[First Ride] Specialized 2FO DH Clipless

It wasn’t all that long ago that I first stepped into a set of new mid duty flat pedal shoes from Specialized dubbed the 2FO Roost. Now, a few months later the California brand has released a Downhill rated follow up aptly named the 2FO DH. I’ve been riding the clipless version for a few weeks now and wanted to share my initial thoughts on them…


  • Colors: Black Redwood & Cool Grey
  • Sizes: 36, 37, 38, 38.5-46.5, 47, 48, 49
  • 860 grams (our scale, size 44.5)
  • XPEL hydrophobic mesh construction
  • Extended length cleat slot
  • Cushioned EVA foam midsole
  • $170 USD


Red bottoms? Louboutins? Nope, not that fancy. The red soles are a bit of a standout on the black version, but if you prefer a more subdued look, the grey option may be a better bet. Either way, the shoes use Specialized “SlipNot” rubber, which strikes a nice balance between durability and decent traction off the bike.

The cleat slots provide lots of fore/aft adjustment so it’s easy to drop the heels if that’s your style. The cleat pocket itself has been reshaped for easier engagement with the pedal. You can see that forward and inboard surfaces are chamfered to assist with entry. Also note the indexing to help you align the cleats.

Compared to their predecessor, this shoe has less of a rubbery feel and forgoes having a fully wrapped rubber toe area. The 2FO DH is still sturdy and offers solid protection all around, but feel a little less bulky…

However, there is still an ample toe bumper that meshes seamlessly with the front of the shoe’s upper.

The lace capture no longer has a tab, but it does have a snugger fit and shorter laces, which I appreciated, since the last version were so long that I cut them down. There is also a perforated section between the toes and the bottom of the tongue for improved ventilation.

Specialized use what they call “Flatlock” lacing, which nicely resists getting twisted and also distributes pressure evenly.

There is a new footbed using material dubbed “Expel”, which is full of perforations but maintains the same nicely contoured, and thus a supportive shape. Specialized offer aftermarket “Body Geometry” footbeds with varying levels of arch support. Personally I have high arches and quite enjoyed the stock footbeds just fine though.

A look at the underside of the footbed. Probably not what you’d expect to see, although I must say the support and comfort is really, really good.

On the trail

Starting with sizing, the 44.5 EU that I tested, which roughly translates to a 10.5 US, fit spot on without any weird quirks. The toe box is on the roomy side and the heel is on the snugger side. This is ideal for keeping things in place while still leaving room for blood flow. The weight didn’t really seem like a factor – at 860 grams they don’t feel all that heavy, particularly for a DH rated shoe. Compared to the new 2FO Roost, this shoe definitely is quite a bit more substantial and offers more protection and a more solid feel. The shank is quite stiff, so the power transfer and support is there, but it doesn’t come at the expense of walkability. The cuff around the ankle was familiar – quite similar to the last version, with nice padding and good support. I could see how some may want a mid-top shoe for DH racing due to the added protection, but for a low top shoe these are about as good as it gets.

The first thing that struck me was that there was almost no rubber on the outsole contacting the surface of my pedals. This was not the case with past Specialized models and made for a slightly floatier feeling, which lead me to tighten my pedal tension a bit. This certainly isn’t a bad thing as it means less premature wear of the sole, but it’s worth mentioning. Anyhow, The range in adjustment on offer from the cleat slots is massive and the ridges make it very easy to line them up straight and with the same placement side to side. I prefer my cleats quite a ways back but had room to go further back from where I settled, so these should nicely accommodate most every rider’s preferences.


It’s a bit early to make any long term calls on durability, but for what it’s worth I just checked off year two of frequent use on this shoe’s predecessor with no issues thus far. In contrast, the new 2FO DH is just a bit more refined and polished all around. The new materials feel less bulky and rubbery, without giving much of anything up in the way of protection. Their updated cleat interface has been improved all around and like the last version they dry out really quickly, but I feel that they also breathe a bit better now as well. The new footbed is definitely a step up, with great padding and contour and just like the last version the laces are great, only now at a better length. All in all, the new 2FO DH will make a great shoe for bike park days, enduro or DH racing.


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