Specialized 2FO Flat Shoes - Review

Oct 30, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
Pinkbike Product Picks

Specialized 2FO Flat shoe 2014

- Dan Barham photo

Specialized launched its 2FO flat-soled shoes in spring of 2014. Two versions are offered, the 2F0 Clip, which we reviewed earlier this year and the 2FO Flat, which is the subject of this test. 2FO refers to “Foot out, flat out” and considering that most of Specialized’s mountain bike products team ride big bikes, the motivation to produce this particular shoe is self-evident. Much effort went into keeping the 2FO lightweight, rugged, and inherently efficient. No surprise that its stats' are in line with the top offerings of Five Ten, which no-doubt were used as a comparator through the development process.

To the first end, designers found padding materials that don’t absorb water, which reportedly can add a pound or more to a conventional flat-soled mountain bike sneakers. The cushioning material used in the heel area is also treated to seal out water, and molded mesh vents in key areas are used to shed water after a sound dunking.

The sole is tacky rubber, but not as grippy as the famous “Stealth” compounds that Five Ten use. The idea was to keep the shoe glued to the pedal spikes, but not so much that the rider has no option to reposition the shoe on the pedal without completely lifting the foot free of the platform. Octagonal tread nubs are deeper and wider spaced at the toe and heel for walking traction, but closer-spaced and nearly flush with the sole where the shoe contacts the pedals and spikes. Also, the octagonal nubs are angled, ever so slightly, so they will catch and hold when the riding heels down. Fish scales come to mind.

Specialized 2FO Flat shoe 2014

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

Following its established trend, Specialized builds in a slight lateral wedge to counter the natural tendency for riders to angle their feet when pedaling and in addition to the “Varus Wedge,” Three insoles options are made available to ensure a good fit. Those lucky enough to have a Specialized dealer equipped with the collateral tools, can step on a pressure-sensitive pad and have their arches assessed for the correct insole height. A reinforced toe box ensures that riders will keep their distal digits when the inevitable rock strikes occur and an elastic lace catcher stows the bows and knots so the ends won’t end up fouling your narrow-wide chainrings or wadding up in the chain guide. Specialized pegs the weight of a single size 42 2FO Flat at 395 grams, with our size 42.5 weighing 420 grams. Colors are red, black and gray, with contrasting laces. Sizing is from 38 to 49, with a significant range of half-sizes. MSRP is $130 USD.

Specialized 2FO Flat shoe 2014

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

Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesI 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

See the high-res photos in the Specialized 2FO Flat Gallery.

Mentions: @Specialized @SpecializedUK


  • 132 17
 Five. Ten.
  • 16 6
 Amen brother - 510 for life
  • 5 10
flag chyu (Oct 30, 2014 at 21:18) (Below Threshold)
 compare with a freerider. else.
  • 18 1
 Those are actually good looking shoes, is there anything specialized can't produce? They had me until I saw the $130. Maybe in 2017 I get a pair of these for $50.
  • 2 1
 I agree with fecalmaster - these are looking really nice. I've heard that 5.10 are tuff to dry when they get wet, is this true?
It looks like these spesh shoe won't have this problem. any opinion on that?
  • 2 1
 From personal experience 510s do take a while to dry, but they're no worse than your average skate shoe which a lot of people use anyway. Just stuff them with newspaper and stick them on top of a radiator and they'll not only be dry but toasty warm for the next ride, perfect for those cold and wet British winters! Or just stick them in the tumble dryer!
  • 5 1
 I am using the same pair of 5.10's for 3 or 4 years, and those things are totally bombproof, although they do smell really bad, even right after leaving the washing machine... Only issue I had was an unstuck left sole, but 5 bucks and a shoemaker got it back in order. Never expected a show to last that long! But it is good to see new companies on the market, this is the only way biking shoes will evolve!
  • 1 1
 I've had mine for two years and they are solid. Washing machine, shoe drier, brand new Smile
  • 3 2
 Fact. Five ten is where it's at. Some company's just have a grasp on their market and five ten is that company. When it comes to riding shoes 10/10 times my money is going to them. With this being said, some people aren't as set as I (or others by the looks of it) and the specialized shoe looks like another good option.
  • 1 1
 I use skate shoes, unfortunately I found that not all skate shoes got a good grip on pedals. I got cheap ones for 20 quid airwalk, amazing grip but they not last long, sole's gone after a season. Now I'm looking to get a proper riding shoes, 510 was my first thought but I'd like to try these 2FO ones.
My last question - are the 510 soak easy?
  • 3 1
 510 offers a 'waterproof' or resistant shoe…the regular ones are pretty water resistant, but once wet, take a while to dry completely.
  • 1 1
 didn't know that, thanks ubuale, in that case its a 510 all the way Smile
  • 86 13
 Careful what you comment here... you may get sued.
  • 38 4
 Found this wish it was for sale only thing I would by with that logo on it....http://i.embed.ly/1/display/resize?key=1e6a1a1efdb011df84894040444cdc60&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm8.static.flickr.com%2F7349%2F11285765344_89f1452a77_z.jpg&width=810
  • 15 3
 Shots Fired
  • 4 3
 dude, where to get that t-shirt?
  • 5 19
flag Callum-H (Oct 30, 2014 at 20:55) (Below Threshold)
 That was unnecessary.
  • 14 5
 No, definitely necessary. THey asked for it.
  • 2 2
 More than necessary. Not only is the big S quick to sue, but quick to bail out on med bills for their riders....
(I ride a Status. Don't judge me)
  • 69 6
 "Not as sticky as the stealth rubber"

