Review: White Leather Specialized 74 Road Shoes

I have a problem. I can’t seem to turn down a pair of road shoes. Especially the 74 road from Specialized. These shoes have all the bells and whistles of a modern road shoe but are clad in a supple kangaroo leather. Complete with Specialized’s Boa technology, the only thing that’s throwback about the 74s is their material.

Right off the bat though, you’ll notice that the silhouette is lower than other shoes. By comparison, the heel is a centimeter lower than others I own. I thought it would be an issue with rubbing but all it took was putting the shoes on, tightening the two Boa lace systems and immediately, you can feel how different these shoes are.

It doesn’t end there. The Full Body Geometry system features in the outsole and High Performance Footbed change your alignment while pedaling, while reducing hot spots. Without going too far into this fit theory, it essentially straightens your legs as you pedal. Basically it feels like your cleats are wedged towards the outside of your shoe. A sensation that disappeared after a few miles.

The Boa system is easy to adjust on the fly, after you’ve done 30 miles or so (my feet swell during riding). While some have complained about the heel cup and ankle rub, I will say that like a good work boot, fit is essential. You’ve really got to nail down your size, so buy from a local dealer, or be prepared to send a pair back if you ordered online. At $400 a pop, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper fit. A shoe that’s properly fit will not rub.

For instance, I normally wear a 47 but ended up sticking with a 46. They’re were a bit tight on the sides of the shoe but have already begun to form around my foot. There is no fore and aft movement when I pedal: they’re snug but comfortable. Since I have only ridden these a few times, I’ll have to leave this Initial Reaction where it stands, with a follow up to come. Until then, check out some more photos in the Gallery.

  • Absolutely gorgeous!  I’ve been looking for a road shoe with a real classic look. 

  • Those shoes look amazing.  I was so disappointed that my foot did not agree with the toe box and I had to keep my $400 in my wallet.   

  • I have a pair of these in Black and have never worn them, just because they look so damn good!

  • Classic leather shoes with modern technology: Specialized 74, Dromarti, Vittoria Classics, Rapha Grand Tour, that’s my wish list.  The hardest thing is finding dealers that carry them to try on.
    John, how do these fit relative to other shoes, especially the toe box?

  • I’d love to see these with tread and mtb cleats, like with Dromati (which are half as costly). Still, I love the trend. Less “go fast” and more panache.

  • Gregory Ralich

    With all these new shoes seems about time to sell these eh? please keep us posted when the bidding begins my big footed bretherin.

  • jeez!

  • I love how Specialized has established itself as the most litigious company in cycling as far as “intellectual property” is concerned, yet they’re perfectly happy to knock off plenty of concepts from other companies, plaster them in Specialized buzz words, and market it like it’s their idea. The genesis of the Stumpjumper set a telling precedent, did it not?

  • Cody Baker

    I’ve had my specialized s-works shoes for 2.5 years and just in the last month i’ve finally notice play in the Boa system. Luckily Boa warranties everything they make for life = new laces and dials! I agree in going down a size when you order as well. I’ve put many miles on mine and they are show so this year I’m getting 2 pairs. S-works for racing, ’74s for stylin

  • Robert0321

  • Andy Petersen

    I just don’t understand how anybody could compare these and the Fizik R1 and think yeah I’ll get the ones not handmade in Italy. I held them both in my hands the other day and leather quality is dramatically different. Fizik are so much nicer.

  • from what i understand kangaroo leather stretches out pretty quickly though. alot of the pros who rode with those shoes loved them but they only last about 1 season before they are saggy as a kangaroo pouch.

    • Good thing I’m not a pro, nor do I put in their mileage ;-)

  • those are pretty foxy, but my cheap ass would still rather go for the vittoria’s

  • Jeff Eley

    Nice, however, do they have to look like they were made in the 70’s?

  • Rex_Russell

    I look forward to your follow-up report. My black Specialized 74s now have clocked 500 miles and I’m sold. I’m an Italian shoe fan, but I tried the 74s at my LBS and walked out with them; the fit and the look sold me. My 74s are size 46; by comparison, I wear size 46.5 Sidi Genius 5/Dominator (old Sidi last); 47 Sidi Wire (new Sidi last); 46 Dromarti. The 74s are a (welcome) tad roomier in the toe box + wider in the forefoot than my Sidis but the heel cup fits just as snugly. To my surprise, the shoe’s low silhouette heel cup feels nearly as secure sprinting and climbing as my race Sidis. The uppers show no sign of stretching and the boa system works like a charm. If my winter projects ever stop absorbing cash like a cheap sponge, I may add a white pair of 74s to my cycling shoe rack.