[Tested] Specialized 2FO Clip 2.0

[Tested] Specialized 2FO Clip 2.0

17/12/2019
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17/12/2019

Following the widespread popularity of their lauded 2FO Flat shoe from 2017, Specialized announced a clipless successor – aptly named the 2FO Clip 2.0. We got our hands on, and feet into a pair a few months back, which means we’ve been able to spend some time in them as the seasons change from warm to wintry.

Details

  • $160 USD
  • 350 grams per shoe (size 42)
  • 3 colors – Black, white, red
  • Extended 2-bolt cleat pocket
  • Sizes 36-49 EU

From the top down, the 2F0 Clip 2.0 looks a lot like its flat pedal sibling…because it is. The upper is essentially the same, it’s in the sole where things actually begin to differ…

From top left, clockwise: As its aimed at the gravity end of the sport, the 2FO has a sturdy, extra long cleat pocket which allows riders to position the cleats further back, which makes it easier to drop your heels when descending. The “Body Geometry” footbed is nicely contoured and extra supportive. A look at the cuffs reveals dense padding at the ankles, improving both comfort and protection. Lastly, “Lacelock” tabs keep the laces from getting mixed up in your drivetrain.

Above: a great deal of mesh can be found throughout the shoe, to help with ventilation. There is also some porous padding behind the mesh fabric for protection and structure. Below: lined up with the other side of the mesh, there is a decent amount of perforation so heat and moisture can exit the shoe.

The 2FO Clip 2.0 outsole gets its own pattern compared to other current Specialized clipless offerings as well as its flat pedal sibling. The “SlipNot” rubber strikes a nice balance of grip and durability. It’s worth noting – the compound on offer here is quite a bit firmer than the one featured on the 2FO Flat – we’ll get into that more, later.

Out back you’ll find pull tabs for an assist with getting the shoes on. The EVA midsole (in grey) offers dense cushioning.

On the trail

Unsurprisingly I chose the same size (44.5) to test this clipless version as I did in the flat version and again found them to be true to size. Oddly enough, I felt like the toe box in these shoes was ever so slightly less wide compared the flat pedal version. That’s fine as they are still generously roomy – which could also be a consequence of the fact that I didn’t feel the need to snug the laces down as much since the sole is stiffer and more supportive. Speaking of the sole, as far as power transfer goes, I found the 2FO Clip 2.0 shoes to be a standout. There is very little flex in the sole and they provide excellent support for your feet. This of course did mean that walkability was slightly inhibited as the shoe doesn’t conform to every inconsistency in the terra firma you find yourself on. While we’re on the topic of traction – the outsole’s compound is not as soft as the flat pedal version. Rather, it’s aimed less at letting pins dig deep into it and more at durability and longevity. Again, this meant that the shoes weren’t quite as grippy off bike, but they were pretty middle of the road as far as those things go.

One area where these shoes are simply untouchable is their toe protection. The molded rubber topsole integrates a very sturdy toe bumper, offering the best protection I’ve ridden to date. The rubber paneling also cleans up really well – unlike leather, fabric or a combination of the two. During the muddy winter days lately, I’ve actually been hosing the outside of these shoes off right after washing my bike each ride. If I’m careful, minimal water gets into the shoes and by the time I wake up the next day, they’re dry and ready for action – a testament to how well they manage moisture. One thing I will say is that due to all that rubber, the 2FO Clip 2.0 shoes can feel a little warm on the hot, sunny days. As far as getting clipped in and out, early on I had a bit of a hard time with my Time ATAC Speciale pedals as they pressed into the soles a bit. With testing in mind, I opted to see how they’d break in on their own and decided not to trim the soles. After 2-3 rides they broke in and felt perfect. There is something about the shape of the sole and the cleat pocket that made it very easy for the pedal and cleat to “find” one another, even in hectic, awkward moments and in bad conditions.

As far as some of the technical details and features go, I’m a big fan of the flatlock lacing as it keeps the laces from getting all bunged up and twisted, plus their flat shape is easy on the hands. The lacelock tabs keep things tidy and have been snugged up and improved over past iterations. The support on offer from the insole is far better than what you’ll find in most MTB shoes, with a nice contour…But if you want to take things a step further, I’d recommend heading to a Specialized dealer and checking out the Body Geometry SL footbeds. Whether you have high arches, flat feel or anywhere in between, those insoles can be quite beneficial in my opinion. Lastly, the padding in the ankle cuff and the tongue is just right in terms of density, thickness and shape – there is just enough protection there without feeling bulky. Although it sounds somewhat contradictory, the foam padding itself is airy, but also has a surprising amount of structure to it.

Overall

At the end of the day, I’m pretty hard pressed to find any flaws in the 2FO Clip 2.0. For what it’s worth, I’ve gotten along with Specialized shoes quite well over the years in general and think they do a great job on the whole. That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that these shoes are aimed at a more gravity oriented crowd, so if you’re looking for something a bit lighter and more minimalist, perhaps consider their Boa laced counterpart. But as for the 2FO Clip 2.0; the comfort, padding, support and features have been flawless. The shoes can run ever so slightly warm, but on the same token they fare far better than most in bad conditions and have superior toe protection. As far as the stiffness and power transfer goes, they offer brilliant support and rigidity, but making it a classic give and take story, that does come at the expense of slightly hampered walkability when you’re off bike and bush whacking. All in all, I’ve been riding a handful of shoes this year and so far these are my all around top pick at the moment, especially now that wetter winter riding is here.

www.specialized.com