Specialized's three model 2FO shoe lineup includes a model designed specifically for platform pedals, another that looks like a classic skate-style shoe but is for clipless pedals, and the version reviewed here, the lighter weight 2FO Cliplite. The Cliplite differs from the others in that it employs two Boa S2-Snap dials rather than laces, as well as a hook-and-loop strap below those. This gives them a sort of hybrid appearance that's somewhere between casual and racey, although they do look far more normal than your average pair of cross-country slippers. The $180 USD 2FO Cliplites are available in the black and white shown here, a black and dark grey combo, or a flashier black and green if you want to stand out a bit more. www.specialized.com / @Specialized
The Cliplite's S2 Boa dials are obviously what set them apart from many other shoes, with the idea being that only a quick turn of the dial is required to either tighten or loosen the fit. The system uses a single lace for each dial that's made from woven steel with a protective coating that is routed in such a way that tightening the lace provides a quick way to custom fit the amount of tension without having to deal with standard laces or Velcro. The right-side dials turn clockwise to tighten, whereas those on the left are turned counter-clockwise to tighten.
2FO Cliplite Details
• Intended use: trail riding
• Two Boa S2-Snap dials per shoe
• Nylon composite shank
• SlipNot rubber sole
• Toe box protection
• Extended length cleat slot
• Cushioned EVA midsole
• SPD compatible
• Weight: 438 grams (per shoe, size 44)
• MSRP: $180 USD
There are a number of shoes that employ Boa dials, but the ones on the Cliplites are an exclusive design that is only found on Specialized shoes, and they can be replaced without any tools. You can even buy two-dial kits in green, turquoise, blue, orange, purple, or red directly from Specialized for $20.00 USD if you're looking for some extra flair.
The underside of the Cliplite shoes is home to what Specialized calls their Slipnot rubber which, as you'd expect it to be, is softer and more forgiving than the hard and slippery soles than you usually find on the bottom of clipless pedal shoes. This could be especially helpful at keeping you on your feet if you live and ride in a place like Sedona or Moab where most of your time is spent on rock, as does the recessed depression for the cleat. Much less clickity-clackity to be found here.
And since Specialized figured that some Cliplite wearers might be coming off their platform pedal setup, they've added 4mm of rearward adjustment to the cleat mounts that allow riders to dial in a more familiar and comfortable position. Performance
As much fun as I may poke at funny looking cross-country shoes, I've always far preferred them over something more casual simply because they put function over fashion. I want my shoes lightweight, rigid and to be more about performance than looks - we're riding bicycles in the forest so it's not like we should be concerned about our kicks, and I wear bike shoes to ride my bike, not to walk my bike. The Cliplites, however, manage to both perform well and look pretty decent.
Their fit is more spacious than other shoes I've had on my feet over the last few years, especially up front in the protective toe box, but they're certainly a bit more close fitting than something more casual. This is great for riders like me who have wider and flatter feet. And like all of Specialized's shoes, the Cliplites sport insoles that are canted ever so slightly outward, but I admit that I couldn't really notice this while wearing them.
The Boa S2 dials work exactly as advertised, and the two dials per shoe make it easier to fine tune the fit than if there was only one dial. There are no weird pressure points created, even when you crank them down too tightly, and you can back them off or tighten them by one or two clicks at a time by just reaching down when on the go. This was handy for me as I always tend to want to loosen the fit of my shoes twenty minutes after starting out. While easy to use, the S2 dials don't offer the instant release that some other Boa dials supply by simply pulling them outwards to release the ratchet mechanism. Regardless, I do prefer either Boa dial system over a more traditional lace, buckle or hook-and-loop setup. And speaking of hook-and-loop straps, the low-positioned straps on the Cliplites are pretty useless, and I never felt the need to adjust them, let alone undo them to get my feet out.
For a shoe with a relatively rigid sole, the Cliplites are great for walking in. The soft rubber bottoms don't make me feel like I'm going to fall on my face when scrambling up or down some rocks, and there's next to no heel lift thanks to the deep feeling rear section. More importantly to me, they feel as rigid and flex-free as many mid-priced cross-country shoes, so it never felt like my feet were being bent over the tops of my tiny XTR Race pedals. They're obviously not cross-country race shoes, and that isn't what they were designed for, but a cross-country rider looking for more protection or more warmth isn't going to be disappointed with the Cliplites.
I don't have anything terrible to say about the Cliplites, or even any really notable complaints, but the one point worth mentioning is that their uppers are quite stiff compared to a sportier shoe. There is certainly more protection there, but the stiff uppers make them feel not quite as form-fitting as lighter duty shoes. Pinkbike’s Take:
|The Cliplites were designed for trail riders and enduro types, but their stiff soles and great fitting Boa adjustment system makes them a good alternative for any rider who wants more warmth, protection or just prefers a more casual look without sacrificing performance. - Mike Levy|
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