We’ve been riding the Specialized 2FO Cliplite Boa for over a year and a half after first falling in love with them in Downieville at a Camber launch. It quickly became our favorite all around, utilitarian clipless MTB shoe. While part of what put that shoe on a pedestal was the Boa closure system, it has many many other strong points. A few months ago Specialized launched a “budget” version of the shoe that cost 50% less, and aside from the Boa dials they’re essentially the same. Here’s what we thought of them…
In Specialized’s words these shoes are “Designed for pushing the limits of enduro racing and trail riding”. As far as we’re concerned, they’re aimed at just about 90% of all MTB applications for recreational clipless riders. This isn’t an uber lightweight XC racing shoe nor is it a heavy duty gravity oriented shoe. We hate to reuse the word but these shoes are just just plain utilitarian.
- Approximate weight: 379g (1/2 pair, size 42)
On the Trail
Our first ride on the 2FO Cliplite Lace was quite familiar coming off the the Boa version. This review might seem slightly redundant but we’ll go over the subtle differences the best we can.
Part of what we love so much about the 2FO cliplite are the Body Geometry insoles. Our tester has a super high arch and Specialized offer 3 different insoles with varying degrees of arch support as well as metatarsal support. These insoles are $30 a piece and if you have less than perfect feet, they’re worth every penny; we transferred them over from our “old” shoes. For what it’s worth, the stock insoles are pretty darn good for those with normal feet.
Two other critical design elements that transfer over from the 2FO Cliplite Boa are hidden in plain sight in the bottom of the shoe. The cleat pocket is designed not to interfere with pedals, but more importantly the slots are have a ton of range in them allowing you to run your cleats much farther back than most. Second, the overall layout of the outsole is brilliant. It provides excellent walkability so if you spend some time scrambling around on rocks, scouting terrain, stopping to take photos or any other non pedal smashing activity – you WILL appreciate that.
So, what’s difference? Basically the price and the closure system on the shoe’s upper. While we have come to fully appreciate the superior Boa system over time, Specialized have made the standard laces about as high tech and forgiving as technology will allow. Although not quite as sophisticated as the Boa system, the lace shape and eyelets do evenly distribute pressure nicely compared to most lace up style shoes. As a bonus, the elastic “Lacelock” keeps the laces from snagging in your drivetrain.
As far as power transfer goes, Specialized have designed a shank that strikes the perfect balance between providing stiffness and still flexing enough when you’re off of the bike or hiking up a steep section of trail. The traction, comfort and support provided by the sole are spot on and will suit the majority of day-to-day riding applications. Last but not least, the protection offered in the roomy toe box is sturdy and reassuring without being overbuilt or too bulky..
If you’re looking for an XC racing shoe or a DH shoe, you’re barking up the wrong tree…The 2FO Cliplite Lace are for regular day-to-day mountain biking and suit a majority of riders’ needs. At $120 they’re a pack in a great deal of value with a number of seemingly minor details that all earn more credibility as you pack on the miles. The durability has been excellent thus far and the fit is excellent. We do think the Boa system distributes pressure a bit more evenly and appreciate that they’re easier to adjust on the fly but all in all, the lace version are damn good and come in at $60 less. If you’re trying to save a few bucks these will not disappoint in any way. If you don’t mind throwing the extra money around, the Boa versions are worth the increase in price. Either way you can’t go wrong with either pair…Two thumbs way up.