Thursday, December 4, 2014

Specialized 2FO Women's MTB Shoes: A Product Review

I rode most of this season with a pair of Specialized (2011) Tahoe MTB shoes which were not set up to be clipless.

I loved the shoes and how comfortable they were, but my pedal pins started to eat up the sole to a point where they were simply going to be destroyed.
(They have several ride(s) left in them, but likely on less stressing terrain.)


What fun is it to ride on shoes that hardly have any rubber left to grip? Well, that is where a new pair of kicks come into play.

Specalized came out with a new flat shoe for mountain biking, the 2FO, which they also designed for women-I had seen flat shoes advertised on some other sites and thought they would be interesting to try. Travis was more than willing to get me set up with a pair, especially when I wanted the fun, bright purple/electric yellow pair! Why not be colorful? Often times I’m a color bomb out on the trails with bright jerseys, fun socks, or shorts.

Being that many women in town are not interested in the off-road scene, Travis ordered in one pair for me. I wear an 8 ½ for most shoes, I would be interested in trying a half-size larger at some point to see how the fit compares. Initially I felt like my toes might be a little cramped, more particularly when pointed downward or going down a hill and having a lot of downward pressure applied.
The material is hard, not like any other shoe I’ve worn- not fabric-like or flexible. I figured it would take a few rides to get myself used to the material and “break them in” a bit.

The laces are fun and bright and the shoes come with Lacelock elastic to keep the laces out of your chainrings. Look down towards the middle of where the laces criss-cross and you will find a black band that you can pull up. (This was something I recently discovered, as you do not see photos with the laces locked down.) Finding the Lacelock loop was kind of like Christmas for me!
---Originally I had been shoving my laces under the criss-crossed ones to keep my loops in check.---

Another thing I have done to take away a few seconds of getting ready is to lace my shoes up loose/tight enough so I can slip them off/on. Because they aren't of material like a tennis shoe (stiffer) I have to use a spoon (like a shoehorn) to get my foot to slip in. (Because I don't want to relace my shoes every time I ride.)

I find the sole with the hex pattern tread provides good traction when combined with my pedal pins. I still have times where I lose my grip, but that is one of the things that come with flats vs clipless. Walking uphill on somewhat slippery ground isn’t as easy as it had been with the Tahoe shoes.
The toe box of the shoe feels sturdy and (as a whole) the shoe feels tough and tear-resistant.

I have not worn the shoes in extremely wet conditions, but they have experienced sloppier trail days and I came away with my feet dry.
I can't say that the material will keep your feet warm, so you may want to invest in a shoe cover of some sort. On colder days I've started to wear wool socks to keep the heat in.

Overall I really enjoy these shoes. When compared to my Tahoe shoes that I beat up this season, I feel the soles of the 2FO shoes are grippier and allowed me to have more successful climbs. After a few rides I felt they were a comfortable shoe and appreciated their strength and durability; it seems these shoes can take a beating!
 

I think these are an excellent flat shoe for new women mountain bikers to try out. Especially for those who aren’t interested in a clipless system. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my shoes and I’ve had them less than a month! (Since writing this review...October 31st)

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