shoe

Specialized Women’s 2FO vs. Five Ten Freerider Contact Women’s Flat MTB shoes

In the market for a decent pair of women’s specific flat pedal mountain bike shoes? We’ve put two of the most popular head to head to see how they match up.

  • Best women’s mountain bikes: how to choose the right bike for you
  • 9 steps to your own life-changing adventure
  • How to set up the suspension on your mountain bike

Not all that long ago, any woman who wanted a set of flat pedal shoes for mountain biking had pretty limited choice. Five Ten was one of the few brands producing a women’s shoe. Now, although the choices are still pretty limited, there are at least a few more options and Specialized has been one of the few big brands to step up to the mark with its own shoe, the 2FO.

Specialized Women’s 2FO Flat Mountain Bike Shoe

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  • Price: £90 / US$130 / AU$169.95
  • Sizes: EU36 to 42
  • Colours: Indigo/hyper green and black/pink

Specialized’s contribution to the women’s flat pedal shoe market is the 2FO, with the name standing for ‘Foot Out, Flat Out’. Specialized has developed this shoe based around its Body Geometry fit system for women, and athlete and rider feedback.

We found the outer great at fending off splashes and the shoe does seem to dry quicker than the Freerider Contacts after a soaking

The sole is constructed from Specialized’s ‘SlipNot’ rubber, developed in collaboration with Specialized’s tyre lab. It’s significantly more grippy than many standard skate shoes or trainers, and the tread pattern, which is directional around the forefoot to grip pedal pins all the better, boosts this further.

An open tread pattern at the rear helps with traction when walking on slippery surfaces, and while it’s not grippy enough to start running through mud, it does pip the Freerider Contacts to the post.

  • Specialized 2FO Flat Mountain Bike Shoe review
  • www.specialized.com
  • www.evanscycles.com
  • www.cyclesurgery.com

Five Ten Freerider Contact Women’s Flat Mountain Bike Shoe

  • Price: £110 / US$150 / AU$TBC
  • Sizes: UK 2.5 to 8.5
  • Colours: Shock green/onyx and maroon/grey
Another fatigue fighting feature is the reinforced sole, which is stiffer than other models and does help keep the foot supported on longer rides
  • Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes review
  • www.fiveten.com
  • www.leisurelakesbikes.com
  • www.stif.co.uk

Specialized Women’s 2FO vs. Five Ten Freerider Contact verdict

The Specialized 2FOs were my choice for a week of riding in soggy and cold Iceland, and I broke out the Freerider Contacts for my regular trails

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Giant wants to outfit you head to toe in 2017

The biggest news for Giant’s 2017 range has already trickled through with the updated XC mountain bikes, and new TCR Disc, but the brand is also continuing its push into the parts and accessories business as well.

At their Australian showcase this week on the Gold Coast, Giant and its women’s brand Liv had a few notable pieces of kit on display, including new helmets, shoes, an air canister for tubeless tyres and more. At the time of writing we’ve not yet been provided with pricing – we’ll update as more information comes to light.

  • Giant adds thru-axle discs and tubeless to TCR Advanced line
  • Giant refines and updates 2017 XC mountain bikes

New Giant shoes

Flow/Valora XC mountain bike shoes

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Giant has just announced new range-topping XC mountain bike shoes: the Flow for the men, and the Liv Valora for the women.

Both shoes feature what Giant is calling ExoFlex technology, which allows the toe area to flex independently of the rest of the shoe. The idea is that when running or walking up a section of trail, the shoe will flex more naturally for added comfort, better traction and less heel slip.

The seamless upper is rubbery to the touch and should stand up to a fair bit of abuse, and with the whole shoe being perforated it should vent well too.

Orbit casual shoes

New Giant helmets

Liv Extima road helmet

  • Light, airy and fast: New Giant Pursuit aero helmet

Roost/Coveta trail helmets

Compel commuter helmet

Also in Giant’s 2017 clothing and accessories range

Control Tank air canister

Giant 2017 bike clothing

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

O’Neal Stinger II

The Stinger IIs use O’Neal’s own Honey Stinger rubber for a decently grippy sole, but their more casual looks belie the fact that they’re definitely based on a more traditional skate-style shoe rather than their more technical, bike specific rivals.

