October 2016 Women’s Product Picks: helmets, shoes and saddles

by Anne-Marije Rook

October 5, 2016

In this edition of Women’s Product Picks, we take a look at Specialized’s women’s helmets and top-end shoes, Bontrager’s Meraj shoes and race-specific saddle, as well as Prologo’s women’s endurance saddle.

Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:

Specialized Women’s S-Works 6 road shoe review

by VeloClub

The shoes of the pros, the Women’s S-Works 6 is Specialized top-end women’s shoe featuring a superstiff carbon sole, ultralight weight material, Boa closures and Specialized Padlock heel cup for an snug and secure fit.

Redesigned for the 2016 race season, the revamped S-Works 6 sports a cleaner look, a lower profile and a tapered rear and moulded heel cup. It’s arguably one of the best shoes on the market though it does come with a hefty price tag.

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What’s new:

I’ll try to limit the tech talk here, but despite its clean look, the S-Works 6 has a lot going on.

– A newly designed, one-piece FACT carbon fibre sole with a stiffness index of 13 for superior power transfer
– An all-new upper made from a fabric called Dyneema Cubic Light, a single-layer synthetic that does not stretch. Applied strategically on the midsection of the foot, it provides extra support and locks the foot in place. In places where you do want a little bit of give, the shoe features a synthetic, perforated microfibre material.
– Padlock heel cup: the most noticeable improvement to the shoe. Made from a solid piece of moulded plastic, the heelcup hugs the heel snugly and keeps the heel firmly in place –no heel lift, no slipping and no loss of power!
– Roomier toe box. While the shoe hugs the heel and midsection of the foot, the toe have plenty of room to wiggle.
– New colourways: crisp white and grey, a beautiful “holiday blue” and a fun neon pink.

Why we like it:
Superlight and uberstiff for superior performance. Trusty Boa closure, best heel hold on the market, and snug yet comfortable fit with a roomy toe box. You feel fast simply by wearing these shoes. They’re the best women’s race shoe I’ve tried.
The replaceable thread is a nice touch too.

For some the new heel cup may be a bit too aggressive.
The Boa S2 dials don’t have the quick-release function like the IP1 dials.
Is there such a thing as too stiff? Perhaps for me there is…Long rides did create a few hot spots, which were alleviated with the swapping of the insole.

Price: $400 USD, $549.96 AUD, £280.00