Specialized’s Cliplite range of shoes has long been popular with our testers, however this time I'm not 100 percent convinced laces do the rest of the shoe justice.
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Ignoring that for now, the shoe is really light, and feels thus on the foot. The sole is also a great compromise between stiffness and feel, with a cleat channel that extends really far back for excellent control on technical terrain.
There’s not masses of off-the-bike grip, but enough that you’re not skating around like Bambi, and should you miss engaging with the pedal, you’ll get away with sticking your foot on top.
I found the upper around the ankle a little stiff, especially to start, and I’d like a bit more ankle protection too. As such, I found it rubbed a bit, but eventually started to soften up. The insole uses Specialized’s Body Geometry shaping, which I found to be very comfortable all day.
The laces are controversial though, especially with winter testing. Getting the shoe open enough to slip my feet in means a lot of threading laces through holes, and to get it tight enough over the top of the foot for effective pedalling is a bit of a hassle. They also get caked in mud because there’s no mud flap to protect them.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.