Specialized designed the center of the 2FO's tacky rubber sole with tougher, shorter traction nubs. To ensure walking traction, the nubs at the toe and heel are more pronounced. - Dan Barham photo
The 2FO Flat stands in front of the Clip version. Both share the same outers and basic construction, but the Clip version has a reinforced sole, while the Flat model is designed to be more flexible. Innovative mesh padding does not retain water, which keeps the shoe from gaining weight in wet conditions. - Dan Barham photo
|I have been using both versions of Specialized's 2FO shoes with good results. Admittedly, I prefer to be clipped in, but the 2FO Flat has become my favorite of the two models, mainly because it is quite comfortable both on and off the bike - which got me interested in riding flat pedals more often than for the occasional road trip to test unfamiliar bikes on no-pre-ride gravity trails. Specialized's water-shedding mesh padding is a big plus, as it also allows some air to circulate inside the shoe, which is only slightly better-ventilated than its prestigious rival. Summer heat can be felt, but while the 2FO gets quite toasty inside, it never passes into the realm of a lace-up sauna. Autumn's chill has yet to arrive, so no report on the survival of my toes in sub-zero conditions.|
As advertised, the 2FO stays light and dries quickly when wet. Its well-engineered sole sticks to pedals like a baby monkey to its mom - and, if the move is quick and dexterous, one can reposition a foot on a spikey pedal without risking an off when bouncing down a sketchy descent. The sole is not super stiff, like many believe is necessary for 'proper' power transfer, nor it is as flexible as some flat-pedal folks like. Those who want their shoes to bend way around the pedal for extra security may find the 2FO Flat too rigid, but I found its sole to be a good blend, with enough 'wrap-around' to make a part-time flat-pedal rider like me feel secure on the downs and also with a measure of stiffness to suggest that I was making good headway on long pedaling stints. While on the sole subject, the Varus wedge is a love-hate feature. Unless you are used to the outward lean angle, it will feel odd when walking, but most will never feel it when pedaling. I have no real sense if the wedged sole is a big benefit, but it's not a disadvantage either.
Durability is tops. With six months on them, there are minimal abrasions and, although the 2FO Flats are not my every-day shoes, the pedal spikes have not yet ripped into the soles. I have become used to tossing them into the washing machine on a regular basis and each time, the gray dogs emerge looking shiny and new. Bottom line is, for its $130 asking price, there are some competitive choices out there, but I can recommend the Specialized 2FO Flat as a durable investment that pedals well, and one that can do a decent job of scrambling around boulders and bushes too. - RC
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