Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe

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Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe
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Tested: Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe

Rating: Vital Review

Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos by AJ Barlas // Action Photos by Steve Li

Specialized first launched the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) range of shoes in mid 2014, and the original skate-styled clipless model has since made its way onto many a rider's foot from World Cup downhillers to the regular Joey. Specialized weren’t prepared to stop there, though, and less than twelve months later they released the 2FO Cliplite - a shoe that looks to be the child of the popular 2FO and a pair of XC slippers, blending casual aesthetics with a stiff sole. The goal was to create a light shoe that still offers ample protection, comfort, and a high level of performance for the enduro and trail audience. We’ve been ripping about in them to see if they hit those marks.

2FO Cliplite Shoe Highlights

  • Body

Review by AJ Barlas // Product Photos by AJ Barlas // Action Photos by Steve Li

Specialized first launched the 2FO (Foot Out, Flat Out) range of shoes in mid 2014, and the original skate-styled clipless model has since made its way onto many a rider's foot from World Cup downhillers to the regular Joey. Specialized weren’t prepared to stop there, though, and less than twelve months later they released the 2FO Cliplite - a shoe that looks to be the child of the popular 2FO and a pair of XC slippers, blending casual aesthetics with a stiff sole. The goal was to create a light shoe that still offers ample protection, comfort, and a high level of performance for the enduro and trail audience. We’ve been ripping about in them to see if they hit those marks.

2FO Cliplite Shoe Highlights

  • Body Geometry sole construction
  • Landing Strip cleat pocket
  • Two independent Boa S2 snap dials
  • SlipNot rubber sole
  • Asymmetric toe box protection
  • Extended length cleat slot (4mm) for rearward cleat set up option
  • Smooth thermo bonded upper for lightweight durability and a snag-free profile
  • Cushioned EVA midsole for comfort with molded heel cup for stability
  • Standard fit last for a balance of pedal feel and off-bike comfort
  • Approximate weight: 379g (1/2 pair, size 42)
  • MSRP: $180 US

Initial Impressions

Out of the box, the materials feel durable with a full rubber sole and lightweight, weather-resistant, thermo-bonded uppers. The uppers include a breathable mesh to help with venting during hot rides, and the thermo-bonded construction results in a sleek looking shoe.

The fit is comfortable, though it's a close performance feel. They really hug onto your foot due to the molded heel cup. Two independent Boa dials allow for micro-adjustability and a somewhat customizable fit (versus shoes where the Boa ties into a single dial), while the velcro strap at the top of the toe box is there if you need to adjust the front of the shoe. We found them to be true to size.

Walking around for the first time we noted the soles were stiffer than what we're used to, though there was still some flex. The standard last and rubber sole made them pretty comfortable to walk in, but how they would feel on the trail remained to be seen. It's worth noting that Specialized dealers have customizable Body Geometry footbeds allowing a tailored fit for each individual. The standard setup felt great, however, and only improved as the shoes wore in.

On The Trail

Our first ride in the 2FO Cliplite shoes was actually a little awkward. The Body Geometry sole aligned our knees in a way that left us feeling a little out of shape at first, which may have meant that either our previous shoes were not doing much to help our joints, or these were going too far. After a couple of rides the alignment went unnoticed, and eventually stepping back into any other riding shoe felt uncomfortable. Couple this with the all-day comfort we experienced in the Cliplites and we feel pretty confident in the Body Geometry system. Some may think this isn't of much importance, but for riders that spend a lot of time on their bikes, it's important to take care of the parts that help us ride - namely our ankles, knees and hips. Riding comfortably for longer, day after day, is only a good thing.

The performance fit of the Cliplites quickly became a favorite, providing a lot of feel through the pedals and what we'd describe as a quicker reaction to our movements. The stiffer sole had a quicker response when we got on the gas, which felt a little like cheating after coming from a softer soled shoe. That stiffness never translated to discomfort on the bike or a dead feeling through the sole, which is important considering the style of riding that the terrain we often find ourselves riding on trail and enduro bikes.

