Skip to main content

Specialized 2FO DH clipless shoe review

Specialized’s latest MTB shoe is a full-on gravity race special. We’ve been hitting our favorite trails to find out how it rides

Specialized 2FO DH clipless
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Seriously tough and protective shoes with extra stiffness for power and precision that work really well for DH and general riding in all weather. Very pricey though

For

  • Powerfully stiff sole
  • Sturdy protective upper
  • Very secure fit
  • Sticky rubber
  • Clean cleat box
  • Fast-drying
  • Reasonable weight
  • Simple lace closure

Against

  • High price
  • Might be too stiff for some

Bike Perfect Verdict

Seriously tough and protective shoes with extra stiffness for power and precision that work really well for DH and general riding in all weather. Very pricey though

Pros

  • +

    Powerfully stiff sole

  • +

    Sturdy protective upper

  • +

    Very secure fit

  • +

    Sticky rubber

  • +

    Clean cleat box

  • +

    Fast-drying

  • +

    Reasonable weight

  • +

    Simple lace closure

Cons

  • -

    High price

  • -

    Might be too stiff for some

  • -

We’re already big fans of Specialized's 2FO casually styled but competitive performance Roost shoe, and the 2FO DH Clip builds on that basis with a more solid ‘armored’ feel and a stiffer version of the new Slip Not sole but keeps the same lace-up style.

We tested the clipless version of the 2FO (as well as the flat pedal version of the 2FO DH shoe), and the sticky Slip Not rubber sole gives extra grip and feel on platform-style clipless pedals. While the tread pattern is very shallow it’s still okay on push-ups. Specialized has kept the toe and heel relatively flexible for walking too so it’s fine just for mooching about. The center of the sole is stiffened up over the Roost for an even more positive pedaling feel that also helps reduce foot ache on long, battering descents. It can make them slide around more than a flexier shoe if you’re not clipped in, but the sole material gives them a naturally damped and connected feel otherwise. The hard plastic ‘Landing Zone’ makes for a clean and clear cleat area, and the extended slots stretch far enough back to keep flat pedal converts happy. They aren’t inset excessively inboard either, which is an issue on some shoes we’ve tested recently. 

The upper of the shoe back up this rock-solid base feel with a thick, sturdy rubberized material with a molded rubber toe bumper and 3D reinforcing linking the ten-hole lacing to the sole and stiffened heel section. The orthotics molded into the footbed also increase the firmly supportive feel that locks around your foot even with relatively light lace tension. Even without wrap strap back up they stay that way even when you’re being smashed all over the place on the bike. We’ve bounced plenty of rocks off them and kicked a few trailside logs in them with only a distant thud to tell us it’s happened. The padded collar helps keep roost and rubbish out and from niggling your riding too. The laces are just the right length to tuck under the elastic catcher without flapping around into cranks.

Image 1 of 3

Specialized 2FO DH clipless

The shoe uses a molded rubber toe bumper and 3D reinforcing linking the ten-hole lacing to the sole (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Image 2 of 3

Specialized 2FO DH clipless

A high inner cuff protects the ankle from knocks (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Image 3 of 3

Specialized 2FO DH clipless

The Xpel honeycomb design inner sole drys quickly and helps ventilation (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Minimal perforations mean they also shrug off weather pretty well, and they hose off cleanly after filthy rides. The tongue gets a deep open mesh backing for protection and wicking, and the insoles are a fast-drying, sweat-shifting Xpel honeycomb design. That also means they dry far quicker than a lot of similar shoes, which is likely to keep them smelling fresher too. If you’re riding a lot in the wet they're fast drying and weather shrugging also keeps them lighter on the trail, but at under a kilo a pair they’re a reasonable weight for such a bombproof feeling shoe anyway.

Verdict

The 2FO's solid sole and upper feel won’t be for everyone (check out the 2FO Roost for a slightly more relaxed vibe) but if you hit trails - and occasional rock/debris - hard in all weathers, then the 2FO DH is awesome. They’re not cheap though. 

Tech Specs: Specialized 2FO DH clipless shoe

  • Price: $170.00 / £145
  • Weight: 460g (size 44 with cleats)
  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: 38-48
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg