Beyond just making some of the best bikes in the business, Specialized produces a whole line of bike apparel and footwear. In fact, they have dedicated teams making gear and products to outfit riders from head to toe. Each category has engineers solely focused on creating products with the use of their own in-house testing facility, including a wind tunnel.
I had an early version of their shoes, which sadly met a quick demise after sliding approximately 30ft on packed whistler dirt (completely protecting my foot by the way). I reached out to Specialized for another review sample of their latest trail shoe, the 2FO Cliplite. As the resident tester for all things clipless and tech inspired, the BOA closure shoe was right up my alley.
Specialized has developed a footbed and sole system called Body Geometry Construction that rotates the foot out just a few degrees to align the hip, knee, and foot and has been shown in their lab to increase power output and increase pedal efficiency. While I did no lab testing, I found the footbed and sole to feel a bit strange when walking around but completely ideal on the bike. Once I dialed in my cleat position, I never experienced any knee pain, which I have been prone to in other shoes.
BOA closures allow for micro-adjustment and very quick lacing and are covered by BOA’s lifetime guarantee. The shoe has loads of toe box and heel protection but is cut below the ankle and does not offer any protection there. The sole is very stiff and has a nylon plate for stiffness but remains fairly easy to walk in. Cleat mounts are very long and offer a wide range of adjustability. A large cleat pocket, called the lading strip, allows cleats to be recessed but still provides for easy clip in action.
The 2FO Cliplite is very stiff on the first couple of rides so be aware that they do have a break-in period. I developed a few hot spots around my ankle on the first ride but those quickly went away by the fourth time out. With the amount of adjustability in the BOA closure system, the shoes now feel custom molded to my feet.
Fit may be an issue for some customers so we’d suggest trying them on before hand. I have a very narrow foot and these shoes fit tight. I would imagine anyone with a wide mid-foot would have a longer break-in period or not get along with them very well. Most all Specialized dealers are well stocked with Body Geometry sizing tools or should have the shoes in stock.
For a relatively light weight trail shoe, the 2FO Cliplite shoes offer some decent protection. The toebox has a large TPU guard on the leading edge that wraps way up the front of the shoe. I struck rocks several times with my toe with no adverse effects and the shoes still look new. I have gained a few scars on my ankles from the lack of protection there, but that would impede pedaling performance greatly.
A highlight of the 2FO Cliplite shoes would have to be the pedaling performance. It is outstanding. The shoes are relatively light for the level of protection and the sole is nearly as stiff as some of the carbon XC offerings out there right now. I really liked the recessed Landing Strip cleat system. When putting a foot back on the pedal unclipped, the shoes grip quite well and will let you get through awkward corners or rock gardens without fear. Plus when you’re off the bike walking around, you don’t sound like a tap dancer.
To my surprise, the shoes run on the warm side. The small panels on the toe, tongue, and ankle have breathable fabric, which did work alright however I would have liked a bit more airflow. While they did stay warm, I never felt that I was sweating profusely or had wet socks and the trade off for the extra warmth is that they’re a bit more resistant to water and moisture coming in.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Specialized 2FO Cliplite is about as good as it gets for a trail specific clipless shoe that can pull double duty on a park day. They have an ideal balance of armor, stiffness, and walking comfort that makes them the go to option for my everyday shoe. The soles offer loads of traction on hybrid pedals like the Mallet E and aren’t a pain to walk in. After the initial break in period they are like slippers and the BOA adjustment puts them over the top.
Price: $180 Weight: 391g each (w/ Crankbrothers brass cleats) Website:Specialized.com
BOA Adjustment Durable and Protective Landing Strip Pedal Efficiency
Initial Break-in Period
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