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SlipNot ST Grip in a Sturdier Shoe: Specialized 2FO DH Flat

Last November, Specialized dropped a bomb in the mountain bike shoe world. Their new 2FO Roost shoe looked a bit plain at first sight, but it packed a punch in the form of a brand new sole compound that delivers a level of grip that had previously only been seen on Five Tens. Well, today is the day that Specialized takes things up another notch with the introduction of a more sturdy DH model. We’ve spent a few weeks riding the new shoe already, so we’re ready to deliver our initial verdict. You can check it all out in the video below, as we presented the 2FO DH in today’s episode of Gear Show, or keep scrolling if you prefer reading.

 

Specialized 2FO DH Flat Highlights

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  • Specialized Body Geometry trio: Longitudinal Arch, Metatarsal Button, and Varus Wedge work together to increase efficiency, optimize hip, knee, and foot alignment, and reduce injury risks
  • Reinforced upper protects and holds the foot to take on the gnarliest terrain with confidence 
  • SlipNot™ ST rubber sole for unsurpassed flat-pedal grip and connection
  • XPEL™ hydrophobic mesh construction reduces water absorption and dramatically improves drying time
  • Leather and textile upper with added protection keeps you comfortable and is built to last
  • Cushioned EVA foam midsole for comfort and impact absorption with shank layer for impact absorption and stability
  • Relaxed Fit last for a balance of pedal feel and off-the-bike comfort
  • Colors: Black/Cool Grey & Cool Grey
  • Sizing: 36, 37, 38, 38.5, 39, 39.5. 40, 40.5, 41.5, 42, 42.5, 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5, 45, 45.5, 46, 46.5, 47, 48, 49
  • MSRP: $160 USD

Specialized 2FO DH Clip Highlights

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  • Specialized Body Geometry trio: Longitudinal Arch, Metatarsal Button, and Varus Wedge work together to increase efficiency, optimize hip, knee, and foot alignment, and reduce injury risks
  • Reinforced upper protects and holds the foot to take on the gnarliest terrain with confidence
  • XPELTM hydrophobic mesh construction reduces water absorption and dramatically improves drying time
  • Stiff Lollipop™ nylon composite plate for high performance pedaling and off-the-bike comfort
  • SlipNot™ FG rubber sole for confident traction
  • Extended length cleat slot (4mm) for rearward cleat set up option
  • Synthetic leather upper with added protection keeps you comfortable and is built to last
  • Cushioned EVA foam midsole for comfort
  • Relaxed Fit last for a balance of pedal feel and off-the-bike comfort
  • Two-bolt cleat pattern fits all major mountain pedals
  • Colors: Black Redwood & Cool Grey
  • Sizing: 36, 37, 38, 38.5, 39, 39.5. 40, 40.5, 41.5, 42, 42.5, 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5, 45, 45.5, 46, 46.5, 47, 48, 49
  • MSRP: $170 USD

Initial Impressions

The 2FO DH shoe was developed in conjunction with Loic Bruni and Finn Iles of the Specialized Factory downhill racing team, so of course there are both clipless and flat pedal models available – they share the same construction and general features (we’ve only tested the Flat version, so that is what is covered in this review). Where the 2FO Roost took a somewhat minimalistic approach to the overall construction, the DH version uses thicker materials and offers more protection.

2FO Roost on the left, new 2FO DH Flat on the right
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On the DH shoe, the sole is stiffer, the tongue is thicker, and the uppers are made from heavy-duty PU leather where the Roost uses thinner suede. The toebox on the DH shoe is also thicker, and the cuff is raised on the inside to offer more protection from crank strikes and the like.

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The DH shoe uses fast-drying Xpel mesh in the insole and the tongue and sides, a material said to “shed as you shred”. All in all, the DH shoe weights about 50 grams more than the Roost in size 12 US (100 grams more for the pair).

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Last, but absolutely not least, the sole. For this third iteration of Specialized’s “SlipNot” rubber compound, the company worked with a new supplier to come up with a whole new formula. Their extensive testing revealed that the outright stickiness of a compound will to a certain degree dictate the level of grip it delivers, but finding the right balance of lug pattern, hardness, and rebound speed of the compound is equally as important. Without getting ahead of ourselves, we can certainly confirm that they seem to have nailed it with this one…

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On The Trail

On the trail, the 2FO DH Flat convinced us from the first pedal stroke. The sole is every bit as grippy as the 2FO Roost, which is to say it is one of the grippiest flat pedal shoes you can get. Place your foot on the pedals, and the shoe will grab hold of the pins even before you put any pressure on them. In the dry or in the wet, these things cling on like an octopus with separation anxiety. When we tested the 2FO Roost, we stated that Specialized had “cracked the code” and were taking the fight to Five Ten in the grip arena, a statement that we stand by after testing the new 2FO DH as well.

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As for the shoe itself, there is plenty of protection which provides a general sense of security in action. The mid sole is stiff and does a great job of transferring power to the pedals. In terms of the overall fit, the shoe is quite roomy and should work particularly well for those with slightly wider feet. This tester has slightly narrower feet, and while he was able to cinch the shoe down for a perfectly secure fit, the toebox of course remains wide.

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We’ve yet to dunk the 2FOs in water to really test that Xpel stuff, but they’ve shrugged off puddle crossings and muddy rides with ease. Similarly, we’ve also not yet tested in sweltering heat, chances are they will be a bit clammy given the sturdiness of the overall construction, but that’s par for the course for such a heavy-duty item. We'll also need to get back to you on longevity, but so far the soles on our 2FO Roost pair are holding up well after about three months on the trail.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Overall, we’re very excited by what Specialized is doing in the mountain bike shoe space right now. The SlipNot ST rubber is every bit as grippy as Five Ten’s Stealth rubber, and if you know anything about the flat pedal shoe market you’ll know what a monumental milestone that actually is. Now, if you were eager to give it a try for yourself, but you were waiting for it to appear on a sturdier shoe – your wishes have just come true. The 2FO DH takes everything we liked about the 2FO Roost, and kicks things up another notch in terms of stiffness and protection.

More information at: www.specialized.com.

View key specs, compare shoes, and rate the 2FO DH in the Vital MTB Product Guide.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

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