They have a relatively narrow overall fit which is great for slimmer slipper lovers, but that’s bolstered by the fact that the mid section of the shoe is usefully wide, giving decent enough support on the pedal. Compared to many other mountain bike specific shoes on the market, there is definitely much more overall flex in the shank however. That means the shoe is really comfy off the bike, something that matches up perfectly with their BMX/skate style looks. 

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While the rubber is grippy enough, it’s not especially tacky. While the the honeycomb tread pattern hooks up well with pedal pins, it doesn’t offer particularly good traction off the bike or in deeper mud. The rather flexy sole means that although you get great feel, pedalling efficiency isn’t particularly good. Add in a rather broad heel cup that allows a lot of lift to waste your energy and it means they’re not the shoes you’ll want to use on a longer distance ride.

The shoe itself has plenty of padding which makes them super comfy, but also soaks up water despite the moderately weatherproof outer. There’s not much in the way of toe protection either, so hard strikes onto rocks are more likely to leave your toes worse for wear. If you keep yourself mostly to the bike (or skate) park then they’re decent enough, but for mountain use there are better options.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Giro Terraduro review

Giro’s Terraduro is aimed squarely at the growing enduro race market, but you don’t have to have run a number plate on your trail bike to appreciate a shoe that balances on-the-bike performance with just enough flex to make it comfortable for the inevitable hike-a-bike sections that come with big mountain riding.

  • Highs: Comfortable on and off the bike; excellent traction in most conditions
  • Lows: Vibram rubber outsole delaminates from the shank; not the quickest drying shoe due to a thick, padded tongue

The good

The fit of the Terraduro good; it’s neither notably wide nor too skinny for most. The toe box does have slightly more room than comparable Giro models such as the Code and Privateer, though not to the extent as the company’s HV (high volume) versions. There’s just enough breathing room to keep your little piggies protected when your shoes kisses a rock.? ??

Two Velcro straps and a replaceable ratcheting buckle provide adjustments, while scuff-resistant panels on the toebox and sides have withstood numerous encounters with stubborn rocks that refused to yield the trail. The padded tongue is thick and comfortable, however it takes a long time to dry out, should you dunk your feet during creek crossings.

The Terraduro uses a nylon shank that’s stiff through the midsole and has a built in flex zone in the forefoot that make it significantly easier to walk it than carbon-soled shoes.

The Vibram Mont rubber lugs are a welcome change from the hard plastic tread still found on many clipless mountain bike shoes. This tread provides ample traction when dabbing or scrambling up rocks. The rubber even holds its own on slimy roots.

The sturdy upper and Vibram rubber outsole add a bit of weight — our size 41 Terraduros weighed in at 420g — when compare to carbon-soled race slippers such as Giro’s own 315g Empire VR 90. This is an acceptable trade-off for such a well-rounded shoe.

The toebox and sides of the shoe are lightly armored: the toebox and sides of the shoe are lightly armored

While marketed at enduro racers, we found the Terraduro to be a great option for general trail riding as well as bike-packing. We would wholeheartedly recommend it as the ultimate clipless mountain bike shoe for everything short of cross-country and downhill racing had our Terraduros not met such an untimely demise.

The bad

The Terraduro was designed for the rough and tumble world to enduro racing, so it should be exceedingly durable, right? Unfortunately, during one particularly long hike-a-bike section, the rubber outsoles on both shoes began to tear and pull away from the shank. To make sure this wasn’t just an anomaly, we picked up a second pair and experienced the same issue in short order.

While we thought the terraduro's performance was excellent, we experienced delamination issues with two pairs : while we thought the terraduro's performance was excellent, we experienced delamination issues with two pairs Delamination issues stopped us dead in our tracks

According to Giro shoe product manager Simon Fisher, the problem began with the first production run. The wrong combination of primer and glue was used, which resulted in poor bonding between the Vibram rubber outsole and the nylon shank, causing the tread to separate from the rest of the shoe.

This is a massive disappointment for an otherwise outstanding shoe. To Giro’s credit, the company is doing its best to get out ahead of the problem and take care of Terraduro owners.

