Spe­cial­ized 2FO Flat 2.0 shoes £130

Mountain Biking UK - - WRECKED & RATED - Rob

With the help of the Coastal Crew and some rather fancy live data-log­ging equip­ment, Spe­cial­ized set about rec­ti­fy­ing the prob­lems many of us had with their orig­i­nal 2FO flat pedal shoes. These new 2.0 ver­sions are the re­sult.

Changes to the up­per are sub­tle. The toe box is more or less un­al­tered, save for the re­moval of vent­ing per­fo­ra­tions above the toes, which makes the shoes bet­ter at fend­ing off splashes. While the in­side an­kle is still raised for pro­tec­tion against crank knocks, it’s not as heav­ily padded. The tongue is thicker, and there’s a rear loop to help you get the shoes on.

It’s the sole where there are big dif­fer­ences. Flex­i­bil­ity, com­fort and trac­tion on the pedal have all been dra­mat­i­cally im­proved, and the arch doesn’t feel as prom­i­nent. The new sole is made from a re­vised ‘SlipNot 2.0’ rub­ber com­pound that’s far tack­ier than the orig­i­nal. As be­fore, some of the tread on the toe and heel is more pro­nounced, to help when off the bike. But the tread blocks on the new shoes are smaller and less tightly packed.

While the orig­i­nal shoes were quite stiff, the new ones have a far more for­giv­ing feel, thanks in part to the cush­ioned EVA foam mid-sole. This also feels shal­lower and pro­vides bet­ter feed­back from the ped­als. In terms of weight, the 2.0s trump their pre­de­ces­sors by nearly 100g, with a pair of size 43s tip­ping the scales at just 736g.

On the trail, the 2FO Flat 2.0s give an in­stantly con­nected feel, in terms of both pedal grip and feed­back. The added flex­i­bil­ity and cush­ion­ing doesn’t seem to de­tract from ped­alling ef­fi­ciency mas­sively, but does help to im­prove trac­tion and com­fort. Af­ter rat­tling down alpine de­scents, our feet didn’t feel beaten up in the slight­est. We’ve had a cou­ple of in­ci­dences when rough sec­tions have bumped our feet out of po­si­tion slightly, but for the most part the shoes have kept them glued to the ped­als. The SlipNot 2.0 sole isn’t quite as tacky as the Five Ten equiv­a­lent, but it’s not far off.

Off the bike, the 2FO Flat 2.0s are some of the com­fi­est shoes we’ve worn, with no heel slip, mak­ing them fan­tas­tic for hike-a-bike sec­tions and ses­sion­ing bits of trail. While not quite as airy as their pre­de­ces­sors, they still dry rapidly af­ter a soak­ing. Af­ter a cou­ple of months’ use, the soles on our test sam­ples are more chewed up than we’d have ex­pected, though the wear seems to have slowed down now.

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