Specialized 2FO Cliplite MTB Shoe Review: Is It Worth It?
Fact: This shoe is specifically made for mountain biking. That means you wear this shoe when you are with your mountain bike, in the wilderness/ jungle/ mountain/ nature enjoying the great outdoors, cycling.
Valleybikes History of the Mountain Bike Shoe
Back when we started riding the mountain bike more than a decade ago, our designated riding shoe was an outdoor “mountain climbing” shoe. We were fond of Nike ACG (All Conditions Gear) due to its new age hiking designs so that was our outdoors-go-to-shoe. The knobby protruding rubber spikes provided mud traction plus the padded protection was a plus when roughing it out.
Being waterproof/ quickdry was a plus, and the durability and comfort were also considered in using these outdoor specific rubber shoes when biking in the mountains. When we crossed the rivers, or go through mud, these tough shoes could withstand the rigors of nature.
Slowly, the biker factor dictated on the kind of shoes to use when going cycling. We started considering the bike’s pedals and how the Vans waffle sole design complemented the gritty pedals. These Vans soles were the yin of the pedal’s yang. They were built for each other. So Vans it was. For years, the bike shoe to use was Vans. It was tough, comfortable and dependable. The soles of the Rowley were stitched on the upper part so the shoe survived the rigors of mountain biking. It dutifully went through mud, river crossings and whatever we encountered.
Years of mountain biking and riding flat pedals finally led us to shift to clipped when Enduro riders and downhill bikers wore the 510 MTB specific shoes. Greg Minaar wore 510s with clips and still showed maximum control swayed us to buy ’em 510s. They looked and felt like Vans, plus it was suppose to give you additional climbing strength.
Everything is true.
Shoes that are clipped to pedals give you super human abilities to climb better on a mountain bike. (but that is another article)
I loved my 510 Greg Minaar. It was sturdy, tough, well protected, and everything I ever wanted on a mountain bike shoe was there. You can even hang out in the mall and rock them 510s.
I was really happy and proud of my mountain bike shoe.
Then wear and tear occurred and I had to find the worthy successor for the 510. We were keeping our eyes open and observing the trend on what is the next best MTB shoe.
Then the Specialized 2FO Cliplite MTB shoe fell from heaven.
Just when I thought that 510 has reached the MTB shoe epitome, the 2FO happened.
Foot out, Flat out. that is 2FO in Specialized jargon. Years of research and development have peaked on this. This is the most current mountain bike shoe that is aesthetically worthy to be in the limelight. The design is simple enough yet iconic at the same time following cues from their line of bike shoes plus mixing it with the latest fly swag from the street. The double disc tightening system (boa dials) is way ahead of its time but expect it to go mainstream soon enough.
It is comfortable for cycling use, sturdy enough at the right areas where the shoe should be reinforced. The sole has a certain “ooomf” in it that is standard in Specialized cycling shoes.
I installed the Shimano SPD multi release cleats so that it is easy to engage and disengage to and from my Shimano pedals. There is a local joke about the SPD cleats: “Mahatching ka lang, tanggal!” (If you sneeze, you disengage!)
It took me a while to actually write this article after I got the 2FO. I observed my riding pace and used it for short rides, trail rides, and used it on the last epic ride. It is a comfortable shoe to live in if your bike time is devoted to pedaling. This is the shoe that you should own/have/use when it is a biking day in the mountain. Lots of climbs and technical stuff, plus river crossings, add mud—- the 2FO can take ’em.
It is pretty enough to rock and still built tough. The support and comfort of the shoe is not optimal, but it is comparable to the hiking/outdoor shoes I used to have. With my Nike ACG before, I didn’t care what happened to the shoe. I was confident that it can very well go through anything. So far, I’ve seen the 2FO go through the usual stress, and it holds. Did NOT break.
The wheel (Boa dials)
The tightening and loosening wheels of the 2FO scream bike shoe for all its worth. I have yet to see this tech in street brands and I think the 2FO will set the trend. Having the 2FO is like having an iconic shoe which transcends from a bike shoe to a hang back shoe. (510 holds the crown now for having design cues of a skateshoe which you can aesthetically/technically use in the mall) I used the 2FO for work and nobody mentioned that I was wearing a bike shoe. (Except one biker friend who said “hi” in the elevator and asked if I biked to work today, I said yes. Maybe he noticed my 2FO.) My point is: If skate shoes dominated the street culture and dictated brands to create skate shoes, then I think it is about time to dominate the street culture as well and put the design cues of a proper bike shoe in a lot of shoes as well. The “wheel”/Boa dial is very innovative and it has been in existence for years already, so I am guessing we shall see this in a lot of future shoe designs, Specialized or not.
Props to Specialized for doing this. This may be as iconic as the Nike Airforce One. Especially now that they are coming up with lots of colorways for the 2FO.
Fit for outdoors? Check.
Won’t slip in the mud? Check.
SPD cleats friendly? Yes! When you try to engage on the pedal, the natural groove of the sole helps in shooting the cleats to the metal.
The SlipNot sole is hard enough to endure the trials of pedaling and mashing it down and pulling the cranks with all your leg muscles. Due to the stiff areas (which Specialized researched) of the sole, the pedal efficiency translates to the extra power and super human strength the shoe brings to the wearer.
Fit for Hypebeast?
Bike messengers became a subculture all together due to the fixed gear phenomena. Trends from the street became mainstream due to the coolness factor from the underground. This shoe can very well stand out from the pack and become iconic if the mavens start picking it up. But this shoe doesn’t come cheap. Due to the research and development, and over-all performance of this Specialized shoe, one has to pay a premium to rock one. Yet of course, that sometimes becomes an advantage for some because they feel that if the price point is slightly higher than the average, it sets the item above others. So my opinion if the 2FO is Hypebeast worthy, yes it is.
There is a anecdote among close friends that biking is a really tiring activity. You have to endure the heat, the grueling climb, and all the hardships of cycling. So in those trying times when we are about to quit biking, we just joke among ourselves that at least we look good in our photographs. Our reward is to have that picture up in the mountain with our bike, proud and smiling. Of course, you should look your best. The running gag is: “If you cannot perform, Japorm!” People don’t know how long it took for you to climb that peak, as long as you reach the top and you got your swag on, that is good enough for social media! So what better shoe to wear in that precious social media post?
You better recognize!
If you are in the market for a serious mountain bike shoe which you will wear when you go riding, the Specialized 2FO Cliplite MTB Shoe is the kicks for you. The 2FO is specially made you special folks who want a MTB specific footwear. It is sturdy and stiff, but from that, you get the super human powers that give you that extra boost when climbing and make you “one with the bike”.
Make that investment now. It is worth it.
More info on the product:
Specialized 2FO Cliplite MTB Shoe