“We’ve redoubled out efforts to make sure this never happens again,” said Fisher.

Giro has set up this web page to help Terraduro owners.

Terraduro owners can check for a datestamp printed beneath the insole. if a datestamp is present, users shouldn't have to worry about delamination issues, giro claims: terraduro owners can check for a datestamp printed beneath the insole. if a datestamp is present, users shouldn't have to worry about delamination issues, giro claims

According to Giro, if there is a date code, the shoes were produced to the correct manufacturing specifications. If there is no date code, the Terraduro shoes were not properly constructed and need to be warrantied

Verdict

Giro has sent us a new pair of Terraduros. We will amend this review if they pass muster.?








Giro Alpineduro shoes – first look

Is it a low-cut hiking boot you can bike in, or a lace-up biking shoe you can hike in? Giro’s new waterproof Alpineduro shoe blends the lace-up style the brand has pushed on the road with Empire models with a design that could work on the mountain bike or the winter commute.

Giro has yet to publish any information on its site, but here is the information we have gleaned about the US$180/€180 shoe (UK and AU pricing have not been announced.)

For starters, a size 45 weighs 555g. The soft, grippy Vibram Icetrek sole undoubtedly adds walking comfort and subtantial traction, with some heft to go along with it.

As with the Empire road shoes, the laces come with an elastic band at the center of the tongue for securing excess length after tying.

Giro alpinenduro mountain bike shoes blend hiking boots with mtb footwear:

In addition to five loops with reflective elements on the lower foot, the ankle features two metal loops per side, reminiscent of Vasque hiking boots.

The synthetic upper has a waterproof liner with PrimaLoft insulation. The toe and heel have scuff guards.?

A stiff shank makes the shoe pedaling-friendly, and the front of the shoe is a bit more flexible for walking.

The footbed has an X-Static anti-microbial treatment with a heat-retaining foil layer.

The Giro Alpineduro comes in whole sizes only, from 37-48.








Giro Alpinenduro shoes – first look

Is it a low-cut hiking boot you can bike in, or a lace-up biking shoe you can hike in? Giro’s new waterproof Alpinenduro shoe blends the lace-up style the brand has pushed on the road with Empire models with a design that could work on the mountain bike or the winter commute.

Giro has yet to publish any information on its site, but here is the information we have gleaned about the US$180/€180 shoe (UK and AU pricing have not been announced.)

For starters, a size 45 weighs 555g. The soft, grippy Vibram Icetrek sole undoubtedly adds walking comfort and subtantial traction, with some heft to go along with it.

As with the Empire road shoes, the laces come with an elastic band at the center of the tongue for securing excess length after tying.

Giro alpinenduro mountain bike shoes blend hiking boots with mtb footwear:

In addition to five loops with reflective elements on the lower foot, the ankle features two metal loops per side, reminiscent of Vasque hiking boots.

The synthetic upper has a waterproof liner with PrimaLoft insulation. The toe and heel have scuff guards.?

A stiff shank makes the shoe pedaling-friendly, and the front of the shoe is a bit more flexible for walking.

The footbed has an X-Static anti-microbial treatment with a heat-retaining foil layer.

The Giro Alpinenduro comes in whole sizes only, from 37-48.








Shimano SH-XC70 mountain bike shoe review

Although Shimano’s top-end SH-XC90 shoes seem to draw all of the marketing attention, it’s the second-tier XC70 model that have really attracted our eyes, packing most of the performance of the flagship model but at a significantly lower cost. Unless your feet absolutely need the custom mouldability of the XC90s, these should be all the shoe any cross-country (or cyclocross) rider will ever need.

  • Highs: Great fit, very stiff carbon fibre reinforced sole, heat mouldable insole
  • Lows: Non-heat mouldable uppers, tread material is too hard
  • Buy if: You’re a dedicated XC rider with normally shaped feet and don’t plan on doing much walking

It’s generally wise not to use relatively untested gear in a mountain bike race – in particular, one that’s 111km (69mi) long with more than 2,100m (7,000ft) of climbing. And there are few pieces of gear to which that rule is more applicable than shoes… and yet that’s just what we did. While we had all sorts of aches and pains after crossing the finishing line, our feet were impressively cosy and have stayed that way for every ride since.

