Specialized: Audax Road Shoes Mar 25, 2015


While audax events may be incredibly challenging, the beauty is their non-competitive nature. Riders simply must complete the set distance within the time limit. This endurance sport has grown from its roots in the 19th century to still being popular today, with many major cities having their own randonneur club.

Specialized has been expanding their product line to move away from the “all pro all the time” look and shifting its sights onto fundurance and expedition style riding. The Audax is one of those shifts: a shoe meant for long distance rides. With, what feels to be a wider footbed, comfy fit, reflective hits and easy on-easy off Boa lash, the Audax has some great details.

Since I’ve only put a few rides in while wearing these shoes, I won’t give them a full review, but a detail photo and a short write-up should suffice for now. Now, why does a shoe named after audax riding have a road cleat and not an SPD cleat? I have no idea. Still, they do look a lot less race-oriented than other shoes in their product line. Available soon in a variety of colors from Specialized.

  • Minh Nguyen

    Halfway though my first season of brevet riding (trying to do PBP on a fixed gear to celebrate college graduation). Most people I see doing them are using road cleats, the time spent off the bike is very minimal compared to the hours on hours on the bike. I like the reflective bits they put on and it was a smart move for them to go with a carbon sole; skimping out for a nylon sole just because its not marketed to racers would have been stupid.

    • Frank

      Have to agree with this comment. Audax is not touring – SPD SL makes sense over SPD.

      • Guest

        I’m fairly certain (but could be wrong!) “S” is stuck between two shoe ‘lasts’ one being road, and recently, and within the last few years a dedicated mountain. I would guess that the last and production capabilities would dictate one or the other for cleats. And if the shoe is being measured up to traditional Rando/Brevet standards / styles and rides, without knowing, would that lean towards SPD SL? Safe to think that the SPD, however, is the new trend as it relates to the same style of riding with less ‘race’ structure and a little more ‘rad?

        • Minh Nguyen

          I can barely decipher what what the first half of your paragraph is trying to say. A Rando/Brevet is still a race against the clock. You can’t spend tons of time off the bike camping/cooking/relaxing. There is a time limit you have to complete them in so most of your eating, navigating. You’re pedaling the bike for over 12hrs in even the relatively bite size 300km brevets. A large road style platform for your pedaling makes waaayy more sense in those scenarios.

        • ez
      • I don’t think audax is touring, yet everyone I know who is into randonneuring rides SPD pedals. More float, less knee irritation and less likely to ruin cleats on a long brevet.

        Look at Jan Heine and the whole BQ contingency.

  • Chris Valente

    John how does the fit on these compare to the lace up Giro’s? I have seriously picky feet and have been on a quest to find road shoes that didn’t make my toes completely numb. Currently riding on some Specialized’s that are just ok, but have been thinking about trying a pair of Empires. These may be an option too..

    • gutenbergler

      I recently tried a pair a Empire VR90s and found their toe box to be narrow. I have border-line wide feet though…

      • Chris Valente

        Ok good to know. I didn’t think I had wide feet until I tried to find road shoes..

        • gutenbergler

          Honestly the best thing to do is just go to a shop and try them on. I have had to to do a lot of return shipping trying to find a pair that fits me right online. Most shops have pretty limited selections though…

          Everyone’s feet are unique so it’s hard to say what will fit who… That being said I’ve found that Shimano shoes fit my feet the best (I have a wide toe box area and normal heel width)

          • Chris Valente

            Oh I have done plenty of that. I’m on my third pair in the last couple years of shoes that I’ve actually bought and rode in. I’ve returned a bunch more than that..

        • BleekBleek

          I also have wide (and flat) feet and had to try on a few brands to get the right fit. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Mavic shoes. I ride the Mavic Rush shoes in a EUR 45 1/3. I’m quite sure they have width options. They most def have a generous amount of space in the toebox. Even with wooly, winter socks I’ve found them very accommodating to my feet.

    • brennan

      The current high end offerings from Specialized (S-Works and Pro level) tend to fit narrower than previous generations with a decrease in width and volume in the forefoot – a more “performance fit”. The new Audax is more similar to the older S-Work and Pro level shoes with more width and volume – super roomy in the toe box.

      Giro tends to be narrow in the toe box with less volume – similar to Sidi.

      Check out custom orthotics – they are worth.

      • Chris Valente

        Yeah i have custom orthodics that I had made when I got a fit done. The guy swore they would cure my problems. :) Granted I do have some injuries in my left foot but both my feet have issues. I thought the laces on the Empires may make them a little more forgiving but that’s probably not the case.

        • These feel a little wider than the Empire SLX but aren’t nearly as comfortable. At least not a few rides in.

    • Eric Hancock

      For road shoes, Lake and Shimano have relatively roomy toe boxes. I have wide-ish feet and am comfortable in both. CX330 in Lake and the Shimano 270, I think.

    • Germanflea

      Try Bontrager shoes, I had the same problem and its gone now

  • Richard Evans

    Have to say I have wide feet and found the Giros to be very comfy. I do a lot of 100+ mile rides and so far haven’t had a problem. Yet another Audax this weekend in the UK to add to the list.

  • Guest

    For road shoes, Lake and Shimano have relatively roomy toe boxes. I have wide-ish feet and am comfortable in both.

  • Trevor H

    These shoes look interesting. Looking forward to seeing more of them. Seems like an interesting avenue to go down. I wish there was more detail on the Specialized site, but I guess that will come in due time. Kinda bummed they’ve changed their lasts over the past few years, have some ’74s and some ’13 S-Works XC shoes, and they fit really well; I’m tentative to try any of the new stuff because I’m afraid the fit wont be the same. Was really bummed that the Giro Empires were such a narrow last in a comparable size..

  • ez

    I would, anally (wait… is that a fisting joke?), say that Audax is not the same as Brevet (Audax has a road captain and that whole group two column thing), but I’ve seen these shoes first hand and there is a rumor that an SPD version will be released. I think it’s a grand idea and sartorially speaking, they are very subdued, yet a bit loud. Which is rando-ical.