The 2FO is version 2.0 of Specialized‘s flat shoe effort. The first one, introduced in 2014 was pretty darn good as Mtbr reviewed here. It was quick drying and had good power transfer. But sizing was a little odd and the feel and control was not quite there with the somewhat hard shoe and sole.
Specialized worked hard to improve the fit and feel of the latest 2FO, working on the toebox to make sure it has room but is not too cavernous that one loses the feeling of control. They also focused both on the rubber of the sole and all the layers of rubber between the sole and the foot. This Mtbr test pair weighed 760 grams size 43. Price is $150.
- Excellent impact cushioning and improved control during rough descents
- Good fit without being too roomy
- Improved protection, especially on the outer side of shoe
- 40 grams lighter than outgoing model
- Comfortable off the bike
- Could use a little more grip
- Not the most pedal efficient
First off, these shoes are remarkably easy to put on and take off. The tongue is solid but seems to tuck out of the way when putting the shoe on. The heel cup stays in place without deforming. Thus, we actually found a good lace setting where we just slipped our foot off and slipped it on without redoing the laces.
The second thing we noticed is how comfortable the shoes are off the bike. When driving or hiking, they felt like a nice tennis shoe with good grip and stability on rocks. We wore it for a 5-mile hike in Tahoe and it felt good while hopping around on rocks and uneven surfaces.
On the bike it’s comfortable and controlled. Indeed, it was pretty uncanny how our foot stayed on the pedals with little discomfort or vibration. But the best part is when doing jumps and descending rocky trail. Even when casing a jump and landing flat, the shoe seemed to help us out. The middle part of the sole has shock absorbing qualities unlike what we’ve seen in other flat shoes. Near the tip of the shoe, it’s fairly stiff. But in the middle and the bottom of the sole, it’s softer. This improves the contact point, as it damped vibrations and impacts.
Since this shoe doesn’t have the stickiest rubber, the shoe worked better with higher pin/traction pedals like the OneUp and Canfield Bros. Non-high traction pedals like the Xpedo Magnesium and Race Face Chester didn’t stay mated with the shoes quite as well.
Looking at the sole further, it was fascinating that Specialized used a very soft rubber in the middle of the shoe, almost like a running shoe. This delivered the comfort and control that made this shoe stand out for us.
As far as pedaling efficiency is concerned, the power transfer didn’t seem as efficient as stiffer shoes like the Five Ten Freerider Pro. And since the sole is not very firm, using small platform pedals would not be ideal and could develop hot spots.
Bottom line, this is a great shoe with multiple uses, and it delivers superb comfort and control on the bike.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
More Info: www.specialized.com