Specialized Roost 2FO review update greenshoes
Photos Cam McRae (unless noted)

The Perils of Flat Pedals

Flat pedal mountain biking shoes take a shit kicking. Unlike clipless shoes, their existence involves plunging their softest, stickiest bits onto jagged spikes. Those weapons don't land in the same spot each time either, inflicting fresh wounds, and when their rider isn't in the saddle, that tender layer is pressed into rocks, roots, mud and dirt. It's a recipe for disaster in most cases and shoes lasting a year have often done pretty well.

*Cover Image - Dane Perras

Specialized Roost 2FO review update 1

I didn't fully clean these shoes but I gave them a brush off. It made me realize they are in even better shape than I thought.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update 3

This green pair have been my fair weather shoes. They are a little smaller and perfect for light socks.

Friendly Fire

Seams split, soles come unglued, heel collars break down, allowing foam to break off in chunks, and stitching is rarely a match for rubbing against cranks at 60 to 90 revolutions per minute. When you add a cold and wet climate, things get really challenging. Leather uppers, whether real or synthetic, split more easily when they get soggy.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update green 7

A minor separation of the toecap is worthy of comment because there are so few problems after three years of use. I'll bond it back together with some epoxy if it gets any worse.

Judge Not

These factors leave my expectations about as high as my opinion of Kim Jong Un as a nephew. Generally, I'm on the lookout for a replacement shoe for when the inevitable occurs but in recent years that hasn't been the case. The two pairs of Specialized 2FO Roost shoes I've been wearing for most of the last three years have demolished that trend and they continue to soldier on. They look a little bit haggard, as you can see, but functionally they are undiminished.

If you are interested in my early opinions, which I can stand by confidently, they were penned in February of 2021.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update  13

Being chased by Uncle Dave is okay in these shoes. Photo - Deniz Merdano

Two Covers for Judging

Two pairs? That was a spot of luck. The first pair I was sent was just a little bit big. Not tragically so but not the perfect fit I like in my MTB shoes. As it turns out, the marketing rep who'd sent them to me had a pair that was too big for him but a half size smaller than mine. The larger pair was perfect for winter, when a looser fit and heavier socks come in handy, so he sent his smaller pair to me. The second pair fit like Geppetto himself had molded them to my feet.

You may find yourself thinking that two shoes get only half as much wear. Excellent mathing on your part, but each pair has been ridden a lot. I'd guess 250 rides for the smaller green pair and 120 or more for the black pair, in very nasty conditions. As I often tell my wife, riding is an essential part of my job.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update 9

Apparently I have done more walking in the summer pair. Thanks to the sticky rubber, grip is pretty good. In the snow? Not so much.

Imperfections

They haven't been entirely perfect. The green pair, worn more often but in more moderate weather, have had a small repair. Some stitching on the inside of the left shoe, which is my front foot descending, succombed to serial crank rubbing. About a year ago I pasted it back together with JB Weld epoxy and haven't looked back. The stitching has already worn through in the same spot on the black (winter) pair but the seam hasn't yet begun to succumb.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update 8

This is the worst damage on either pair of shoes. The heel collar has worn through from crank contact but the layer beneath seems even more robust and the upper layer hasn't peeled away at all.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update  15

The green pair are even more haggard in this area but a little epoxy has kept everything together.

Redundancy

Similarly, there is a hole worn through the inside portion of the heel collar of the right, (rear descending) black, nasty weather shoe. Remarkably, while there is a layer of material missing, it has exposed an equally robust layer of fabric that shows no sign of weakness. Building redundancy into your shoes is unheard of. Some manufacturers seem more likely to booby trap them with predetermined failure zones.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update green 6

It turns out my right (rear) foot is where the damage occurs. You can see where pedal pins have dug a canal in two of the hexagonal lugs. Traction, remarkably, is unaffected. This is my fair weather pair.

Specialized Roost 2FO review update 4

The winter shoe, for some reason, has more dispersed damage. Like its summer sibling, grip is undiminished.

The soles have some stories to tell. Both right feet, my rear foot descending, have some nasty battle scars. There are portions of the green right foot where pedal pins have ripped right through one of the hexagonal lugs. The corresponding black shoe's middle section looks pockmarked and pitted like a WWl battle field. Remarkably, both shoes hold the pedal with just the right amount of grip. When my technique is good they never slip, but I can reposition them without unweighting them by sitting down. They aren't quiiiiite as grippy as Fivetens, but that suits me just fine.

When it comes time to replace one or both, I'd line up for these in a flash.

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Comments

Znarf
+5 Velocipedestrian Andy Eunson BarryW flgfish Tjaard Breeuwer

Hey, 

isn´t a pair of really worn riding shoes a wonderful proof of how much riding one got done? 

I struggle with durability of my go-to Fiveten Freerider Pros. I get around half a season before they start to get incredibly soft in the area of the sole where I stand on the pedals. The rubber is still "okay", with a lot of scratches from the pin. But I push rather lightly with my index finger into the sole, I can easily feel my finger from the inside. 

My ankles start to hurt and I get numb feet on rough trails. 

I swap out the shoes for a new pair, which is firm again, BOOM pain goes away. 

I now put in some thin metal insoles (like a spread out tin-can with some wavy pattern) which stiffens them up. That makes the Freerider Pros last 50% longer, before they get soft. But still, even though I ride frequently, I hate tossing so many shoes...

Can you tell us something about this aspect? Are the Specialized 2FOS rather stiff/firm in the sole? Do they stay that way? 

I don´t mean rubber compound, but rather the stiffness of the layer behind the rubber sole...

Cheers

Franz

Reply

antihero919
+3 Cam McRae BarryW flgfish

Hey Franz,  

i found that my 2FOS though not as stiff soled as my freerider pros when both were brand new have maintained a stiff sole whereas the Fivetens overtime had the sole break in to the point where it was maybe a little too soft.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 BarryW

I would agree with that assessment completely. The 2FOs are a little less grippy however so if you like max traction that may be a problem.

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Znarf
+2 Cam McRae BarryW

I like grip, but will give the 2FOs a try. Found the DH and regular flat model for 29€ each. 

If they lack traction for my mtb-taste they’ll be my commuting shoes for the foreseeable future…

Fit consistency of Fiveten shoes has degraded in my experience over the last five years. The soles don’t rip as easily however, but the shoes themselves are lower quality.

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andy-eunson
+4 BarryW Znarf Pete Roggeman TerryP

The softness might be the EVA midsole breaking down. When I worked at Brooks Running shoes in the 80s , EVA midsole shoes were known to break down and lose cushioning pretty fast. One guy I ran with was training for marathons so his mileage was quite high. He got two months from an EVA midsole. I would have thought that the Freerider Pro has a plastic shank for stiffness. Might be interesting the cut one up.

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Znarf
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae

I love how much valuable insight / real life experience there is on the nsmb forums. What are the chances - but most of the time someone turns up with a nugget! Very appreciated!

I’ll cut one up, when I have another set of worn on out ones.

I tend to wear through running shoes as well, mid soles especially.

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Sethimus
+1 Cam McRae

if you want stiff, get the dh version

Reply

antihero919
+2 Cam McRae BarryW

i have two pairs of these same shoes and my experiences mirror yours as well.  i would say that the holy trifecta of comfort, durability and grip are unmatched by any other brand. Sorry Fiveten.  I ride 3-5 times a week and after 2 plus years the first pair though a little rough looking is still holding up amazingly well.  Early on the stitch broke at the same spot as yours, i reached out to Specialized and they promptly warrantied them.  Great customer service.  No problems since so hopefully it was just a issue with the first batch.  I appreciate the understated looks of my black pair and find that they are very comfortable off the bike as well.   The only minor area of improvement that i can see is the toecap.  I feel that the toecap could extend just a little further over the top of the toe box as I too have hooked it few times on roots etc while walking over uneven terrain.  Mine is holding strong  for now though.  My second pair of these shoes currently sit brand new in the closet as Specialized has some great sales on its website from time to time. I couldn't pass up a great deal.  All in all i highly recommend these shoes.