Move on, nothing to see here.
  • 15 6
  • 13 4
 Yeah.. I don't actually like the stealth rubber. Its (and I know this sounds wrong) too sticky. I have very little trouble keeping my feet on the pedals, but can't f*cking stand not being able to adjust my feet to where I want them.
To each their own.
Some people love the Five Tens. For me, the best words I can read in a shoe review are "The sole is tacky rubber, but not as grippy as the famous “Stealth” compounds that Five Ten use."
  • 7 4
 Stealth rubber is too soft. Shimano's one is just perfect, and this may be good too. Same reason I hate 5.10 on my climbing shoes, it does not edge as well is Vibram.
  • 1 1
 Yeah Vibrams are great too. I climb with 5:10 (although the compound is slightly different to the riding variant) and Vibram, certainly the 5:10 is different, but climbing is so varied, one pitch its flat Granite slab, the next is juggy heaven etc etc etc. Ive been riding the same pair of 5:10 for 10 years, perfect for every single occasion!
  • 1 5
flag ajayflex (Oct 31, 2014 at 0:11) (Below Threshold)
 Speaking of Vibram, I've not seen any flat sole riding shoe using Vibram soles... they'd be awesome, and a legit competitor to 5:10.
  • 7 1
 Shimano use vibram, well at least the ones I have do
  • 4 1
 Giro uses Vibram aswell. They also make a hightop version.
  • 2 0
 @dhmachine86, I don't know about their DH shoes, but I have Freerider and Spitfire models and despite the Spitfire's sole is also labeled "stealth" it is significantly less sticky the the Freerider's, so you have a choice actually.
  • 5 0
 while I personally like as much grip as possible, I can fully appreciate the idea that you can have excessive grip. I run 5.10s with LG1 pedals, which is know you be one of the most grippy combos out there, and it is, but there are times when is so grippy that my foot sticks to the pedal even when I lift straight up. I'll stop at the end of run, go to take my foot off and and get off the bike, and the pedal will stick to my foot like it's clipped in as I lift up. I can definitely see how the that would be to much grip for some.
  • 3 0
 I have some of these shoes and I like them. Previously I had the 5.10 freerider with the smooth bottom, the 2fo's have way more grip than those, but not as much as the standard stealth sole on the impacts. I have owned about every model of 5.10 riding shoe they have made in the last few years, except the new impact. I like 5.10 shoes but I like these more. I think a lot more thought went into the uppers of this shoe than any of the 5.10s.
  • 2 0
 Why not take out a few pins, or shorten them? I've found this helps a lot with the stuck on pedal situation. Or shortening just the pack ones so you can rotate the ball of your foot.
  • 1 0
 @rclugnut - For sure, but I've only had the pedals for a few months so I haven't gotten around to playing around with the pin layout. You have to buy the extra pins so I figured I'd give them a try for a little while with the stock (medium) pins and to get a feel for them and then go from there.
  • 32 0
 The six sided treads are hexagonal not octagonal.
  • 12 0
 And they can't decide if it is 2F0 or 2FO...
  • 25 0
 I have this shoe. Black on black color works for me. Super light and really stiff for drops. No other shoe is even similar to fit and feel. Crazy stiff for how light it is. Don't talk shit until you have tried them. I'm stoked
  • 9 1
 I love mine. Too bad for the naysayers, more 2FO's for us!
  • 4 1
 Same here. I have riden 5:10 for years on flats and just switched to 2fo clipped version. Okay I can't comment on the sole grip but in clipped they are a superb shoe. The fit is awesome and really hugs your foot which feels like all your pedal power is transferring to the cleat. The cleat position allows to be put nicely further back than earlier versions of mtb cleat shoe, which gives more control if you are more gravity rider like myself. Personally I won't be going back to flats.
  • 30 7
 Without Stealth Rubber it's just a shoe
  • 8 3
 No... they're actually so hard you wouldn't want to wear them around all day, so it's actually worse than a shoe.
  • 14 4
 Hello Teva Links.....
  • 1 0
 the same reaction - looks like a brother Smile
  • 1 0
 These shoes are way light in comparison to Links.
  • 1 0
 @qirill Yes, that's what I say: both look like mtb shoes. And if "looks like a brother", it's certainly not the same father.
  • 6 1
 Sounds like a good product, I've been looking for a replacement shoe for a while, these seem like the could do rather well Smile Wonder if they have an insert for totally flat feet? Flats on flats double flat!
