Long Term Review: Specialized 2FO flat shoes

Offered in both a flat and clip-in version to address the varying needs of riders today

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The Lowdown: 2FO flat shoes

I’ve used this Specialized shoe now for a good five months and it’s time for an update and a verdict. The short of it is, it’s an awesome shoe that covers all the bases that a flat shoe should deliver. It descends well, jumps good, climbs decent and is comfortable on and off the bike.

The shoe seems to have the right amount of grip, as it’s not quite Five Ten shoe sticky, but it is grippier than the Tevas. We’ve used it with an assortment of flat pedals and it performed well with all of them. Durability is good too, as a quick glance at the sole shows some marks, but not any significant damage.

In summary, this is one of the best flat shoes we’ve tried and it deserves the coveted 5-star rating.

Stat Box
Weight: 395 grams Material: Lightweight and doesn’t retain water
Compatibility: Flats or Clipless MSRP: $130
Lace guard: Stores laces safely Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 Chilies-out-of-5

  • Very comfortable
  • Heel padding is easily displaced
  • Very roomy inside
  • May not be for folks with narrow fit
  • Excellent protection
  • Clipless version is pricey at $180
  • Lightweight material that doesn’t get waterlogged
    • Many color options

    Full Review: Jan. 6, 2015

    Climbing, this shoe performed well. It seems stiff enough and we never felt the shoe held us back on big climbs. The key as well is, this shoe is incredibly comfortable so the absence of pain and hot spots helped us out on the long days in the saddle.

    The pedal is roomy indeed and we just had to cinch up the laces each time to get that snug control needed on the big, rocky descents. One of the advantages of the roomy cavity is that we were able to select the high arch sole that we needed for proper support, and this did not compromise fit.

    Specialized 2FO Clip in Black

    One of the minor inconveniences is, the heel support had a foam insert that could be displaced if we shoved our foot in the shoe without properly loosening them. Care had to be taken to loosen the shoe properly before inserting the foot. Beyond that, that cushy heel support held the heel in place without calling attention to itself.

    The elastic lace holder was not the easiest to use, as one had to lift the elastic and insert the tied shoelace through to prevent any movement of the shoelaces. But it was well worth the effort each time, as the laces never loosened or got caught in the chainrings.

    Off the bike, the shoes were a champ. Climbing granite rocks, slippery logs or walking to the cafe were all handled with ease by the Specialized 2FO. A great testimonial to this shoe’s comfort is that we keep it on sometimes after a ride. Going to the brewpub, driving home, the shoes feel comfortable all day. Unlike bulky or harsh shoes that you can’t wait to get out of, these shoes provide all day comfort.

    We’ve nailed some rocks and stumps with this shoe and although the foot hurts a few seconds/minutes after a big impact, we’ve suffered no injuries. By the end of the ride, it’s all good and the shoe shows marks but no damage from the beating.

    The shoe is fairly light as well at 395 grams each. At that weight, the shoe offers good protection on the toe box area. The rest of the foot is well protected as well. When the shoe gets wet, it doesn’t get waterlogged too much and it dries faster than other flat shoes.

    Let’s give the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) five flamin’ chilies for a well executed flat shoe.


    First Ride: Aug. 14, 2014

    We got ahold of the new 2FO Flat shoes by Specialized and we’ve been riding them in the Whistler Bike Park the last few days. These are interesting shoes indeed, in a growing part of the shoe segment. Folks want shoes now that can handle burly terrain just as well as their new 140-160mm travel, all-mountain bikes can. Specialized is hedging their bets by creating a flat pedal and a clip-in pedal on the 2FO line.

    How does it fit?

    The fit is roomy and that is indeed a welcome change. The shoe upper allows a lot of room around the laces area and the toe box provides room as well, to avoid uncomfortable toe contact during rough descents. With this in mind, the rider needs to find the right size to provide proper fit without feeling too loose.

    Specialized ships the shoe with a flattish arch support liner. A medium and high arch support are available from dealers. The heel padding is very supportive and comfortable and there is minimal heel lift during off-the-bike hiking or during pedal strokes.

    Riding the Specialized 2FO shoe in Whistler

    How well does it protect?

    Protection seems excellent as there is ample rubber around the shoe and around the toe box area. The top of the shoe is made of a thin, breathable material that doesn’t offer much protection, but should normally be beyond the reach of malicious rocks and sticks.

    Is the sole sticky?

    Yes, it is on the Flat. We’re told it’s not Five Ten level sticky, but it just a notch below that. It is definitely more grippy than the Teva Links that we’ve used over the last year. The Clip model has harder rubber, especially on the entry area to make clipping in easier. In the rest of sole of the Clip shoe, a grippy rubber is used.

    How did it ride?

    On our first three rides it was pretty dialed. It mated with the new Specialized Boomslang Flat pedals really well and we instantly felt right at home with the new shoe. The sole felt firm and supportive while the top was roomy and comfortable. After several hours of riding, we stopped thinking about the shoe, as it did not call attention to itself. There were no hotspots on our feet and the laces were out of the way with the rubber lacing retention system.

