New Specialized 2FO 2.0 Flat Pedal Shoes - Review
Specialized are today releasing their brand new flat pedal shoes, the 2FO 2.0 (reviewed here) and the 2FO 1.0. The 2.0 is the more robust of the pair while the 1.0 targets more of the value conscious riders that perhaps aren’t as hard on their kicks. The shoes are available in sizes 38–49 and have been redesigned in an effort to provide more grip and more pedal feel than their predecessor. MSRP for the 2.0 is $150 USD and the 1.0 is $110 USD.
Specialized 2FO 2.0 Shoe Details (Tested)• Slipknot 2.0 rubber• Newly engineered lug pattern• Ergonomic sole• Dual-density midsole• Breathable tongue and uppers• Weight: 347 grams (claimed per shoe, size 42)• MSRP: $150 USD
Specialized 2FO 1.0 Shoe Details• Slipknot 2.0 rubber• Newly engineered lug pattern• Ergonomic sole• Internal neoprene bootie • Dual-density midsole• Breathable tongue and uppers• Weight: 315 grams (claimed per shoe, size 42)• MSRP: $110 USD
ConstructionWhen Specialized first jumped into flat pedal shoes in 2014 they brought a much needed fresh outlook to a number of key attributes for them. Most notable of these was a shoe that didn’t sponge up water and become a heavy, soggy mess attached to the bottom of a rider's leg, and then take a week to dry out. Unfortunately, they didn’t really hit home with traction and pedal feel, two points that Specialized now admit themselves, and at the end of the day, who cares if your feet are dry if they fly off your pedals at the slightest hint of bump in the trail. For the new shoes, Specialized worked extensively with Coastal Crew riders, Curtis Robinson and Dylan Dunkerton to develop something that they all felt was a good balance of traction, feel, and durability. Specialized say they went full nerd in the process, and given that they strapped the guys up with a pressure mapping system enabling them to see how the footbeds were interacting with the pedals, and how the construction of the uppers and midsole would affect this, I would tend to agree.
The team notes that they tested for 18 months and there were over 12 variations of rubber compounds. Combined with midsole and upper construction development there were over 18 variations of the shoes before the team arrived at their happy place. The new shoes feature an updated sole with plenty of attention put into the lugs—gone is the mostly flat surface from the old shoe—and how they engage with the pedal pins when weighted, as well as the rubber itself. The upper of the shoes has added material in key areas that see a lot of wear—spots like the inside ankle area, where scuffing against cranks and stays is very common, and they also used a flat-pressed foam in the toe-box area, to help soften the blow when your foot jams into the front of the shoe. The materials used are still supposed to be rugged, but exhibit more flexibility than the old version as well. So after 18 months testing and a lot of science, does it all work out to a good shoe on the trail?
PerformanceThe fit of the shoes is a little different to the predecessor and we would say more true to size. In the old model, I required an 11.75 US (45.5 EU) shoe to be left with what was still a pretty tight fit, while my 510 and casual shoes are normally a 10.5–11 US max. Both of the new 2.0 and 1.0 2FO shoes in an 11.5 US (45 EU) are quite a bit roomier on my foot than the previous shoe in its slightly bigger size. The new shoes have me wanting to size back down to an 11 US for a better fit and our other tester went with his regular shoe size and said that they're good and although a tad tighter than he would have expected, they fit fine. The 1.0 features a lighter upper with what seemed like more breathability, while the 2.0 is firmer in the upper thanks to materials that are a little tougher in an effort to achieve a more durable shoe. We can’t comment on pedal feel or riding in both shoes as we’ve only ridden in the 2.0, but I personally am interested to see how the 1.0’s more flexible upper translates to the trail.
We’ve been testing the 2.0 shoe on a number of different pedals. The range includes the Deity T-Mac, Nukeproof Horizon, and Specialized’s Boomslang and Atlas pedals. For the first couple of rides, the shoes felt a little stiff and cumbersome, offering what seemed pretty similar to the pedal feel of the old 2FO’s. However, once they began to break in—at about half-a-dozen rides—the pedal feel improved considerably. That feel has yet to get to a point where it feels too thin, but for those that enjoy the feel of the 510 Freerider or similar, you likely won't get on well with the 2FO. For each of us that tested the 2.0, we found feel to be pretty good once broken in—for reference, we’re each coming from 510 Freerider Pros. While pedal feel has improved a lot, traction is still a bit of a problem. The shoes definitely provide more grip than the previous version thanks to the combination of the redesigned tread pattern providing more meat for the pins to dig against and the improved rubber, so we’ve found their claim there to be true. However, they still left us in situations on the trails where our feet would be wandering on the pedal.
On smoother trails or when dirt jumping, the shoe’s traction was sufficient, but as soon as they were taken down a section of trail with plenty of feedback from roots and rock, things took a turn for the worse. Rather than being able to focus on the incoming onslaught from the trail, we found we would be battling against losing our footing, on top of what the terrain was throwing at us. I found these shoes to perform better when mated with the Nukeproof Horizon pedals, which was surprising to me given the success that I normally experience with Deity's T-Macs. The platform for the T-Mac’s seemed too big for the sole of the 2FO 2.0’s, which have a narrower footprint than the Freerider Pro’s that I have been spending a lot of time on lately. Our other tester found no difference between the Boomslang and Atlas pedals, with each providing the same experience.