  • 3 0
 I had Vans Gravel before and while they were pretty flexible ( they were knackered at the end ) i loved them . got some of these and after one ride i convinced on them they are pretty light, grippy and dry nice and quick . good for the beautiful weather we tend to get here in the uk .
  • 3 0
 Being a flats fan, I moved from 5.10 (which is the rough number of rides before they fall to bits... 5 to 10 that is) to Sombrio shoes.
Shame that you cant get the Sombrio's anymore, much cheaper, much more comfortable and much more robust.
  • 9 3
 No reason if 510's cost the same
  • 2 0
 gotta say having used Teva, 5:10 (freerider) and shimano am40/DX I think the 5:10 has the most flaws. Its way too bulky theyre just massive when u put em on. and massive on ya pedals. there is quite a bit of rider sensation numbed out by them being the same size as a beaver on each foot. The laces are on show so they get torn, pulled, snagged and snap much more frequently than the other trainers. The laces are simply 'normal trainer' laces. They dont have a great deal of ankle protection compared to the shimano's...if youve twatted your ankle on your frame on a cold morning you know what I mean.
They suck up water like you would not believe. seriously 5:10 sort that shit out. did u make them out of dry toast? I dont want cold wet bath feet after 1 damn run. put some kind of cover/repellant in there please. on the flip side in summer your feet feel like that scene in Ace Vetura where Jim Carrey is inside the rhino.sweatier than ya balls. Do they grip? yes like a baby to a tit but that isnt the be all and end all of what constitutes a good bike shoe. I dont find them quite stiff enough for an all day excursion and the padding around the heel flattens out rather too much. They are good but dont tick enough boxes for me to buy again.
  • 1 0
 There will be always one thing about bike shoes that will make confused. If MTB is a thing about dust and mud, why are they making shoes with the laces showing? Shoe laces showing = post ride filth in your hands and moving laces while riding. Not eficient in my opinion. I got the Shimano shoes with the ugly flap. Ugly but effective and, hard to beat (price vs quality)!
  • 1 0
 Why do you have to wash them after every ride? I have shoes I've used for a year+ and have never had to wash them (and they don't stink, riding year round in SoCal heat). It's usually after that first wash that they start to reek.
  • 1 0
 For all the people who say 5.10's are hard to dry just stuff them with newspaper after you take them off. In a couple hours the newspaper draws the water out of the shoe onto the paper then throw away the wet paper and your shoes are dry. Works perfect every time. For any type of shoes as well.
  • 1 0
 Everything is great about these shoes except the grip. It was like someone who doesn't ride flat pedals designed the bottom. The heel design of the sole should be where the ball of the foot goes because the pins of the pedal actually need space and openings to find grip. If those two hex patters were swapped, these shoes would be amazing. These shoes look great but ride less than ideal. Maybe they will get it right with next years model. It's disappointing because these would have made killer trail shoes.
  • 4 0
 Hey. I need a wider flat shoe. Can anyone help?
  • 5 0
 5.10 sam hills
  • 5 2
 Yeah, sometimes my Stealth soles stick like crazy to my pedals. It like totally sucks I mean why would you want that?
  • 4 0
 Exactly! That's what I am thinking!! I wanted to reposition my foot at the POC ESC championships in the rock garden but had to wait using lotek bmx shoes...I want the same sort of grip or a tiny bit less...but way more protection!
  • 2 2
 Can't wait 'till 5.10 gets the notion that people ride in the rain and shoes need to not be sponges. And it looks like the tread on the heal would pick up almost a pounds worth of mud every step... no point in a quick drying shoe that can't be used in mud.
  • 2 0
 I think they have some good ideas going for them but I'm not sold... That being said I would certainly give them a try if my 5 tens wore out and these were on sale....
  • 1 0
 I think they are worthy of a spot next to 510. Although I like the Shimano shoe I would only consider a set of these if I could get them in green like the 'one offs' troy Brosnan has
  • 1 1
 Any test for mountain bike shoes should involve a hosepipe. How wet do your feet get, and how quickly do they dry?

