinkin’ buckles! Shoes have been held on feet with laces for hundreds (thousands?) of years, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Specialized is the latest brand to offer a lace-up shoe with these Recon Mixed Terrains. It’s listed in their “mountain” shoe line because it sports a two-bolt, SPD style cleat, but it’s also designed for adventure and gravel riding.
The Recon has a carbon fiber sole with a stiffness rating of 10 out of a possible 13 on Specialized’s scale. The limited-edition sunburst fade colorway pictured here is as radiant as a smog-stained SoCal sunset, but they’re available in black, too.
Sometimes these kinds of rides involve more than just riding, and the outsole has a “SlipNot” rubber tread that has adequate traction on slippery surfaces, but could never be mistaken for a walking shoe. There is almost zero flex and these are not what I’d recommend for hike-a-bike, and because of the laces they don’t offer any on-thego adjustment to the fit.
But when you’re spinning pedals the Recon shoes are comfortable thanks to a synthetic leather upper with a rubber toe protector and reflective accents on the back. A performance shoe with a two-bolt cleat and some concessions for walking, the Recon is a great choice for riders looking for some classic style.