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Specialized 2FO Cliplite Review

Our Top Pick for Enduro Racers, the 2FO Cliplite is a unique looking shoe packed with performance and features from one of the biggest brands in the bike industry.
The 2018 Specialized 2FO ClipLite
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $180 List
Pros:  Lightweight, comfortable, versatile, Boa closures, styling, reasonable price
Cons:  Roomy toe-box, slip-not rubber could be more grippy
Manufacturer:   Specialized
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 27, 2018
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Power Transfer - 30% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Traction Walkability - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 9

Our Verdict

Winner of our Top Pick for Enduro Racers, the Specialized 2FO Cliplite is an enduro and all-mountain trail shoe with performance and features that nearly all riders will appreciate. The 2FO Cliplite is well suited for its intended purpose of enduro and all-mountain riding while also meeting the demands of gravity oriented riders and XC trail riders tackling adventurous backcountry terrain. The unique look and design highlights the comfort, protection and walkability, but belies the lightweight and impressive power transfer this shoe has to offer. Like other similar shoes, the 2FO Cliplite features a stiff nylon shank that provides a solid platform for transfer of power underfoot, while still providing flex of the sole forward under the toes to make walking during those inevitable dismounts and hike-a-bikes much more tolerable. The 2FO Cliplite is comparable to other shoes in this test like the Giro Terraduro, the Shimano ME7, and the Five Ten Hellcat Pro. Cross-country racers will probably look elsewhere, but the 2FO Cliplite will suit riders of a variety of disciplines with excellent performance and features at a competitive price.

2018 Color Update
Specialized offers new colors for the 2FO Cliplite in 2018. Find out more below.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $180 List$194.97 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$400.00 at Competitive Cyclist$120 List$200.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, comfortable, versatile, Boa closures, styling, reasonable priceLightweight, comfortable, stiff, great power transfer, vibram soles, customizable insolesVery lightweight, stiff carbon soles, Boa closures, well ventilatedLightweight, comfortable, stiff, good foot protection, rubber soles, affordableGrippy rubber soles, good foot protection, comfortable, great power transfer
Cons Roomy toe-box, slip-not rubber could be more grippyNo on-the-fly adjustments, limited foot protection, expensiveExpensive, not good for walking, minimal foot protectionNo on the fly adjustments, narrower fitPotential durability issues
Bottom Line Our Top Pick for Enduro Racers, the 2FO Cliplite is a unique looking shoe packed with performance and features from one of the biggest brands in the bike industry.The Empire VR90 is the lightest, stiffest, and most comfortable shoe in our test and the winner of our Editors' Choice award.The Shimano S-Phyre XC9 is an ultra high performance XC race shoe that offers incredible power transfer and all day comfort.Inexpensive and lightweight, the 2FO Cliplite Lace is a top performer and the winner of our Best Buy Award.The ME7 is a thoughtfully designed, versatile, and high performance all mountain and enduro shoe.
Rating Categories Specialized 2FO Cliplite Giro Empire VR90 Shimano S-Phyre XC9 Specialized 2FO ClipLite Lace Shimano ME7
Power Transfer (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
Comfort (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Traction Walkability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
10
Weight (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
Specs Specialized 2FO... Giro Empire VR90 Shimano S-Phyre XC9 Specialized 2FO... Shimano ME7
Closure 2 Boa S2-Snap dials, velcro strap over the forefoot Laces Dual Boa IP1 Lace Speed lace system and upper ratchet strap, Large velcro panel over laces
Measured Weight (g) 426g 338g 359g 387g 425g
Width Options Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Upper Material Thermobonded upper Microfiber Teijin synthetic leather Thermobonded upper Synthetic
Footbed Specialized Body Geometry SuperNatural Fit KIt with Adjustable Arch Support(3 sizes), X-Static Anit-Microbial Fiber Shimano Pedaling Dynamics with customizeable arch support EVA Extra-cushion insole
Sole Nylon Composite Easton EC90 Carbon Fiber Dynalast carbon fiber Nylon Composite Carbon fiber composite sole/midsole
Outsole SlipNot rubber sole Vibram Mont Molded Rubber High Traction Lugged Outsole, Mid-Foot Scuff Guard, Accomodates Steel Toe Spikes Dual-density Michelin rubber SlipNot rubber sole Michelin rubber outsole
Size Tested 43.5 43.5 43.5 43.5 44

Our Analysis and Test Results

The 2018 2FO ClipLight


For 2018 the 2FO Cliplight comes in classic monochromatic black. The 2018 version is below on the left. The 2017 model we tested is on the right. According to Specialized, that's the only change made.

The 2018 Specialized 2FO ClipLite
Specialized 2FO Cliplite

Performance Comparison


2FO stands for Foot Out Flat Out, and the Cliplite is the top-of-the-line model in Specialized's enduro racing and all-mountain focused line of shoes. The 2FO Cliplite is an enduro and all-mountain particular shoe, but we found it versatile enough for everyday use for everything from long backcountry epics to bike park laps. We tested the Shimano Deore XT model primarily with the small platform XT Trail pedals, but the shoe is well suited for use with full platform pedals such as XPedo GFX, and stiff enough for pedals with no platform such as the Shimano XTR M9000. We took the 2FO Cliplite out for all types of rides including enduro races, huge XC trail rides, even a couple of gravel grinds.

The 2FO Cliplite is extremely versatile and down for any type of riding you want to do. Testing the 2FO Cliplite on Lake Tahoe's East Shore.
The 2FO Cliplite is extremely versatile and down for any type of riding you want to do. Testing the 2FO Cliplite on Lake Tahoe's East Shore.