My personal choices for MTB shoes are Northwave Celsius for clips and Teva Links for flats (which both seem to be discontinued!). I've always avoided Five Ten because I'd heard bad things about them getting waterlogged and not having great durability after repeated drenchings. It's only recently that five ten seem to have added any sort of weather proofing to their mtb shoes

These look OK to me, as long as they hold water out for a bit and dry out quickly.
  • 1 1
 I ride 5▪10 Sam Hills. I bought them used for $20. I love em. 5 10 for 20. I think the new line of 5tens and these look and feel cheap. When my sam hills wear out imma try this (heard it werks). Take my favourite pair of kix and glu a piece of bike tube where I want them to stick. Got the look and feel up top and the stick down below.
  • 2 0
 Finally! A BMX/skate style shoe for people with big feet! Gonna have to track some down asap.
  • 4 2
 Mighta found my next shoe.
  • 3 1
 ima buy them and use them for skate
  • 2 4
 The most important part of a riding shoe is its sole. Good cooperation with pins of flat pedals is still an issue. Five ten got it the best ways existing, but it is still not perfect. Grip and comfort means soft material. Durability and this way reliability means hard rubber. Repositioning a feet without lifting it up is the last thing to feel safe. The game changes dramatically if a rider happens to walk and push a bike. The stealth rubber helps, but nothing can replace an aggressive sole pattern. Such a pattern often goes with issues about the ease of cleaning dirt and mud out of sole. I would like to leave mud where I found it, not carry it sticked to soles. My second important aspect of a shoe is the looks. There are many tastes, but also designs which fit most of them. When I look at the shoe reviewed above I see a standard sole pattern in the middle and a very hard to get it clean pattern at both ends of the sole. The looks certainly does not appeal to me. Of course a shoe should hold feet stable, a sole should be enough rigid and the top should be enough waterproof, as well as ventilated, but must producers offer them really right.
  • 2 2
 Most important part is fit and durability. One can ride just fine in BMX shoes, or even some sturdy hiking shoes, but it sucks if it does not fit well, creates hot spots and rips apart.
  • 1 3
 "Fit" is just as basic as if to say there shouldn't be holes in soles, so maybe I should write a second article in comments the next time.
  • 1 0
 The uppers look very similar to the Teva Links, very similar!

btw I think the Links are/were awesome flat shoes.
  • 2 0
 Vans or Nikes do their job...
  • 1 0
 If you like flat tacky try big five roofer boot, $25. Best flats with ankle protection and soles.
  • 1 0
 Final a shoe that is larger than 48.., considering I were a 49-50, this is big for me & other fat footed folks.
  • 2 3
 I actually like that more looks wise that what 5.10 has to offer. No big logos, just a modern looking shoe. But i'd rather get 5.10 cause they work. lol.
  • 1 0
 Just like anything else there are different color options
  • 2 1
 They look like golf shoes.
  • 1 0
 Look like Tevas but more expensive
  • 2 2
 I WAS STOKED. SAID " Hey that's a good looking shoe, I need new shoes". Then I saw made by specialized. Hell no.
  • 1 0
 I wish they made them in high cuts - I am getting 5-10 Impacts!
  • 1 0
 Looking to replace my teva links, I'm digging these!!
  • 1 0
 Dear Papa Santa
  • 1 0
 Vans Old Schools. $60.
  • 1 3
 $130?! Not even! You're better off with some New Balance Minimus shoes, 50-70 dollars. They're light weight and have a soft sole for grip.
  • 3 5
 I saw this show last week and I can tell you.....go buy shimano M45 or Five Ten.....not worth my hard earned money
  • 1 2
 You mean AM41?
  • 3 4
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