Specialized 2FO Roost Flat Review
Cons: Somewhat loose fit in the forefoot
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Specialized 2FO Roost Flat
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|$149.35 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Grippy soles, casual looks, reasonable price, versatility, lightweight||Excellent pedal grip, comfortable, true all-mountain performance||Great pedal grip, sturdy construction, protective features, comfortable||Impressive grip, protective, reasonable price||Supremely versatile, excellent ventilation, tacky grip, easy to walk in|
|Cons||Somewhat loose fit in the forefoot||On the expensive side of the spectrum, Stealth rubber wears more quickly||Heavier weight, sizing runs a little small||Heavier weight, limited breathability||Not a dedicated mountain bike shoe, less supportive sole|
|Bottom Line||A versatile new flat pedal shoe with great grip and a casual style||The benchmark for flat pedal shoes, a true all-arounder that looks as good as it performs||A comfortable, beefy shoe with loads of protection well suited to gravity riding||A reasonably priced, versatile flat pedal shoe that offers strong performance and even stronger value||A versatile shoe for those riders who value adventure over all-out singletrack shredding|
|Rating Categories||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Ride Concepts Power...||Ride Concepts Livewire||Five Ten TrailCross LT|
|Fit and Comfort (25%)|
|Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)|
|Specs||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Ride Concepts Power...||Ride Concepts Livewire||Five Ten TrailCross LT|
|Rubber Type||SlipNot ST||Stealth S1||DST 4.0 MAX GRIP||Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip||Stealth Phantom|
|Tread Pattern||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Dot|
|Weight per Shoe (ounces)||12.96 (size 43.5)||14.11 (size 11)||16.97 (size 11)||16.15 (size 11)||14.15 (size 10)|
|Weight per Shoe (grams)||367 (size 43.5)||399 (size 11)||467 (size 11)||458 (size 11)||400 (size 10)|
|Upper Materials||Leather/textile||Synthetic Leather||Welded microfiber||Synthetic/mesh||Synthetic/textile|
|Insole||Body Geometry||AM/MT insole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Specialized is one of, if not the, largest brand in the cycling industry and they make everything you can think of including a full line of mountain bike shoes. The 2FO Roost is a new flat pedal model in their line that masterfully blends casual style, versatility, and tenacious pedal grip. These moderately priced shoes are impressively lightweight, yet they still provide excellent power transfer, a solid connection to the pedals, and all-day comfort. They aren't the absolute stiffest or most protective shoes we tested, but they quickly became a tester favorite for trail rides of any length.
Five Ten's Stealth rubber has set the benchmark by which the sole grip of all other flat pedal shoes have been judged. Try as they might, few brands have been able to replicate that level of grip, until now. Specialized's new SlipNot SuperTacky (ST) rubber is some of the grippiest we've ever tested. While testing the 2FO Roost, our feet felt glued to the pedals with that "almost clipped-in" feel. Whether powering up techy climbs or blasting down rough sections of trail, the shoe-pedal connection was rock solid.
The soles of the 2FO Roost have a raised hexagonal tread pattern with their new SlipNot ST rubber compound. The hexagonal dots are moderate height underfoot with good spacing and vertical edges that do a great job of grabbing a hold of the pedal pins. The rubber is soft enough that the pins sink in nicely for a very strong, positive grip. Whenever our feet were weighted on the pedals they were locked in and not going anywhere. Due to the soft, tacky nature of the rubber, we found that repositioning the foot required intention, and a conscious unweighting of the foot to get the pins to unlock from the sole. The sole itself is quite supportive, though it allows for just enough flex to conform slightly to the pedal when fully weighted for a communicative pedal feel while the EVA midsole helps to dampen some vibration. We had the opportunity to test our 2FO Roost shoes in the cold along with some mud and snow, and we found their impressive grip to be generally unaffected by these adverse conditions.
Off the bike, we found the 2FO Roost shoes to offers similar levels of grip. Like most flat pedal shoes, however, they don't provide the best traction in sloppy or muddy conditions, but the SlipNot ST rubber performed well on most other surfaces. We felt sure-footed when hiking up rock slabs or back up the trail to session that tricky rock garden a few more times. The soles feature a little texture added between the raised tread dots at the toe, heel, and along the outside edges, as well as a deeper tread depth under the heel for additional walking traction.
Fit and Comfort
Specialized has years of experience making mountain bike shoes and that shows in the fit and comfort of the 2FO Roost. As usual, they've incorporated their Body Geometry features into this shoe, including their comfortable and supportive footbed. We found our size 43.5 test pair to fit true to size with a crowd-pleasing, medium volume fit that should work for the majority of foot shapes. The leather and suede uppers are supple, with just enough protection for most riding scenarios short of riding the DH rig all day at the bike park.
The 2FO Roost has what we would call a medium volume fit. We feel that it should work well for most riders, except for those in the super-wide or super-narrow ends of the foot shape spectrum. The Body Geometry footbed is nicely shaped and provides a nice cradle for the heel and support for the arch. The heel pocket is relatively deep and it holds the heel securely in place, even when hiking your bike. Our only real gripe with the fit of these shoes is that we found the toe box to be a bit roomy. While this roominess didn't detract from the shoe's comfort, we did find it to feel a little vague from a fit standpoint. The laces don't extend down very far on the shoe, so there isn't really any way to tighten this portion of the shoe over the forefoot.
