Specialized 2FO ClipLite Lace - Women's Review
Cons: Footbeds are awkward to walk in
Our Analysis and Test Results
Updated 2FO ClipLite
Specialized no longer makes the lace version of this shoe in a women's version, but you can get the Boa version, which features two Boa S2 Snap dials.
Hands-On Review of the 2FO ClipLite Lace
Our testers were impressed by the all-around versatility of the Specialized 2FO Cliplite Lace. After riding through a wide variety of terrain, the 2FO proved itself as a lightweight and capable shoe when pedaling uphill. We enjoyed it on every type of ride from long, grinding cross country missions, to laps on the backyard trails, and even bike park days.
This shoe is a bit bulkier than other shoes we tested, however, we appreciated the extra protection in technical rock gardens and hike-a-bike sections of trail. The extended cleat slot, dubbed the Landing Strip, makes clipping in and out a breeze. It also allows you to set the cleats further back for a more comfortable and confident stance when descending. This shoe is well suited for its designed purpose of enduro riding and really shines on all-mountain rides, but can comfortably be worn in any terrain.
Power Transfer and Grip
The 2FO Cliplite features a stiff nylon composite sole that provides solid power transfer in all pedaling situations with no noticeable flex. We primarily tested these shoes with small platform trail pedals, like our Shimano M530s, but they are also stiff enough to use with no platform pedals, like our Shimano M540s. We appreciate the support these shoes provided on long rides and in technical sections of trail.
Other shoes we tested offer more rigidity and power transfer, such as those with carbon soles, but we feel the 2FO Cliplite's blend of power and comfort is a good match for many riders.
Comfort and Breathability
The 2FO Cliplite is one of the more comfortable shoes we tested and earned high marks as a result. The stiff thermobonded uppers are balanced with soft interior padding that mold to your feet after a few days on the trail. These shoes feature a roomy toe box with light padding throughout the forefoot and thicker padding around the heel and ankles. Initially, we thought the padded heel cup would cause chafing, but we found these fears unfounded after riding for hours straight with zero hotspots. The toebox also features an asymmetrical rubber reinforcement around the big toe, adding additional foot protection.
The uppers are water-resistant and kept our feet dry during creek crossings, but we found that they were not as breathable as other shoes we tested. There is a small panel of mesh near the toe box that allows some air in but not as much as we would like.
Specialized uses an angled Body Geometry footbed, which they claim improves foot, knee, and hip alignment for more efficient pedaling. It works well, and we did notice that we spent less time tinkering with cleat placement to find the right position. The downside, as we'll discuss below, is that we found the stiff sole to be awkward when walking.
Traction and Walkability
The 2FO Cliplite is less impressive when walking, and many other shoes we tested were more comfortable. Specialized uses its proprietaryown Slip Not rubber sole material, which is not quite as grippy as other compounds. Still, it provides plenty of traction for most trail conditions, except for slippery wet logs. The tread design includes raised dots with shallow grooves around the cleat pocket, providing plenty of traction in most dusty conditions. The pattern lacks a little bit of bite on muddy, wet trails, though. On the upside, the flat tread pattern didn't pick up any debris or gunk on the trail and worked well with platform style pedals.
The soles hard rubber, which provides solid power transfer, makes them inflexible and a little uncomfortable when walking. We appreciate that the sole is rockered from the cleat forward, helping the shoe roll through each step.
After many miles in these shoes, they show almost no signs of wear on the uppers. Specialized's Slip Not sole is a hard rubber compound that stood up to plenty of hike-a-bike adventures. The shoe features an EVA foam midsole that is a much softer material, and we expect that the exposed part of the midsole might show more signs of wear over time.
The laces are inexpensive and easily replaceable and another version is made with a Boa dial closure. While Boa systems can allow for more precise fit, they are potentially more delicate and definitely more complicated to repair. See the end of the article for more information.
These shoes are some of the lighter of those we tested, which is impressive considering they are a bit bulkier than some of the competitors. Specialized's claimed weight for the 2FO Cliplite is 349g per shoe in size 39. Our test pair came in at 315g per shoe for a size 38. The shoes are bulky when compared to the minimalistic shoes we tested, but we found the extra protection to be worth the extra weight and they did not feel cumbersome.
At $120, we found the 2FO Cliplite Lace to be a great value for a versatile all-around trail shoe. It provides good protection, power transfer, and comfort all in one durable pair of shoes. These shoes fall into the mid-range price point of the shoes we tested but ranked higher than more expensive shoes.
The combined versatility, comfort, and style of 2FO Cliplite Lace earned this shoe high marks for all styles of riding except for dedicated XC-racing. This shoe balances comfort and performance while inspiring confidence in bike handling. Though it's designed with enduro riders in mind, this shoe competently handles all styles of trail riding. We'd recommend the 2FO Cliplite Lace to riders looking for one shoe that can handle it all.
— Jenn Sheridan