Comfort


The 2FO Cliplite is most definitely a comfortable shoe, and that became apparent the first time we tried them on. The Thermo-bonded synthetic uppers are stiff to the touch, but the softer lining inside the shoe conforms to your feet within the first couple of rides. The shoe is lightly padded throughout with medium padding around the heel, ankle, and under-the-wrap style tongue. Specialized uses their Body Geometry footbed, which they claim optimizes pedaling efficiency and leg position, and provides good arch support, foot position and a little extra cushion.


This competitor was held onto our feet by two S2 style Boa cables and a Velcro strap closer to the toes. It took several days, but once we realized that you could unhook the Boa cable from the attachment on the medial side of the tongue, it became much easier to get the shoe on and off our feet with the shoe wide open. The shoe's stiff upper material padding, as well as the beefy wide soles, provide the feeling of protection and inspire confidence on the feet. It is worth noting that our test pair in size 43.5 felt a bit roomier and slightly longer than other sized 43.5 shoes in our test selection, like the Giro Terraduro, Empire VR90, and Privateer R.

Boa closures and light padding make the 2FO Cliplite very comfortable for any length ride you want to do.
Boa closures and light padding make the 2FO Cliplite very comfortable for any length ride you want to do.

Weight


Specialized claims the weight of the 2FO Cliplite to be 379g for a size 42, and we found our test pair to weigh in at 426g in size 43.5. This is by no means XC race shoe light, but this isn't an XC race shoe; instead, it is on the lighter side when compared to other comparable shoes.


The weight is almost identical to that of the Shimano ME7, slightly less than the Giro Terraduro, and is significantly lighter than the more gravity oriented Five Ten HellCat Pro. It is a lightweight when considering the full rubber sole and protective feel that these shoes have to offer.

In this corner  weighing in at 426g  the 2FO Cliplite.
In this corner, weighing in at 426g, the 2FO Cliplite.

Power Transfer


At no point during the testing of the 2FO Cilplite did we find that it lacked stiffness in the sole or power transfer to the pedals. Despite the casual look and walkability of these shoes, they have a very stiff nylon shank that has no noticeable flex when pedaling even during the hardest of efforts.


Of course, there are more rigid shoes on the market like the Giro Empire VR90, the Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro and the Sidi Cape, but those shoes are way more expensive, and most riders would be hard pressed to notice a difference in stiffness. The power transfer of the 2FO Cliplite is on par with the other enduro oriented shoes in our test selection like the Giro Terraduro and the Shimano ME7.

The 2FO isn't carbon sole stiff  but it's plenty stiff for most riders who want to lay down some power and leave long trails of dust behind them.
The 2FO isn't carbon sole stiff, but it's plenty stiff for most riders who want to lay down some power and leave long trails of dust behind them.

Traction Walkability


Specialized employs their own "SlipNot" rubber compound for the full coverage outsole of the 2FO Cliplite. The sole design does not use lugs. Instead, they placed lots of shortly raised dots under the toe and heel with shallow horizontal grooves alongside the cleat pocket. This tread design does not pick up any mud, snow, or other debris, although some may occasionally pack in around the cleat like most other shoes.


The SlipNot rubber is less grippy than the Stealth Rubber of the Five Ten HellCat Pro and also of the Vibram soles on the Giro Terraduro. That said, we found it to provide excellent traction on all surfaces but the slipperiest of wet rocks. Also, the lack of lugs doesn't provide much bite in mud or super wet conditions. The sole design also features a fair amount of rocker from the ball of the foot forward, helping the shoe to roll towards the toe and the flexible portion of the sole. The relatively flat tread design of the 2FO Cliplite is also optimized to work with clipless flat pedals, and we could see them providing excellent traction on regular flat pedals in a pinch.

The 2FO's full coverage SlipNot rubber sole with raised traction dots instead of lugs.
The 2FO's full coverage SlipNot rubber sole with raised traction dots instead of lugs.

Durability


After several weeks of testing, we have found the 2FO Cliplite to be very durable.


The uppers show little no signs of abrasion and no tears of any kind. Despite plenty of time walking on rocks, the soles show almost no evidence of wear, likely due to the slightly harder rubber compound that Specialized uses. The Velcro and Boa closures still work correctly, and a lifetime guarantee covers the dials and cables in case of any failure. We have heard of the outsole delaminating from the upper in the toe of the shoe from other people, but so far our test pair has shown no signs of this warranty-able issue.

The 2FO's full coverage rubber outsole offer plenty of traction is comfortable to walk in.
The 2FO's full coverage rubber outsole offer plenty of traction is comfortable to walk in.

Value


At a retail price of $180, the 2FO Cliplite represents a great value. This versatile shoe provides comfort, excellent power transfer, great traction, and appears to be very durable. While it won't necessarily appeal to the XC race crowd, the 2FO Cliplite is versatile enough to tackle virtually all other types of mountain bike riding. The price is also on par with other similar enduro oriented shoes in out test selection like the Giro Terraduro ($180) and the Shimano ME7 ($200).

Testing the 2FO Cliplite in North Lake Tahoe  CA.
Testing the 2FO Cliplite in North Lake Tahoe, CA.

Conclusion


The combination of style, power transfer, comfort, and durability make the Specialized 2FO Cliplite our top pick for enduro racing. But don't be fooled, this versatile shoe is great for much more than just enduro. No matter your style of riding, the 2FO Cliplite has got you covered with a well designed and comfortable shoe that strikes a great balance between on the bike performance and confidence off the bike traction and walkability. We would recommend this shoe to virtually anyone but gram counting XC racers.

Other Versions and Accessories


Specialized makes a range of 2FO shoes including the lace-up 2FO Cliplite Lace ($120), the 2FO Clip ($150), and the 2FO Flat ($130).


Jeremy Benson