The 2FO ClipLites are Specialized’s ‘hybrid’ trail riding/enduro racing shoes, designed to balance cross-country style pedalling efficiency with the flexible, feedback-rich feel needed for downhill riding.
Just like on Spesh’s top-tier XC footwear, twin indexed Boa dials and a single Velcro strap keep them secure, with almost perfect tension across the top of the foot. Because the S2-Snap dials don’t feature the ‘pop up to loosen off’ mechanism of some Boa designs (which does slow the removal process a little, because they need to be unwound), there’s no chance of accidently knocking one and it loosening off on the trail.
The sturdy upper gets additional padding on the inside of the ankle to help with those all-too-frequent (and annoyingly painful) knocks, while there’s enough additional rubber around the toe box to ward off some pretty hefty rock strikes.
When it comes to the sole, many similarities can be drawn with Specialized’s more gravity-orientated 2FO Clipless shoes. Lengthy cleat slots make it easy to achieve a downhill-like rearward cleat position, and the slotted, low-profile tread around the cleat pocket ensures clipping in is interference free and extremely easy, even on bigger platform-style clipless pedals with pins. At the toe and around the heel, Specialized has added a bit more depth to the tread and used its ‘SlipNot’ rubber compound for better off-the-bike purchase. This also helps should you sit your foot on the pedal without clipping in.
The ClipLites have a relatively snug fit and those with particularly wide feet should definitely try a pair on before buying. They’re pretty stiff, but do offer a bit more give than similar ‘hybrid’ shoes such as Five Ten’s Kestrels.
Hitting the climbs, we appreciated the pedalling stiffness, but did fear that our feet might be in for a battering on the descents. Fortunately the ClipLites remained comfy throughout testing, whether on cross-country slogs or blatting down rough downhill tracks. While power delivery always felt really positive, so too did the amount of feedback we could feel through the sole, which is a big plus when you’re dabbing feet here and there and needing to clip back in quickly.
Off the bike they’re reasonably comfy, but they’re not the most flexible shoes so you wouldn’t want to hike in them for hours. They fared well in some pretty grotty conditions during testing, and although they’ll only shrug off a shower or a few deep puddle splashes before you feel your socks getting damp, they dry quickly. At 435g (per size 43 shoe) they’re a reasonable weight too.