We paired the Cliplite with a set of Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals, and found the interface between the two to be excellent. The rubber sole and depth of the cleat pocket provided plenty of contact, and felt a lot like riding in flat pedals which is a sensation we really like. Despite feeling so locked in it was still easy to clip in and out, especially once we had broken in the shoe. The cleat pocket is quite far back, allowing for a similar foot position many use with flat pedals, aiding with the aggressive style of riding the shoe is likely to see.

The shoe also features some great toe protection, with a properly formed toe box constructed with a firmer material that resists impacts. Having broken a number of toes on the bike, the inclusion of a proper toe box was highly welcomed on the trail. If you ram your foot into something it’s still going to hurt, but it should at least prevent breaking your little piggies by distributing the impact. There is also protection around the heel.

Things That Could Be Improved

During the occasional hike-a-bike we noticed that the stiff sole was a little on the uncomfortable side. Hiking sections is not as easy as it is in the original 2FO due to less flex through the front of the shoe, which results in a bit of slipping about. The closer fit and stiffer feel also make it easier to roll your foot if treading on uneven ground.

We also never found the velcro strap across the top of the toe box to be of any real use. This reviewer has a narrower foot and usually can make use of toe adjustments like this, but not with the Cliplite. We’re unsure if there is really much need for this piece, though from an appearance perspective they would look strange if nothing was there.

Long Term Durability

After several months of riding in the 2FO Cliplite shoes we have nothing to complain about regarding durability. The sole only has minor wear from our pedal pins, and they still grip the pins to this day. The exterior also fends off abrasions like a champ. Our Cliplites broke-in almost perfectly, and can be worn for long days on the bike while remaining comfortable and responsive.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Specialized released one heck of a shoe with the 2FO Cliplite. They transfer energy well while balancing comfort and feel. Regardless of weather, trail conditions, or length of ride, we have yet to experience any hotspots or foot fatigue/aches. Hiking sections of trail isn't the most comfortable, but if your trails lend themselves to putting in miles they’ll have your back without making it known that they’re there. They provide a close performance fit yet remain very comfortable, and have become our go-to footwear. They’re comfortable, supportive, protect well, and endure the elements. We’ve found them easy to adjust on the trail, and they mate very well with many pedals. If you’re an aggressive trail rider seeking a new pair of clipless riding shoes, the Specialized 2FO Cliplite is a shoe that has to be considered.

Visit www.specialized.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas- Age: 35 // Years Riding MTB: 15+ // Height: 6'3" (1.91m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

"Smooth and fluid." Hailing from Squamish, BC, AJ's preferred terrain is chunky, twisty trail with natural features. He's picky with equipment and has built a strong understanding of what works well and why by riding a large number of different parts and bikes. Observant, mechanically inclined, and always looking to learn more through new experiences and products.

Specifications

Product Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoe
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Construction Body Geometry Sole Construction and Footbed.
Landing Strip Cleat Pocket Optimized for Effortless Foot-Out Riding Style with Platform Clip Pedals.
Two Independent Boa S2-Snap Dials for Easy Adjustment, Backed by the Boa Lifetime Guarantee.
Stiff Lollipop Nylon Composite Plate for High Performance Pedaling and Off Bike Comfort.
SlipNot Rubber Sole for Confident Traction.
Asymmetric Toe Box Protection Where You Need It.
Extended Length Cleat Slot (4mm) for Rearward Cleat Set up Option.
Smooth Thermobonded Upper for Lightweight Durability and a Snag-Free Profile.
Cushioned EVA Midsole for Comfort with Molded Heel Cup for Stability.
Standard Fit Last for a Balance of Pedal Feel and Off-Bike Comfort.
Pedal Type Clipless (Two-Bolt Cleat Pattern Fits All Major MTB Pedals)
Sizes 38/5.75 to 47/13
Colors Black/Grey, Black/White, Black/Green, and Black/Brown
Weight 0 lb 13.4 oz (379 g)
Miscellaneous Approximate Weight: 379g (1/2 Pair, Size 42)
Price $180
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