The shimano sh-xc70 shoes lack the heat moldable uppers of the top-end xc90 model but provided your feet are fairly typically shaped, these should work well: the shimano sh-xc70 shoes lack the heat moldable uppers of the top-end xc90 model but provided your feet are fairly typically shaped, these should work well

Even without the heat mouldable uppers of their more expensive SH-XC90 cousin, Shimano’s SH-XC70 shoes proved to be wonderfully comfortable

We didn’t really notice the reduction in foot fatigue that Shimano claims with the new, flatter Dynalast shape, but the roomier toe box left ample room for our little piggies to wiggle around. Further back, though, the well-shaped synthetic leather uppers wrap tightly with their cleverly reversed middle straps (something Alberto Contador used to have done on his custom Sidis), ratcheting main buckles, and deep heel cups.

Despite the very secure hold, the feel was very evenly and pleasantly snug, with no pressure points to pinch or rough interior seams to irritate. Should you need them, Shimano makes the XC70s in a wide fit, too.

The XC70 shoes are built with abbreviated carbon fibre reinforcing plates in the midsoles rather than the full-length plates in the XC90. Whatever difference in stiffness that results is slight at best, as we still found the XC70s to be plenty stout. Moreover, there’s essentially no weight penalty. Shimano’s own specs put the XC70 just 5g behind per pair. We weighed our size 43s at a good – though not fantastic – 730g including the heat mouldable insoles.

The tread is more generous than the xc90 model but make no mistake - these are best used for pedaling, not walking. the tread material is quite hard and slippery on rocks and roots. there is, however, a rubber coating in the middle to provide a bit of purchase should you miss your pedal: the tread is more generous than the xc90 model but make no mistake - these are best used for pedaling, not walking. the tread material is quite hard and slippery on rocks and roots. there is, however, a rubber coating in the middle to provide a bit of purchase should you miss your pedal

Real carbon fibre is only used under the cleat area but the shoes are still amply stiff for everyday cross-country riding

Shimano graces the XC70s with a more generous tread than the XC90 although, as with any stiff-soled mountain bike shoe, walking is best left to short stints – and the shorter, the better. The cat’s-tongue lining in the heel cup also keeps the backs of your feet from pulling out of the shoe when trudging uphill (without wearing holes in your socks or creating blisters) but the tread blocks themselves are still awfully hard. Grip is pretty good on softer surfaces but scrambling on rocks and roots can be a little treacherous.

We’ve noticed slightly faster-than-expected wear on the tread (which is non-replaceable) but the uppers have been holding up quite well otherwise, particularly with the light armouring built around the toe box. Past experience has demonstrated excellent overall durability with Shimano footwear, too.

The plastic cap provides some protection for your toes while also boasting a legitimately effective vent right up front. additional light armoring is built in a little further back: the plastic cap provides some protection for your toes while also boasting a legitimately effective vent right up front. additional light armoring is built in a little further back

There’s light armouring around the toe box to protect your feet from minor impacts. The vent in the front of the shoe is legitimately functional

All that said, the XC70 shoes are clearly intended primarily for pedalling, not walking, and in that context there’s little to complain about. Though perhaps a bit pricey, they’re very comfortable, they’re well built, and unless you’re planning on spending a lot of time on foot in rocky conditions, should last for several seasons.








How to fit cleats to road bike shoes – video

Clipless pedals are an essential component of modern road bikes. They enable more efficient pedalling? by allowing you to pull up as well as pushing down on the pedals. To use them, you also need to fit appropriate cleats to your shoes.

Clipless pedals usually come with the relevant cleats, but you need to ensure the shoes are compatible with the pedal system you are using. Shimano SPD SLs, which we’re using to demonstrate the process, have three bolts, but other systems will differ.

Shimano makes three types of cleat, and helpfully they’re colour-coded to show the amount of ‘float’ each has. Float is the movement the cleat will allow while remaining clipped to the pedal.

Red pedals have zero float, so don’t allow any movement.? Blue will allow two degrees of movement and yellow, six degrees. Most new pedals come with yellow cleats, which are perfect for beginners.