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aztech
+2 Cam McRae BarryW

Specialized make some killer shoes. My first pair of 2FO clip DH’s lasted ~3 years and 600 rides, and got retired as the sole started to split away from the moulded cleat mount. The upper and toe box were in perfect shape.

Pretty sold on the quality, and recommend them to anyone who asks.

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mutton
+2 BarryW aztech

Rad! I have a pair sitting in their box wait for summer. They are a tad tight on my feet so saving for thinner sock days. Boosh!!

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Andeh
+2 Fat_Tony_NJ flgfish

The grip on the new 2FO line is great, but I wish they weren't narrow AF.  I need every bit of the width afforded by an Impact Pro or a Shimano GF6.  What I'd love would be Shimano's upper with Specialized's rubber.

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Fat_Tony_NJ
+2 Andeh flgfish

Same! My wide feet feel left out by the current crop of riding shoes; especially ones for flats. 5.10 is JUST wide enough, but there's been within-model variability over time.

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Stihlgoin
0

The latest Leatt 2.0 are great for wider feet.  My Shimano soles were getting old and not really gripping anymore (I found my feet sliding outward on some gnarlier, long trails which was unsettling), so I bought a pair sight unseen.  Absolutely perfect fit for my nearly rectangular feet.  I now have two pairs - red and green -Possum Lodge approved.

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kenkienow
+1 cxfahrer

I loved these shoes until my front wheel kicked up a softball-sized rock on a fast descent and directed it at my right big toe.  It was the most painful MTB injury I've had (and I've had a few big ones).  Lots of blood, no break luckily, but ended up losing my big toe nail.

These just don't provide enough toe protection, and for me, the toe box also ends before the spot where my pinky sits.  I had multiple painful pinky impacts too.  I'm sure this isn't as big a factor in less-rocky areas.

This morning I had a similar thing happen (rock kicked up by front wheel at speed).  It plowed right into my right big toe again, but since that previous injury I purchased the burliest-toe-box shoes I could find, some RC Tallacs.  The impact hurt a little, but the shoes largely brushed it off.  I've also had the Tallacs save my toes when I've landed a jump poorly in a rocky/rooty zone, accidentally had my feet rotate forward, and had the toe box go between the pedal and a root/rock.  A bad situation that the Tallac deals with well, the 2FO's...not so much.

So yeah...in my experience, these are great shoes except when your foot hits something hard at speed, which is the kind of riding these shoes seem to be directed at.  And that's why they're a no-go from me.

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Hbar
+1 Cam McRae

Long term/follow up reviews always appreciated! However, as a reviewer have you ridden all sorts of pedals wearing these shoes?  I only have One Up composite pedals, and each of their relatively thin screws has worn a deep (2-3 mm) ,and long (~ 1 cm) channel in my 2FO soles, deep enough that I've had to shoe-goo them. I might be a foot-slider, though. 

Shoe uppers are holding up well, however. A regarding stiffness, I've found these on a par with my Freerider Pros, but the 2FOs feel like they have a thicker 'platform' that takes some getting used to (for me).

Reply

JVP
+2 Hbar Cam McRae

Skinny pins on composite pedals just shred shoes. I went back to aluminum, between plastic bodies not lasting long, no replacement axles available when they get bent, and the shoe wear, I found "saving" money on composites cost me more.

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Timer
0

What’s the connection between composite and shoe wear? I don’t see it. There are plenty of plastic pedals with pins of regular thickness.

Though if you are in the habit of bending steel pedal axles, anything less than extra burly forged aluminium pedals might be a bad idea.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Hbar

Apologies - an omission on my part!

I have mostly been using pedals with 4mm pins with these shoes. The grip is too much with 3mm and, as noted, they tear up shoes. They also tear up flesh. When I do use 3mm pins I wear Crankbrothers shoes to find another avenue for my sweet spot.