    The shoe felt light enough that we hardly noticed it and when it got wet a on stream crossing, the shoe didn’t seem to get heavy and waterlogged. It aced our short term test and we look forward to spending many months testing this shoe.

    YouTube Preview Image
    2FO Flat Shoe Highlights
    • Slipnot rubber compound developed in our tire lab to optimize shoe to pedal connectivity.
    • Directional sharkskin tread profile grips pedals, with open rear hex pattern for traction.
    • Injection molded toe kick, anti-tear toe, and high side cuff for lightweight armoring.
    • Air mesh upper construction adds protection while quickly shedding water weight.
    • Smooth thermobonded upper for lightweight durability and a snag-free profile.
    • Cushioned EVA midsole is sealed with a protective skin for support and tear resistance.
    • Body Geometry equipped to optimize comfort and performance.
    • Lacelock elastic keeps laces in place and clear of snags. Extra set of color laces included.
    • Relaxed-Fit for a balance of pedal feel and off-bike comfort.
    • Approximately 395g
    • MSRP $130


    2FO Clip Shoe Highlights
    • Landing Strip cleat pocket is optimized for effortless foot-out riding style with platform clip pedals.
    • Dual durometer sole uses firm rubber to control clip-in, and softer rubber for toe and heel traction.
    • Stiff Lollipop 3/4 cycling plate for high performance pedaling sits in a bed of EVA to soften landings.
    • Injection molded toe kick, anti-tear toe, and high side cuff for lightweight armoring.
    • Air mesh upper construction adds protection while quickly shedding water weight.
    • Smooth thermobonded upper for lightweight durability and a snag-free profile.
    • Cushioned EVA midsole is sealed with a protective skin for support and tear resistance.
    • Body Geometry equipped to optimize comfort and performance.
    • Lacelock elastic keeps laces in place and clear of snags. Extra set of color laces included.
    • Relaxed-Fit for a balance of pedal feel and off-bike comfort.
    • 2-bolt cleat pattern for compatibility with all major pedals.
    • Approximately 450g
    • MSRP $180

    Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.48.58 PM

    For more information visit www.specialized.com.

    Long Term Review: Specialized 2FO flat shoes Gallery

    Specialized 2FO vs Teva Links

    Specialized 2FO Flat shoe (right)compared to the Teva Link (left).

    Cannel Specialized 2FO


    Specialized 2FO flat in Grey

    Specialized 2FO Flat in grey color, top view.

    Specialized 2FO Flat in Grey

    Specialized 2FO Flat in Grey with sole.

    Specialized 2FO Flat in Black

    Specialized 2FO Flat in black.

    Specialized 2FO Flat in Black front


    Specialized 2FO Flat Women't front


    Specialized 2FO Womens

    Specialized 2FO Flat in Womens.

    Specialized 2FO Clip in Black

    Specialized 2FO Clip in black.

    Specialized 2FO Clip Sole


    Riding the Specialized 2FO Shoe in Whistler


    Specialized 2FO Side and Sole


    Specialized 2FO Side View


    Specialized 2FO Foot Measuring Tool


    Specialized 2FO models and pricing

    About the author: Francis Cebedo

    The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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    • Light Weight says:

      Mr. Kinkade – the shoe does not compete with older 5.10 models, but with the New Impacts (weight, performance, etc). Price is in-line with Impact pricing

    • MTBP says:

      NOT surprisingly over priced… good luck with all of the better priced proven options that already exist.

    • scott says:

      I think I’ve seen these before: http://www.nicekicks.com/air-jordans/air-jordan-5/

      Wish I was a rich kid when I was young, they got all the cool stuff and my dad could only afford Converse All Stars. . .

    • Salvatore says:

      Salve vorrei sapere se la 2fo clip la posso trovare blu e giallo fluo. Grazie mille!

    • John says:

      I wish someone would come out with more of a running shoe design with an arch for support that would work for trail and XC. This is a flat that looks like all the rest; basically another version of a skate shoe. I get that this works well for DH but I would like to see something for the trails that is shaped like a contoured shoe. FiveTen has hiking shoes that come very close. Also, its time for laces to go away. Why not straps or tension adjusters? I took an old pair of Shimano buckle shoes, ground down the cleats and glued on some Five Ten soles. This has worked great for about 750 miles. I like being able to ratchet the tension and the secure fit.

      • nick says:

        I hear what you are saying, virtually everything you desire is on clip less pedal shoes, non skate look buckles and ratchets… Contoured shoes will still need a flat sole if you require them to be used on flat pedals.
        Personally I cannot stand buckles straps etc… I’m not skiing!

        Anyway, don’t shimano make a flat shoe type with has a less skate shoe appearance? The one with the velcro lace cover?

    • rob says:

      The color choices for flats are brutal. Here in Phoenix, black shoes are just not good for me. On a 110 degree day, the sun/pavement/rock temperature is crazy hot and shoe color actually matters. Maybe the gray would work…

    • Philip says:

      got these last week and they are fantastic, my favorite flat pedal shoes by far! Excellent grip, power transfer, comfortable… Sweet

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