Other manufactures have similar systems so check before you buy.

Also read: How to fit cleats to mountain bike shoes

What you need

  • Hex keys
  • Grease or thread lock
  • Clipless compatible shoes
  • Cleats (usually included with pedals)
  • A pen and some tape

What to do

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Video: How to fit road bike cleats

This video is part of the BikeRadar YouTube channel’s Park Tool Maintenance Monday series. Park Tool products are available from various dealers across the UK.

Fit your cleats

Before fitting the cleat to the shoe, put some grease or thread lock (preferably) onto the thread of the cleat bolt to stop it seizing in place.

Loosely fit the cleats to the shoes – position the cleat so it’s under the ball of your foot. The angle of the cleat should match the natural standing position of your foot – to get an idea of this, stand naturally and assume a riding position – if your feet point out you should set the cleat position to match. You don’t need to be too extreme with the angle so if you’re unsure, set them towards the middle of the shoe and you can tweak them later.

You need to make sure your cleats are compatible with your shoes : you need to make sure your cleats are compatible with your shoes

Tighten the bolts one by one – when the first starts to feel tight, stop turning it and tighten the next . You will need to tighten as a trio – so move between bolts until they are firm.

Fit yourself

Put on the shoes and swing a leg over the bike and clip your foot into the pedal. While leaning against a wall or solid object, clip the other foot into the pedal. Give the cranks a few backwards turns to check the cleat position is still comfortable and that your shoes aren’t rubbing the frame or cranks – if they are, you’ll need to repeat the previous step and readjust accordingly.

After you've fit your pedals, make sure you fit yourself: after you've fit your pedals, make sure you fit yourself

Before you take the bike for a ride, practise clipping in and out of the pedals. Twisting your heel out is the best way to release them.

If you need to fit the pedals too, have a look at our workshop.


Specialized launches gravity shoes

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.

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 ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: 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

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.

By keeping the tread tightly packed in the pedal contact area, traction is increased. the deeper, wider spread tread at the heel and toe helps to increase off-the-bike grip when hiking a trail ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: by keeping the tread tightly packed in the pedal contact area, traction is increased. the deeper, wider spread tread at the heel and toe helps to increase off-the-bike grip when hiking a trail

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. the black area is a firmer compound with a much shallower tread. this has been dubbed the ‘landing strip’ and is designed to make clipping back in far easier ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: the clipless soles use two different rubber compounds and tread patterns. the black area is a firmer compound with a much shallower tread. this has been dubbed the ‘landing strip’ and is designed to make clipping back in far easier

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.

Initial impressions

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.?

Specialized uses a different compound of its slipnot rubber on the clipless version of the 2fo shoe, but both the flat and clipless shoes receive the same uppers which use a quick drying, toughened mesh ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: specialized uses a different compound of its slipnot rubber on the clipless version of the 2fo shoe, but both the flat and clipless shoes receive the same uppers which use a quick drying, toughened mesh

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.


Specialized launches gravity shoes

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.

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 ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: 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

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.

By keeping the tread tightly packed in the pedal contact area, traction is increased. the deeper, wider spread tread at the heel and toe helps to increase off-the-bike grip when hiking a trail ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: by keeping the tread tightly packed in the pedal contact area, traction is increased. the deeper, wider spread tread at the heel and toe helps to increase off-the-bike grip when hiking a trail

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. the black area is a firmer compound with a much shallower tread. this has been dubbed the ‘landing strip’ and is designed to make clipping back in far easier ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: the clipless soles use two different rubber compounds and tread patterns. the black area is a firmer compound with a much shallower tread. this has been dubbed the ‘landing strip’ and is designed to make clipping back in far easier

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.

Initial impressions

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.?

Specialized uses a different compound of its slipnot rubber on the clipless version of the 2fo shoe, but both the flat and clipless shoes receive the same uppers which use a quick drying, toughened mesh ... shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.: specialized uses a different compound of its slipnot rubber on the clipless version of the 2fo shoe, but both the flat and clipless shoes receive the same uppers which use a quick drying, toughened mesh

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.