Specialized Clipless 2FO MTB Shoes
This past October, I went to Moab, Utah, to ride for the first time and to attend a summit for women in the cycling industry, hosted by SRAM. In a group of 30+ women, I constantly found myself in awe of the comfort and the ease at which we all interacted. It felt much more like being in a group of friends from high school than it felt like like being in the midst of the women who had helped to define the cycling industry. I vowed to turn myself into a sponge and to observe and absorb as much as I could while I was in this unique position.
One thing I couldn’t help but notice was that at least half - yes, more than 50% - of the women I was riding with for our Whole Enchilada shuttle were wearing the Specialized Clipless 2FO shoe, including myself. In a group this large, these shoes began to look like a shred uniform. And I couldn’t help but giggle to myself at how well I’d managed to disguise myself and fit into this group (me, living with a semi-permanent case of impostors syndrome).
In talking with a few of these women, the overall consensus was that for a riding shoe that’s focused on comfort, these were easily and without exception, the most high-performing long-distance shoe on the market.
The sizing on the 2FO shoes run a little narrow to begin with, so if you are a wide-footed like me, go for the men’s version. This is a trick that a lot of the women with me in Moab had also pulled.
The double BOA ratchet-tightening mechanisms ensure a good snug fit throughout your ride, without any slip. I personally like the fact that, as my foot moves around in the shoe and gets situated, I can always reach down and turn the knob on the BOAs to tighten my shoes without having to get off my bike and re-tie or re-adjust.
At one point earlier this year, while I was riding aggressive trail in my 2FOs, I found myself riding next to a loose dog on trail, who had run up from behind me and chose the same line while I was cornering on a steep and tight root-filled section of trail. In order to avoid running over the dog, I bailed off my bike and ended up cracking one of my BOAs off on a root. I was able to finish my ride (the other BOA on the shoe remained in tact) and I sent a warranty request that same day. In 5 days time, a pair of brand new BOAs showed up at my doorstep. The lifetime warranty that comes with the most sophisticated but convenient aspect of the shoe is a pretty big deal if you ask me.
The rubber on the bottom of the shoe is sticky. They withstood the test of multiple steep, slick-rock, hike-a-bike sections for me on the Whole Enchilada (aka the Snotch). The outside of the shoe is pretty durable. Mine, however, after roughly 2,000 miles of singletrack riding, look pretty beat up, but are still 100% functional.
The material that comprises the upper of the shoe is bonded using heat treatment so that, in years to come, you won’t need new shoes due to loose threads or panels. The material will never get caught on loose debris or brush and the shoe remains wearable for as long as you can shred it.
Both the heel of the shoe and the toe box are really well protected and sturdy, spacious yet stiff, and comfortable without locking you into an aggressive position.
The sole’s EVA™ padding make this shoe incredibly comfortable for every day wear, thus I opt for these shoes on bikepacking trips or destination rides, or when I know I may be in the shoes for hours walking around or exploring. I enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the ‘Landing Strip’ recession in the cleat, allowing perfect alignment between my cleats and my Shimano pedals every time.
All in all, these are the best riding shoes I’ve ever owned. My close friends and I affectionately refer to the 2FOs as ‘favorite shoes’ because hours after getting home from a ride, I will have neglected to take them off simply because I have forgotten that they were on. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a pair!