In the past, Specialized has always been up there with the best MTB flat pedal shoes when it comes to performance, but the overall grip on the pedals has never quite been good enough to compete with the best of the best.
We have already been impressed by Specialized's 2FO Roost Clip shoe and the latest 2FO flat pedal shoe enters the game with the aim to change things with a fresh sticky rubber blend and a ground-up reconstruction. Are these changes enough to elevate the 2FO Roost from ‘one of the best’ to ‘the best’ flat pedal shoe currently available? Keep scrolling as Bike Perfect hits the trails to find out.
Design and aesthetics
Thankfully Specialized has continued to use its well-proven ‘Body Geometry’ cambered sole construction and removable footbeds. Specialized states body geometry soles and insoles are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to improve power, efficiency, and encourage proper hip, knee and foot alignment which in turn should help to reduce injury. EVA-cushioned midsoles are also integrated into the lower portion of the shoe to further boast high levels of comfort and protection.
The base of the shoe sees Specialized’s latest SlipNot ST rubber sole, which promises to provide unsurpassed levels of grip and connection to the pedals when things get rowdy. This is the area that has held back previous 2FO generations, so we’re excited to see if Specialized has finally perfected the formula.
For the upper, the latest 2FO Roost shoe uses a mix of leather and textile panels. There’s perforated venation on the sides and above the toe box to aid ventilation in warmer climates. The closure is taken care of with traditional laces, and integrated into the tongue is an elastic lace tidy which should keep any excess lace away from the drivetrain and suspension linkage.
Our size UK8 pair hit the scales at a respectable 725g, and at $120 / £110, they’re competitive with the majority and ever-expanding range of flagship flat pedal shoes.
Slip into the 2FO Roosts and you’re welcomed with the same incredibly supportive fit of previous generations of Spesh kicks - arches are properly supported which has a way of perfectly splaying your toes across the front portion of the shoe. On the bike, this level of support translates to the best all-day comfort out of any shoe we’ve previously tried, and the power output genuinely feels more efficient due to the supremely good fit.
It feels like Specialized has finally cracked the pedal traction code with its new tacky rubber too - the latest 2FO is the only shoe we've tried so far that can compete with the category-leading grip of Five Ten stealth rubber. Specialized's latest SlipNot sole is so grippy that adjusting your foot position on the fly is no mean feat, but we’re not complaining. Not once during testing did we experience any sign of traction from the pedal giving way, even when blasting through the roughest sections of DH graded terrain.
The new sole isn’t just grippy, it’s highly controlled too. The rubber is well-damped meaning high-frequency buzz is eliminated but the shoe stiffness and sole thickness hit a balance where neither the pedal feel nor impact protection is compromised. If you’re an out-and-out gravity rider there is a Specialized 2FO DH version of the 2FO which utilizes the same grippy rubber but gets slightly more overall protection.
The leather and textile upper does a decent job of containing the elements, and if they do get wet drying times lean towards the faster side of the scale, even drying as you ride. The only downside to the suede panels we’ve experienced so far is they tend to hold onto the mud, which increases the shoes' overall weight on claggy days and makes them harder to clean.
The sizing feels spot-on, although whilst it wasn’t an issue for us, we’d like to see the option of half sizes for riders to achieve an even more accurate fit. We’re thankful for the simplicity and accuracy the traditional lace closure offers too. Fashion-conscious riders will also be pleased to see three color options in the range.
The Specialized 2FO Roost shoe is finally good enough to match the performance of our current favorite MTB shoes. Grip leaves nothing to be desired and the fit the Body Geometry insoles provide is category-leading - with the introduction of half sizes to the UK and suede panels replaced for the same leather used elsewhere, this shoe would score the perfect five.
Tech Specs: Specialized 2FO Roost flat pedal shoe
- Price: $120 / £110
- Sizes: EU39 - EU49
- Weight: 725g (UK8)
- Colors: Black, Green, Brown