Specialized 2FO Cliplite Shoes – Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Kaz Yamamura (unless noted)
Date Nov 5, 2015

Specialized nailed it with the first 2FO (Foot Out Flat Out) clipless shoes in almost every department. They are light, comfortable, stiff (with enough flex for walking comfort), and they fit great – more like a skate shoe than a glass slipper. The Cliplite is an evolution that shaves 70 grams per shoe and puts more emphasis on your Strava times. Specialized says they are aimed at performance Enduro and trail riding but I’d be comfortable using them in gravity applications because the protection is adequate.

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The 2FO Cliplite is a slimmed down version of the original 2FO – launched just last year.

The most obvious difference between the Cliplite and the original 2FO is the fastening system. The Boa closure system (a mechanical reel that pulls a loop of wire tight across the shoe when turned by hand) is apparently in use in 25 million applications world wide. In my experience it’s reliable, precise and secure. The dual Boa S2 Snap system on the 2FO is different than a standard Boa, which tightens with a turn and then is released by pulling up on the mechanism until it pops up and releases tension. The Boa S2 tightens in one direction (clockwise on the right shoe and counter clockwise on the left) and then loosens incremental by turning in the opposite direction. This allows the rider to more easily fine tune the fit or loosen things a little, without fully releasing, when you are off the bike. The S2 is easily replaced as a complete unit, whereas other Boas require disassembly during replacement. The Boas are covered by a lifetime guarantee.

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The Boa system has been reliable and convenient. The velcro strap provides a little protection but little else.

Next you may notice that the Cliplite is a slimmer shoe, particularly in the waist of the sole. The original 2FO’s lugs continued in this area but it’s raised and smooth on the Cliplite, presumably to shave some weight. The fit is slightly narrower and significantly more supportive.

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The sole, while pared down, uses the same Slipknot rubber sole found on both the clipless and flat pedal version of the original 2FO for excellent traction. The ‘Landing Strip’ cleat pocket guides your cleat into the pedal effectively. The extended cleat slot allows you to position your cleat further back for DH performance.

The Cliplite is said to have the same nylon composite plate as the standard 2FO but it feels stiffer to me, perhaps because of the pared down last and precise fit. Thankfully, like the other 2FO, these walk more like a sneaker than a road shoe and they are very comfy.

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While streamlined and minimalist, there is protection where you need it in the heel cup and toe cap.

Despite having fewer perforations for ventilation, I didn’t notice the Cliplite to be warmer on hot days than its predecessor. When the rain comes however my feet were better protected and I stayed drier. The gusseted tongue also helps repel water and debris.

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Bowling shoe chic.

I was skeptical about a white shoe on the muddy and mucky North Shore – but they still look great after several months of abuse. Photo – Cam McRae

The 2FO Cliplite hasn’t given me much to complain about. And I like to complain. I guess I could dig deep and take issue with the single density insole – with minimal support. It seems to me that for US$180/CDN$240 it would be nice to have a customizable arch support and a more advanced insole, but I haven’t had any issues with stock trim. Specialized offers better insoles with interchangeable arch supports for about twenty bucks.

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In use on Crippler on Mount Fromme.

I’ve been very pleased with the 2FO Cliplite. So much so that I’ve decided it’ll be my shoe of choice when I head to Peru for two weeks of riding at the end of November. There will likely be a lot of hike-a-biking, and while there are better clipless shoes for hiking, including those with Vibram soles, they sacrifice stiffness, fit and performance more than I’d like. Specialized nailed it once again with these kicks. For me the Cliplites strike the perfect balance between comfort and performance with full marks for durability, attention to detail, fit and features. The cliplite comes in four colours for men and two for women.

Head to specialized.com for more on these shoes.


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Comments

bogdan-m
0
Bogdan M  - Nov. 7, 2015, 6:37 a.m.

Hey Cam … I'd read in another review that these feel a little weird due to the slight camber that specialized has on the forefoot … apparently they are slightly angled to give you better power when seated … did you notice this or had any issues while standing?

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Nov. 7, 2015, 9:25 a.m.

All the Specialized shoes I have owned over the years have that slightly angled fit. I've never really noticed it. It's their body geometry dealio. I gues it works or at least doesn't detract from anything. I will say that this pair of Pearl Izumi shoes I have make my left knee move in and my calf rubs the bottle cage. And my old Shimano XC shoes feel canted out although I don't think they are intended to be. They are the heat moulded version so perhaps my feet mould that way?

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brumos
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brumos  - Nov. 6, 2015, 2:31 p.m.

Any heel lift when walking/hiking? I 've been using a pair of Shimano M200 and am less the pleased with them in terms of heel support.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 6, 2015, 3:54 p.m.

No issue there for me - and I have skinny ankles.

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - Nov. 7, 2015, 6:32 p.m.

I've had this problem pretty consistently with Shimano's. I should know better than to stray from Spec shoes.

Reply

blackbird
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tw  - Nov. 6, 2015, 11:27 a.m.

Also important to remember that the boas have a lifetime warranty. Go directly to the boa site and order the ones you need and they cover you.

I have the 2fo and agree with your assessment. I would like to know about the toe protection on the Cl. Is it the same? An odd question, but it turned out to be much more important than I realized while riding.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 6, 2015, 3:54 p.m.

I did mention the lifetime warranty. Hopefully that means it isn't needed very often.

The toe protection is asymmetrical - which leads me to believe it's slimmed down when compared to the regular 2FO. It seems adequate to me - but certainly not bombproof.

Reply

blackbird
0
tw  - Nov. 6, 2015, 4:46 p.m.

Thanks. I mentioned the site because it is the most efficient way of getting the new boas rather than returning to the place where you bought the shoes. (Dizzy actually charged people for these)

Been using s works shoes for years. Doesn't happen often but with enough dust and dirt, it happens.

Reply

tashi
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tashi  - Nov. 5, 2015, 11:14 p.m.

Any insights on how these compare to the Rime shoes?

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Nov. 6, 2015, 9:36 a.m.

I haven't tried the Rimes Tashi but Stuart reviewed them a couple of years back. It seems the Rime is closer to a traditional XC shoe (particularly in styling) but with a sole that is better for walking. They are heavier as well.

Reply

craw
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Cr4w  - Nov. 7, 2015, 8:21 p.m.

Any chance you could compare them to Terraduros?

Reply

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