Specialized revamped its line-up of mid-range footwear last year and the Torch 2.0 shoes sit slap bang in the middle of the range. They’re impressive, with a stiff carbon sole and extremely comfortable fit. Ventilation is excellent, too, though that means the shoes are best suited to milder conditions.
The new Torch family of road shoes includes three models, with the £150 Torch 2.0 sitting between the £80 1.0 and £200 3.0. With this version you get a single Boa dial closure system, carbon sole, and 100 per cent mesh and TPU upper. Upgrade to the 3.0 shoes and you get two Boa dials and a stiffer carbon sole, while the more affordable 1.0 shoes use three velcro straps and a nylon sole.
Reflecting their mid-range position in the Torch line-up, above the beginner-friendly 1.0s and below the racier 3.0s, the 2.0s are designed for riders wanting a balance of big-mile comfort and high-performance. In fact, the clue is in the first line of copy on Specialized’s website: “The Torch 2.0 Road shoes are all about comfort - well, comfort and performance that is."
Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes
- Price: £150.00
- Sizes: 39-49
- Size tested: 43
- Colours: White; black; red
- Website: Specialized
Let’s address comfort first, because it’s where these shoes really excel. The 2.0 shoes utilise a mesh and TPU construction which ensures the upper feels very supple around the foot, while the fit has been designed to offer a huge amount of what Specialized refers to as ‘wiggle room’ around the toes. Initially it even feels like the shoes are a little big, but you get used to the sensation after a few minutes and they are supremely comfortable for general riding.
This comfort is helped by thick padding around the heel and the rest of the foot, combined with a really well made footbed. Specialized has used a Body Geometry sole construction and footbed, utilising learnings from the company’s bike fit programme, and I didn’t notice any kind of hotspots or cramps through the entire review period.
Ventilation is also really impressive, as you might expect from something which features so much mesh. You can really feel the air flowing over your feet while riding thanks to the ventilation on the toe box and along the sides of the shoes. This is fantastic for warmer rides, but I definitely needed to reach for the overshoes on cooler outings.
"The Torch 2.0’s carbon sole is certainly more than stiff enough for the vast majority of rides"
Closure comes via a single Boa dial and velcro strap at the front. You used to only find the Boa system on high-end shoes but its creeping down to the mid-range (see Shimano's RC7 shoes as another example) and, as we’ve said plenty of times before, it’s an excellent solution. The Boa dial is micro-adjustable - you twist the dial away from you to tighten and towards you to loosen - and is easy to work with on the go. It tightens a wire which runs through two sets of loops and also hooks underneath a small hook on the tongue.
The velcro strap across the toes offers a little additional security to the fit. However, when you close it so the top lines up with the bottom it creates a crease in the front of the material. It’s not too much of an issue and doesn’t impact fit, but it does look a little strange.
The carbon sole has a rating of 7.0 on Specialized’s own stiffness scale. A lot of brands have their own scale, making comparisons with rival shoes fairly pointless, but it does provide some context within the Specialized range, with the flagship S-Works 6 shoes having a rating of 13.0 and the Torch 3.0 shoes measuring 8.5. The Torch 2.0’s sole is certainly more than stiff enough for the vast majority of rides and I only noticed the tiniest bit of flex when really putting the power down. Power transfer is impressive while also retaining a decent amount of feedback through to the pedals, and for most sportive riders or amateur racers, the Torch 2.0 will do the trick.
The sole accepts three-bolt road cleats and also has a huge rubber buffer on the heel to offer some protection and grip when walking. Unlike most other shoes I have used, this is just a single oversized buffer (rather than two on either side or several in a pattern) and I found this made the shoes slightly easier to walk in. There’s also a rubber gripper at the front to help when walking.
"Specialized has really hit the mark with the Torch 2.0 shoes... these are among the best mid-range shoes out there"
As for weight, these come in at an impressive 249g per shoe (498g for the pair), which is a really good weight for shoes in this price bracket. For comparison, the Cube Road C:62 shoes come in at £30 more and 532g (33g more), while the Bont Riot Road+ shoes come in 633g (134g more) and have the same RRP. To further put it in perspective, the Fizik R1B Uomo shoes are an extra £130 and still weigh an additional 61g.
Specialized has really hit the mark with the Torch 2.0 shoes. They are light, comfortable and offer a good level of stiffness for most riders. There are some quirks, like the velcro strap, but we’re quibbling and, all things considered, these are among the best mid-range shoes out there.
- Very comfortable
- Relatively stiff carbon sole
- Excellent ventilation
- Mesh upper lets in cold air in
- Front strap creates creases