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BarryW
+1 Cam McRae

Great review update Cam. 

I just untied my pair of these after a long day on my feet at work actually, haha. 

I got two pairs recently on super year end clearance at like $35 a piece and they are pretty great shoes. Although as I'm a 90% clipped rider I have yet to wear these on the trail. 

But based on the performance it would be a tough call on whether to buy another pair of CB Mallets which I currently use or a pair of 2FO clip shoes.

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LWK
+1 Cam McRae

as a couple others have mentioned, really appreciate this sort of long term follow up!  

Previously on 5.10 Impact Pros and now riding the 2FO DH version for the past several months and I do like them.  For me, its a toss up between the two for function and I'll ride whichever I can find the best deal on.

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cam@nsmb.com
0

It's been awhile since I've worn any fivetens aside from the Trailcross Goretex, which I find too sticky for me. Do you notice a grip difference between the Impact Pros and the 2FOs? 

Also - I just noticed the Impact Pros on sale for 138 CAD online.

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LWK
+1 Cam McRae

grip... so its a bit odd.  I'd say they are roughly equal but also a bit different feel.  Impact Pros feel like they "smear" into the pedal for grip.  the 2FO's seem to have a bit more of a "clicky" grip feel to them and I'd say its a bit harder to adjust foot position.  Its hard to describe and not sure that makes sense but that is the best I can describe it for me.  I think I prefer the Impact Pros but the 2FO is the first alternative I've tried that I'd happily ride with as well.

for durability, my last pair of Impact Pros lasted ~1.5 seasons, which is an eternity for me - like 2x normal.   so not sure if I got lucky or things have improved on that front.  

I checked after reading this article and my 2FO soles do have a reasonable amount of wear after ~3-4 months.  So I likely wont have the same experience you're having.  But I weigh substantially more than you do and a good amount of my riding time (esp now in winter) is trials type so literally constantly grinding my feet into the pedals

Reply

Znarf
+1 Cam McRae

I´ve received a pair of 2FO DH Flat shoes and will try them in the next months. They feel noticeably stiff - unridden. I am curious how they'll feel on the trail. 

Thanks for the idea to try something different =)

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cam@nsmb.com
0

I haven't tried the DH version but I believe I have a pair in the mail. It'll be interesting to see how I respond to the increased stiffness. Just today I rode in a pair of flat shoes that are so stiff, I'm quite sure they just put a sticky sole on a shoe made for clipless pedals. I expected to hate them and I really liked them. It's great to be surprised as a reviewer, mostly because reinforces the importance of humility.

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GiveitsomeWelly
0

I'd love to try these as I'm all for durability being one of my top three priorities but due the aforementioned comments about stiffness, these shoes are just a non starter for me. 

I veered away from my standard Give Ten Impact Lows when RC came out but they were soft enough that my feet actually hurt and after being put into casual dirty, their durability has been short of what I'd expect. 

Now my go-tos are Five Ten Impact Pros. Been going on my current pair for 3 years and apart from some minor synthetic upper 'skin' starting to come away on the inside of the right shoes ball area, they're still great. I've got a spare pair waiting for when the soles are worn enough that the stiffness starts to suffer...

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+2 BarryW Karl Fitzpatrick

Interesting. I prefer a slightly stiffer shoe as well and the 2FOs are perfect for me in that regard. The best part is that the stiffness hasn't degraded appreciably since new.

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GiveitsomeWelly
+1 Cam McRae

Hmm. Maybe these are worth a try. 

Thanks for the reply!

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craw
0

Could you compare these against the Crankbros Stamp BOA flat pedal shoe?

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Cr4w

Here's the link to my review of the Stamp Boas.

On 4mm pins these don't have enough grip for me. They are almost there but not quite. With 3mm pins they are great. They are awesome shoes though so I keep a set of Look Trail Roc+ pedals on a bike so I have a chance to wear them. It's early but based on early results, I imagine they will hold up at least as well as the 2FOs. They also have a little better protection and the fit is similarly spot on.

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