WO’s enduro test pilot Ben has been hammering the Specialized 2FO flat shoe for months now at the UK Gravity Enduro Series.
Here’s the final report after 8 months of abuse!
The Specialized 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out – get it?) are the latest offering from Specialized and are available in clipless and flat.
For flat pedal shoes, these are at the stiffer end of the spectrum, both in the sole and in their general construction. They will never feel like that old pair of slippers that you slide into without un-doing the laces, and instead they feel more purposeful and a little more refined. The upper is injection moulded, keeping the shoe smooth and designed to protect your foot whilst not absorbing loads of mud and water like some other prominent shoes on the market. In fact they absorb so little that on weekends away riding or racing I was always confident of having dry shoes to put on in the mornings. They really do dry out that quickly which is a massive bonus in my book.
The stiff sole and light weight make it a great choice for trail and enduro riders who want to pedal up the hill before hitting the black run. You get a good transfer of power with your foot sitting on the pedal rather than wrapping over the pedal as you might with softer, more flexible shoes. The ‘SlipNot’ rubber sole is plenty grippy, just not quite as sticky as the Stealth rubber used on 5.10’s riding shoes. This means that you have enough grip for most situations but can still make small adjustments to your foot position. The firm soles need to be used with aggressive pedals with decent pins; the sort that will annihilate your shins if they ever meet!
Whilst the general build quality is very high, it is the soles that have shown the heaviest wear after 8 months of pretty regular use. The sole is somewhat pitted from the pedal pins, and as I wear them so much I am doubtful that they would last much more than a year before the sole is destroyed. The main body of the shoe has a few scuffs, but is otherwise in very good condition with no signs of abrasion or deterioration in the material or stitching. In our experience that’s pretty standard life-expectancy for sticky-rubber shoes so no real complaints there.
There are some other nice features like a lace keeper to keep your laces out of your chainring. Specialized also talk about their ‘Body Geometry’ footbed that is supposed to be “ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce chance of injury by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment”. If I’m honest, I could not feel any difference between them and my other shoes except a little more arch support. As I rode up hills I was not thinking about how nicely optimized my knee alignment was! You also get two pairs of laces so you can colour coordinate if that’s your thing.
A great pair of shoes, especially for riders who pedal up rather than jump on an uplift. They may lack a bit of outright grip for pure DH riders, but the light weight, solid build and quick drying properties make them a good option for UK riding.