A triathlon specific cycling shoe from the Big Red S... finally.
Some type of "grippers" on the top of the straps to help prevent sliding off while riding with your feet on top of the shoe.
It was worth the wait. Hands (or feet) down the best shoe for getting in and out quickly and effortlessly.
We patiently waited on the "new tri shoe" from Specialized just like everyone else, and finally received them a couple of months ago. Now that we have been riding in the Specialized Trivents for quite some time, we are ready to give you our thoughts. The production version of this shoe represents several years of design and research to build the Specialized version of the ultimate tri-specific shoe.
Below are the 5 key features of the Trivent that Specialized feels set it apart from the rest of the competition.
The new Trivent was designed from the ground up with one thing in mind...triathlon. This shoe exhibits some serious real world features, and perhaps more than any shoe we've seen to date the Trivent simply screams triathlon. This is definitely not just a road shoe disguised as a tri-shoe with a couple of reverse open velcro straps. The design should make for ridiculously quick and easy transitions, and in our opinion, will be a very formidable option, especially in shorter distance events.
The London Bridge...well kinda
The most undeniably unique thing about the Trivent is the lack of a traditional heel (no the shoe isn't torn). Specialized calls this the drawbridge heel, this feature not only looks different, but it's also what makes the design so promising for use in triathlon. By rethinking this area of the shoe, the Specialized team has changed the game when it comes to the shoe's entry/exit process for when transition time comes around.
The drawbridge heel is connected to the shoe at the heel and is drawn tight with cables connected to a BOA dial.
We are already fans of the BOA system and its ability to make quick, precise adjustments on the fly. The Trivent has a single BOA dial to get the fit "dialed in". A few quick turns is all it takes get a snug fit with this closure system. When T2 rolls around, a quick pull up on the BOA dial releases the tension and allows you to easily remove your foot.
Out back, you'll find another important piece of the drawbridge system, the magnetic heel loop.
When engaged, the "button" on the heel loop fits into a cup on the back of the heel holding the drawbridge heel in the open position.
With the drawbridge heel in the open position you get a pretty wide open target for your feet to hit. If you can't get into this shoe leaving T1, you might want to consider a new sport.
Ready for Launch?
Another triathlon specific feature incorporated into the Trivent is the "Launch Clip".
This small plastic clip is designed to hold the shoe in place by clipping onto a rubber band, so it's not dragging the ground or flipped over when trying to enter the shoe out of T1.
We've all seen various iterations of this idea leaving transition, some good, some not so good. Specialized capitalized on this old school idea and just put it to work in the shoe for a much cleaner, more user friendly design.
Claimed weight of the Trivent is 280g (size 42). We'd say that is pretty much spot on, as our sample in a size 45 came in at 293g.
The Trivents are on par with any top of the line cycling shoe (Road or Tri specific). The internal lining is really nice for sockless riding, which is how we usually roll. However, we did do some riding in the mountains with socks and the shoes proved to be just as comfortable. It does take a little "getting used to" the feeling of the lack of material on the top of the shoe. With that said, the straps and heel closure system offer plenty of support.
The new Trivent has an open concept, as in an open tongue area and open mesh for maximum breathability.
The seam free sockliner greets bare feet with kindness.
Another important factor in a tri shoe is moisture management. The insoles of the Trivent are perforated to allow for water, sweat, and "other fluids" to pass through the shoe.
There's also a vent at the front of the shoe to allow air in and excess moisture out.
A little extra padding in a crucial, and often overlooked area in many shoes we've reviewed, is where the shoe comes across the top of the foot. A feature we have already come to appreciate with the new Trivent.
So...the upper is pretty cool, but what about applying power to the pedals? The Trivent uses the same unidirectional FACT 12.0 carbon found in the top of the line S-Works road shoe for a super stiff and lightweight base.
A replaceable heel pad is also a nice touch.
The only way to truly appreciate the Trivent is to actually try the shoe. It is hard to explain how stupidly easy it is to get in and out of the shoes. They should eliminate much of the swerving and out of control bikes leaving T1 and make for a stress free entrance to T2. We have put several thousand miles on the shoes and feel like they are some of the best we have ever had.
Our biggest issue with the shoe overall is with the lack of material on the "upper" of the shoe. The minimal design is great for the most part, but it can make things a little dicey during those short moments of riding with your feet on top of the shoe leaving T1 or coming into T2, especially with wet or sweaty feet. As you can see from the picture below, there isn't much of a platform to put your feet on. We found that placing your feet inward as close to the crank arms as possible provides the most stability. In the future, it might be a nice update to see some sort of gripper material on the top of the straps as well as the edges of the upper of the shoe. Anything that decreases the likelihood of our crotch coming in contact with the top tube is a welcome addition.
TriBomb Bottom Line
If it's time to upgrade your cycling shoes (hell, even if it's not), the Trivent is the best option currently available on the market for triathlon in our opinion. Built from the ground up specifically for triathletes, you will actually be able to justify the purchase by the ease of entry/exit combined with top-notch comfort.