Review: Specialized 2FO Cliplite Lace Flat Mountain Bike Shoes
March 21st, 2017
March 21st, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
The Best Belt-Drive and Internally-Geared Bikes for 2018
What is a Women-Specific Bike?
Best 2018 Budget Mountain Bikes for Under £1,000
Bespoked - The UK's Handmade Bicycle Show announces talks
Did you know we have a marketplace too?
We've got a new, dedicated Marketplace, with no hidden fees or commission.Find your next bike
I've been eyeing up the Specialized 2FOs for some time now, mainly because of the promise of smoother pedal entry and exit with the Landing Strip (beg pardon?!) cleat pocket. My existing shoes are more like flat shoes with a cleat sticking out, which leaves a tiny bit of wiggle on the pedal, like I'm balancing on the cleat and not the shoe. I've also wanted more cross-country/trail oriented shoes to race in, so the 2FO seems like a nice bridge between the two genres; foot out, flat out - on a diet. Specialized's Body Geometry footbed offers an ergonomical design that is "scientifically tested to boost power increase efficiency and reduce chance of injury". As a rider that over-pronates (rolls my foot inwards) I have always benefitted from better arch support. Bringing the arch up flattened the foot and keeps the leg, hip and knee in a straight and comfortable position. The 2FOs do this well, and I've always valued this attention in their road and cross-country shoes too, so it's great to get the same attention in a trail/enduro shoe. It won't be for everyone though, so do walk them around the shop or your house before you get them dirty (that being said, they feel 100 times better on the bike than they do walking!). Stiff Lollipop has to be my new favourite trade mark, which basically refers to the nylon composite plate in the sole. The soles are for sure stiff, which offers great control when they are attached to the pedals. The Landing Strip (also another great trade mark) makes sure your new stiff soles are properly in line with your pedals too. I ran these with my Crank Brothers' Mallets (like a flat pedal with cleats) and they meshed really well. They're about as close to flat pedal riding as you can get. However, the stiffness, and the ergonomic fitting of the shoe means they can be a little exhausting for hike-a-bike situations or long push-ups to the top of trails. For racing, however, they pretty spot on. The upper is advertised as a "lightweight durability and a snag-free profile". Well, they certainly have taken a pounding over the last months, with only a few scrapes to the coloured sections to report, but the rest have held up well and even spent some time in the washing machine (a bonus to laces over clips). What they haven't advertised is the exceptional water-resistance. They're not waterPROOF, but they hold up to puddle splash and light rain much better than any of my other trail shoes, and the cleats don't tend to leak water from underneath either. The laces are robust and seem to be pretty grippy, meaning I didn't have to re-do them mid ride. There's a little elasticated docking system to keep them out of trouble too. Their approximate weight is 349g (1/2 pair size 39), which is 30g lighter than the old Boa Clip Lite 2FOs, so a 60g saving overall is quite appealing, especially when they're £40 cheaper, however, if you plan on riding through mud a lot, I might opt for the Boa version to avoid clogged laces and the mess you have to deal with to get out of them at the end of the day.
I love the Specialized 2FO range, if only for the breadth of designs and models, from men's to women's fit, Boa tension to laces, from stealth black to red camouflage, the range looks great. The ergonomics of the shoe work really well for my feet, and the stiff sole make them a cracking pair to race in. The Landing Strip ('ello) does what it says on the box, and the integration with clip-in pedals is spot on; I never felt like I was balancing on a cleat, so control and power is awesome. Though their stiffness worked well when riding, they can be a bit exhausting on hike-a-bikes and long push-ups, but I think it's fair to say you can't have both a good walking shoe and a good riding shoe in one package. If you want better integration with your pedals, better control and power transfer, and fitted shoe that will bridge that gap between an xc and trail shoe, then these are well worth a look. Heck, if you're reading this then you probably want them anyway, so take it from me that you won't regret the purchase.