If you're looking for grip and lots of it, these Specialized 2FO DH shoes deliver
Specialized’s latest generation flat pedal shoes have the grippiest, stickiest rubber soles on the market. Yep, you heard that bold statement right – these 2FO Flat shoes have a more locked on feel against pedals than renowned kings of grip and market-leaders, Five Ten.
It’s a consequence of a third-generation Slipnot rubber and a very broad/wide sole, treaded with a kind of honeycomb pattern that meshes into pedal pins. This latest ST rubber blend is so sticky and slow rebounding you’re basically in another berm before it’s pinged back at you. This excellent damping is backed up by grip levels stickier than Pooh Bear’s paw dipped in honey.
Whether or not you need so much foothold, when the best modern flat pedals tend to be grippy anyway, is slightly up for debate. The 2FO can be hard to reposition if you set off or put your foot back on after a corner slightly in the wrong position. Basically, you need to physically lift your foot up to move it; it’s impossible to shuffle it into place.
This class-leading grip means it’s the most secure shoe around in horrible muddy conditions on the roughest tracks though, and the 2FO gets even better after a few weeks use, when it starts to settle into the points where feet focus rider weight into pedals and conform the sole and inner sole to your exact riding position.
Sheer grip isn’t all the 2FO has got either. This is no bog-standard skate shoe, as it uses Specialized’s cycling-specific inner footbed with subtle and effective cambers and profiles to align the ankle for better pedalling efficiency and spread the toes so the foot doesn’t claw over pedals. Comfy to wear all day, the midsole is thicker than most and excellent at absorbing shocks hammered into the feet by repeated bumps.
The DH model here has an upper that’s more protective and supportive than the thinner, less chunky, Roost version, with a raised inside edge on the crank side and toe box reinforcement. Using materials that repel water and splashes, it also dries really quickly from wet.
Specialized really has thought of everything here, but some riders might not appreciate that the foot sits a bit further away from the pedal thanks to that shock-absorbing EVA foam midsole – think Five Ten Impact rather than Freerider – and Specialized’s orthotics and immoveable sole grip also mean there’s slightly less sensory connection with the pedal than some thinner, less grippy riding shoes if you’re, say, riding dirt jumps or pump tracks.
Our only other complaint is it’s very easy to crush the heel if you’re lazy about putting them on or taking them off. You really need to loosen the laces and use both hands to pull them on to keep the structural integrity.
- Best mountain bike flat pedal shoes
- Best action cameras for mountain biking
- Brilliant bike upgrades that won’t bust the bank
As a heavy-duty, protective, sturdy, durable and ultra-grippy shoe for aggressive DH and enduro riding on flat pedals that will last ages without falling apart, look no further though. And some of the concerns mentioned in the last paragraph about sensitivity are diminished once the shoe fully beds in over time too.