The supple leather and suede uppers conform nicely to the foot. Instead of traditional foam, Specialized used XPEL Airmesh in the lining of the 2FO Roost, a material that they claim has similar impact protection properties with enhanced breathability and reduced weight. Besides the tongue and heel pocket/ankle cuff, there is little padding inside these shoes. The toe of the shoe has a raised rubber rand that adds some reinforcement and protection for the toes, but besides that, they offer minimal protection for the feet. Those who prioritize foot protection may be a little underwhelmed, but we feel they will likely be enough for most trail and all-mountain riders.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
Specialized has designed the 2FO Roost with a sole that strikes what we would consider being a nearly perfect balanced sole stiffness. It is stiff enough to feel efficient while pedaling with just enough give to have a good pedal feel while descending and adequate flex through the toe to make walking feel normal. They are not the stiffest shoes we tested, instead, they occupy that comfortable, and dare we say ideal, middle ground between the too soft and too stiff extremes.
From the ball of foot back, the soles of the 2FO Roost are stiffer than average and power transfer feels quite efficient. There is still plenty of flex through the toe from the ball of the foot forward to facilitate a normal gait while walking. There are stiffer soled shoes for sure, but we never felt like our power was being wasted or our feet or calves were getting fatigued through excessive sole flex. Out of the saddle, the sole flex was slightly more noticeable, though we never felt like it was an issue. We'd happily take these shoes out for all-day, pedal-heavy trail riding epics.
On the descents, we were also impressed by the balance of the 2FO Roost's sole stiffness. There was just enough rigidity to keep our feet and calves from feeling overworked on rough sections or long descents, with the slightest bit of flex that helped enhance pedal grip and feel. Some stiffer soled shoes can sometimes make the pedals feel vague underfoot or like they wanted to bounce off the pedal in super rough terrain, that is not the case with the 2FO Roost.
We were pleasantly surprised by the breathability of the 2FO Roost shoes. While they aren't the most breathable shoes we tested, their average performance was impressive given the relatively minimal ventilating features of the uppers. Hidden inside the shoe, Specialized cleverly incorporated XPEL Airmesh in the lining, which helps to draw moisture away from the feet and allows them to dry quickly.
Looking at the 2FO Roost, they seem like they'd probably be a pretty warm pair of shoes. Leather and suede isn't the most breathable combination, and the uppers are perforated by 5 rows of small holes on either side of the mid-foot and just a couple across the top of the upper toe box. Given the minimal ventilation holes, they don't have a particularly airy feel, though we rarely found them to feel too warm on our test rides. The XPEL Airmesh lining seemed to work quite effectively inside the shoes, drawing moisture away and drying quickly to prevent the shoes from ever feeling too damp or clammy inside.
After weeks of testing the 2FO Roost in a broad range of conditions, we have no durability concerns to report. They appear to be a well-made pair of shoes and the quality of craftsmanship seems top notch. They've seen their fair share of dust and mud, been scraped on sharp bushes, stumps, and rocks, and even gotten super wet on snowy fat bike rides. Despite that, the leather/suede uppers and stitching appear to be in great shape and the soles remain well bonded.
While we didn't experience any major durability issues in our test period, we have minor concerns about the longevity of the suede-like material used at the toe and heel of the shoe. Due to its more porous nature and supple feel, we do feel it could be susceptible to damage in some of the more abrasion prone areas. This is only speculation, of course, but we feel it is worthy of mention. The SlipNot ST rubber used on the soles does show some evidence of pin-scarring, maybe a touch more than some other models with harder rubber, though it doesn't strike us unusual given their impressive grip.
At first glance, the 2FO Roost don't exactly look like lightweight shoes. Looks can be deceiving, however, and Specialized has created an impressively lightweight shoe. Our Euro size 43.5 (size 10) test pair weighed in at 735-grams (367.5-grams per shoe average) or just 25.93 ounces. It is among the lightest weight shoes in the test, and they certainly feel light on the feet.
The light weight of the 2FO Roost makes them a great candidate for trail riders seeking a high-performing shoe that won't weigh them down over the course of a long ride. No, they don't feel nearly as protective as some of the burlier and heavier models we tested, so they might not be the best aggressive downhill or enduro race shoe. That said, we feel they're still a highly versatile option that can span the spectrum of most riding styles, and they'll help you save a little energy over time.
We feel the 2FO Roost are a great value. At retail, they fall just about in the middle of the price spectrum of the shoes that we've tested, yet they perform better than some options that cost more. Considering the well-rounded performance, versatility, and outstanding grip of these shoes, we feel it's money well spent.
Don't let the casual style of the 2FO Roost fool you, these are some of the best flat pedal shoes we've tested. Specialized's new SlipNot ST rubber and the hexagonal tread provide some of the best pedal grip on the market, and the well-designed sole provides an excellent balance of power transfer, pedal feel, and off the bike walkability. They aren't the stiffest or most protective, but these lightweight shoes provide a high level of comfort and versatility, and we'd recommend them to anyone seeking a good-looking and quality shoe at a fair price.
— Jeremy Benson
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