Great Shoes, Not for Spinning.
Specialized 2FO Cliplite in horrible green...
Summary at a Glance:
The 2FO Cliplite is a lightweight, easy to use, super durable enduro race shoe. Great for all the things that make it horrible for spinning. Inexpensive given the performance. Many color choices.
Shoe: Specialized 2FO Carbon
Pros: Lightweight, Stiff, Easy to use, Easy to walk, "Bro" styling.
Cons: Hot, Upper too stiff, "Bro" styling. Not for spinning. Really, don't do it.
Are They Good For Spin? Let me start by saying that these shoes are not for spinning. Shoes like this don't work with Lululemon tights, puffy coat, designer handbag and resting bitch face. These shoes are for kids and adults who act like kids. They're for hurling yourself down a mountain at Mach speeds, dirt jumping or hanging with friends you call "Bro's". If you don't use that vernacular, they're not for you. Even though they're not for spinning doesn't mean they're not amazing at what they do and believe it or not, I've seen people spin in similar attire. These shoes are a great example of when you shouldn't listen to Timmy the bike shop kid and buy them simply because they're "walkable". You shouldn't be walking around in your spin shoes. They're not for that. You don't want to walk around in your ski boots or your ballerina toe shoes. If you walk around in your spin shoes you'll ruin your cleats, slip around and worse yet walk like a duck. That's all in a proper pair of spin shoes but these Specialized 2FO Cliplites aren't them. They are for someone though...
Who Wants These? The kinds of people who Specialized markets the 2FO Cliplite are nearly alien to me. They say things like “Brah, are there any more Red Bull’s in the cooler?” and “You cased that so hard!” and have every Andreu Lacondeguy clip saved to their phones (just google him, it'll make sense). They wear YT tee shirts, drive high mileage beater Camrys or dusty pickups, date girls who still feel comfortable in wayfarers and trucker hats, and could care less about spin class. These folks need style, durability, protection, and function and Specialized gave it to them in these kicks. But how they come across isn’t quite the whole story. There’s some serious tech built under the surface of these groms because at their heart, they’re made for racing. Specifically Enduro racing. It's an up and coming trend right now in the US that's been rocking out for years already abroad. Specialized does not want to be late to the game on our own soil.
Boa Durability: People say to me daily “is this string thingy durable?” The dual boa dials Specialized has spec’d is the right move. Dirt and grime won’t clog them up and gram for gram the lace itself is stronger than tank armor. If something does wear out then they’re rebuild-able with a simple tool. You can make micro-adjustments on the fly without un-lacing and re-lacing, and they look cool as hell. Besides, do kids even learn to lace shoes anymore? I always see them dragging the ground and looking sloppy. The 2FO”s work style-wise with baggy jeans and crooked trucker hats, full TLD race suits, and even work well clutching your beater truck home after a few hours dirt jumping or shuttling the mountain out back.
How to get in: The process is to un-hook the top boa from the loop thingy, get your foot in there and then loop it back, tighten to desired tightness and then you’re good. I suppose it’s about as tough as most cycling shoes to get into but the styling of the 2FO’s don’t imply the same process.
Are They Stiff Enough? Did I mention they’re stiff as hell? Dang. I kinda wish they weren’t. I want them to be a bit softer inside. I want to slide into them like the sneakers they look like. The soul is as stiff as my Sidi Draco mountain bike race shoes but you’d never know it by looking at them. Everything north of the insole is stiff as well. Don’t get me wrong, stiff is good but if they added more mesh on the upper they’d breath a whole lot better and my normal width foot would be more comfortable in them on long days. You’ve really got to break them in before they start being your daily driver. Speaking of comfort, they bruised my heel. I don't know how and I'm an expert but after a few long days in them, my heel was definitely hurting. How that happens? I don't know. And if it will happen to you, I don't know either. It's the first time it's ever happened to me so I'd try them on with the socks you intend on wearing with them before blindly buying them or any shoe for that matter.
Do They Run Cool? I should also mention they don't let your feet breath and could use a bit more ventilation. I'll just say that your feet will run on the hotter side. You’ll need thinner socks to keep the temps consistent but the kids who are buying them aren’t wearing performance synthetic socks, they’re wearing cotton socks mommy bought at Walmart. Cotton is the devil but I’ll touch more on that in another rant. In the mean time, I’ll just say that they’re no hot-summer-day shoe. Your feet will sweat and wish for relief. All of which leads me to say that these kicks DO NOT BELONG IN A SPIN CLASS. They belong swinging off the back of a lifted Tacoma tail-gate after a great day of enduro racing, with your loving dog nearby chasing vermin up trees.
Are They Affordable? At $180 they're not cheap but they are a bargain for what you're getting. Another shoe this light and stiff would cost you more. If you want to spend less and can deal with laces, there's a version for $150 called the 2FO. They're nice too but they'll take even longer getting into and out of.
Summarize it: Although they might look like a casual, kick back enduro cycling sneaker, they're fucking performers. They’re light, stiff, and grippy. They don’t slip off of rocks, you could kick trees, land wrong casing a double and chill at the truck after your run and they’ll do all that with ease. They get in and out of your pedals quickly and securely, hold your foot in place perfectly and don’t seem to cause any discernible pain, rubbing, or cause any sort of numbness. At this point I won't blame them for my heel pain as it's truly an oddity in the cycling shoe industry for that to happen. They won’t do tap-backs, Torqboards, or choreography. They don’t work with yoga pants and stay away from the monster-green they gave me. It’s a horrible color and won’t last half a walk on the runway. Other than that, I love them. I love the dual boa, I love the secure feeling, I love the casual yet killer attitude they bring to a ride. I won't be hurling myself down a mountain in them as intended but I will be riding to work in them until I find something better. I’m keeping them, I like them, but I’m not spinning in them.