In Issue #115 of Singletrack Magazine, Mark tested, reviewed and recommended the new 2FO 2.0 flat pedal shoes from Specialized
A good flat shoe asks the impossible. You want efficient power transfer, which points towards a super-stiff sole, but you also want flexibility to allow the shoes to grip and to mould around the pedal. Go too soft and you sacrifice long ride comfort and efficiency. Too stiff and you lose the feel of the pedal underfoot. Then there’s the practicality of actually walking around and pushing your bike.
Specialized’s previous incarnation of the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) was probably too far along the stiff scale if anything, but with the new 2FO things have softened, both in the platform and in general comfort. Impressively, Specialized has achieved this while also shedding 100g from each shoe, bringing them down to 340g per shoe (size 44). Having worn these off the bike almost as much as on for the last few weeks I can confirm they are comfortable shoes – of that there is no doubt.
On the bike they have that all-important ‘feel’ through an updated SlipNot™ rubber sole. There’s more flexibility and grip-levels are on par with the stickiest Stealth rubber from Five Ten. Not only does the clever tread pattern give unwavering pedal traction, thanks to the deeper inset areas around the toe and heel, they also give you good off-bike walking grip for when you need to get off and push. It’s like having the opposite of studs, and yet it still works!
Above ground you’ll find added protection around the instep and over the roomy toe box. Adding both comfort and protection, a foam-filled lining runs across the entire upper. This, combined with the lace-up closure, means the 2FOs offer an adaptable fit like a universal elastic glove.
Specialized first developed its Body Geometry shoe range more than a decade ago in partnership with Dr Andy Pruitt, a highly regarded designer of footwear and a director of the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center. That Body Geometry heritage is obvious when you examine the footbed of the 2FO – there is loads of instep support both inside and very obviously on the outside too. The footbed is also angled slightly outwards, which has the effect of improving the alignment between your feet and knees. Those used to flatter footbeds may initially find this odd, but in my experience it works. And it’s particularly appreciated by those of us with sore and ageing knees.
The 2FOs are reasonably well protected from the weather, and the all-over smooth outer leaves them looking pretty good after a quick hose down at the end of a filthy ride. With the added foam lining, they’re also a little warmer, which is a boon for UK riders.
The new 2FOs successfully combine the sticky traction and protection of a DH race shoe, with the low weight, comfort and efficiency of an everyday trail shoe. And that leaves them with very few compromises. If you really aren’t into being clipped in, the new 2FO could be that one shoe to rule them all.
|by Mark Alker for 5 months