Specialized has introduced two new mountain bike shoes designed for gravity riding.
The new 2FO – which is derived from ‘foot out, flat out’ – shoes are aimed squarely at all mountain and downhill riders, with a big focus on pedal connectivity, rider comfort and protection. There are flat and clipless specific shoes, with three different colours to choose from in each. Here’s what you need to know:
- Specialized developers worked alongside the firm's tyre department to create the ‘Slipnot’ rubber compound used on the soles of both the new flat and clipless footwear. The two types of shoe use slightly different compounds to suit the differing demands placed upon them.
- To help keep the 2FP shoes from overheating and prevent them getting waterlogged, Specialized opted to use an air mesh material in upper and tongue construction. According to Specialized, this material not only dries quickly – it’s breathable too.
- The injection moulded toe bumper does a good job of fending off toe strikes from rocks and other trail debris. Over the forefoot sits an anti-tear polyurethane coated mesh to keep the air flowing through the show without losing out on durability.
- The inner side of the 2FO shoes is raised around the ankle to protect from crank rub or clipping the chainstays.
- Inside the 2FO shoe, the Body Geometry foot beds ensure fit is spot on and comfortable.
- Both shoes also receive a small elasticated lace tuck loop called the ‘Lacelock’ on the tongue to keep the laces stashed out of the way. As there’s no Velcro strap crossing the shoe, it was felt some kind of lace retention was a good move.
Check out more of our Specialized 2015 coverage.
The small piece of elastic you can see poking through the laces is the ‘Lacelock’ – this neat little feature lets you stash you laces out of the way
2FO flat shoes
Specialized’s Matt Hunter was instrumental in the development of the new 2FO flat pedal shoe. The shoe gets a sole rubber compound focused on grip and durability, and featuring a tightly packed tread around the ‘pedal zone’ for a better connection with the pedal.
Alongside that ‘pedal zone’ tread on the flat pedal version of the 2FO’s is the more prominent, more widely spaced tread around the toe and heel area to help boost traction when walking sections of trail of the bike. The tread pattern is actually angled in a bid to boost pin-to-sole traction when the riding with your heels dropped.
Tightly packed tread in the pedal contact area increases traction. The deeper, wider spread tread at the heel and toe improves off-the-bike grip when hiking a trail
By tuning the shoe’s shank, Specialized was able to tailor how the shoe effectively interacts with the pedal. The here was to create good pedal feel through the midfoot without the things feeling too soft, avoiding power loss when cranking on the pedals and keeping things relatively efficient.
Specialized claims a size 42 flat 2FO shoe weighs 395g and will set you back US$130 / £/AU$TBC for the pair.
2FO clipless shoes
The clipless 2FO shoe uses a dual durometer Slipnot sole, with firmer compound and a lower profile tread pattern around the cleat cut-out, known as the ‘Landing Strip’. The idea here is to help guide the riders’ foot back into the pedal as easily as possible so getting clipped back in is far less of a faff.
The clipless soles use two different rubber compounds and tread patterns
Cleat slots have been shifted further back towards the midfoot, and extended an additional 4mm backwards (known by Specialized as Body Geometry Neutral), making them more suited to downhill and all mountain riding and allowing for a more neutral stance once engaged in the pedals.
To keep pedalling efficient while still allowing for better flexibility when walking off the bike, the clipless shoes use a three quarter nylon plate in the ‘pedalling zone’ - dubbed the ‘Lollipop’ - of the shoe which is dropped into the EVA sole. This also the shoe to protect the foot from impacts.
Specialized claims a size 42 clipless 2FO shoe weighs 450g and will set you back US$150 / £/AU$TBC for the pair.
We spent six days stinking out the clipless 2FO shoes in and around the trails of Hood River, Oregon, and were impressed with the comfort on offer. Clipping in and out of our Crank Brothers DH pedals was an easy enough affair, and we never left struggling to get our feet clipped back in after awkward dabs in challenging terrain.
Both the flat and clipless shoes receive the same uppers which use a quick drying, toughened mesh
After playing around with a couple of different Body Geometry insoles, we settled on the standard sole that comes with the shoe, finding this offered just the right amount of support.
We’ve not yet given them a soaking or subjected them to any really grotty rides – but will keep you updated with a full review later in the year.