|As mountain biking progresses it seems as if what you wear is almost as important as what you ride. And with bike technology advancing at a rapid pace it only makes sense that riding accessories and clothing follow suit. If you have been mountain biking for a long time I'm sure you remember using your tennis shoes or hiking boots as your biking shoes. Well those days are long gone and now it's all about having the right kind of shoe for the right kind of pedal for the right kind of bike... and so on.||
When it comes to mountain bike shoes there are pretty much 2 kinds to choose from, clipless and flat. Clipless shoes will have the cleat built in so it will attach to your clipless pedals and yes clipless sounds like the opposite of what they really are. There are also flat pedal shoes which are meant for riding with shoes that not attached to the pedal. And of course there are more than enough brands and styles to choose from for both types.
As you may (or should) know, Specialized is one of the top mountain bike manufactures in the world and they also make a wide variety of biking accessories. Now they have a new show called the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) which are designed for flat pedals. They also have the same model for clipless pedals but we will be reviewing the flat version.
The goal for Specialized with their 2FO shoe was to make a shoe that was light, comfortable, sturdy, water resistant and had great grip for flat pedals. From what we have experienced so far it seems as if they were able to accomplish their goals. They were able to do this by creating a shoe that grips the pedal very well thanks to their SlipNot rubber sole that has different patterns on the front and rear to help with grip and traction. The molded anti tear toe kick offers protection from things like rocks and roots while the high side cuff offers protection for at the top of the shoe. The mesh upper and tongue allows for breathability and water shedding. Even their Lacelock elastic laces are designed to keep the shoe tied in rough conditions. And at around 400g they are pretty light for a mountain bike shoe.
As for our test they performed quite well offering very good grip on the pedals. Keep in mind that the pedal you use them with will have a big impact on how well they grip. As you will find in other reviews the 2FO shoes do not grip as well as the 510 shoes but they are close. You can say that the 2FO shoes grip as well as a worn in pair of 510s.
As for comfort these shoes are something you can wear for long periods of time on and off the bike. They are light so you don't feel like you are clunking around while walking. We did notice that the top cuff on the shoe can rub a little on your ankle while walking but that may vary from person to person and should get better as they are worn in. When it comes to hiking your bike up the steep hills they do the job just fine. One thing we noticed is that we had to go almost a whole size bigger than normal to get a good fit. We tried a 10.25 and ended up going with an 11.0 to get the right fit. These are sized using the European standard first and then the U.S. so that could be the reason why. They also can be a little hard to get on since they are pretty form fitting. We found you have to loosen up the laces quite a bit to get them on.
The Lacelock shoelaces work very well but did come untied a couple of times while riding. But compared to the 510s we compared them too it's night and day since we had to double knot the 510s to keep them tied. Depending on what color shoe you get they will come with additional laces in case you don't like the color. We got the all black version and it came with light blue laces on the shoes but then also came with a set of black laces so we could swap them out if needed.
The 2FOs come with a sole insert which you can remove if you like to use your own or may even be able to be replaced. As for durability we think they will hold up fine even though we haven't given them a thorough beating yet. The materials are well made and cleanup is easy if you get into some mud or are into keeping your shoes clean.
To get your hands... or feet on a pair of the 2FO shoes it will set you back $130 and you will either need to get them off the Specialized website or through a Specialized dealer. Since the sizing may be a little tricky you may want to go through a dealer and let them send them back if they don't fit otherwise you are responsible for the shipping. Our turnaround time was very fast when we had to do an exchange. So if you are looking for something better than your current riding shoe or even your first pair of riding shoes you should give the Specialized 2FO shoes a try.