Specialized Women's 2FO ClipLite Lace Mountain Bike Shoes £100.00
Stiff summer shoes for all day efficiency
Nov 20 2017
Stiff and light sole makes for efficient pedalling
Good foot stability provided
Long cleat recess
Stiff upper making lacing up troublesome
Mesh toe covering lets water in
Lack of walking grip over various terrain
You want a light summer shoe good for either all day pedalling or flat out racing
The Specialized ClipLite Lace Mountain Bike shoes are the trail/enduro oriented model in the brand's shoe showcase. A lightweight and stiff offering, they are a reasonable all-rounder if you don't have flipper feet and don't mind fiddling with laces.
First up, that colour - yep, that's just for us ladies, result! Aside from that though, these SPD shoes from Spesh are exactly the same as the 'male' version, just the boys get their's in stealth black, not snazzy, 'cool colour of the moment' turquoise. The 2FO Cliplite Lace shoes draw attention in the carpark and I've got at least one male riding buddy who is contemplating buying some for himself.
The 2FO ClipLite shoe is a neat and tidy looking affair with all the pedal efficiency an ‘enduro rider’ might expect. The Specialized Body Geometry programme provides an ergonomically designed footbed and an EVA foam midsole providing the good balance between a good amount of feedback through the pedals and whilst also being relatively comfortable off the bike too. The soles of the ClipLite’s are pretty stiff, using a comically named Stiff Lollipop™ nylon composite plate. It’s an efficient platform to pedal hard on but also one that damps vibrations well meaning all day comfort isn’t an issue. Weighing in at 698g (without cleats) the ClipLite Lace shoes are on the lighter side of things and don’t get overly weighed down when waterlogged either, in fact they are the least sponge-like of any shoes I have ever worn.
The upper is firm too with a protective toe box to fend off inadvertent rock punts. These features, alongside a nice deep heel cup provides great stability for the foot. They do take a while to wear in though, I was a good few weeks into ownership before the left shoe stopped rubbing on the front of my inner ankle bone whilst pedalling. Through an old injury this ankle is a little odd shaped though so not the shoe’s fault, they are bedded in now and proving to be super comfy on and off the bike. I found the ClipLite’s to size up well in length but they do come up rather small widthways, hence the flipper feet reference above, if you’ve got wide or flat feet you might be best looking elsewhere.
The 2FO ClipLite Lace shoes have, as you might expect, laces rather than any fancy Boa fastening, this old-school style is foolproof and failsafe, especially given the tidy elastic strap through which to secure the bow. The stiffness of the upper does mean that tightening and loosening the laces is an effort, especially when teamed up with some crusty mud (there’s no mud flap here), feeding laces through and finding the optimum tension identical for both feet is infuriatingly hit and miss. I’ve used Boa dials on other shoes in the Specialized range and I can imagine the 2FO Cliplite Boa’s are an improvement in this department.
Clipping in and I found that the cleat recess on the bottom of the shoe was nice and long meaning I could position the cleats nicely rearward, enabling load to be spread well across the foot. It’s easy and quick to match the cleat/pedal interface and mud doesn’t get too clogged up when off the bike. Should you miss the cleat the shoe grips the surrounding pedal platform should you have one.
I’m no stranger to a bit of ‘hike a bike’ or pushing back up for a spot of trail sessioning, finding the Cliplite Laces’ to be sadly lacking in grip. The SlipNot™ rubber sole does not provide confident traction as Specialized claim, it provides dubious purchase on mud. The stiff soles also refuse to conform over rock, making walking here an exercise in looking for good footholds. The questionable grip in sloppy conditions and the thin mesh covering the toes of the shoe point these hardwearing shoes in the direction of drier conditions. As mentioned above, any water let in at the front isn't sucked up by the shoe and they dry quickly too.
Whether you are going to be pedalling for a few hours or racing all day, these shoes will step up to the task admirably. At £100 they aren’t a bad price either given the stiffness and the pleasing aesthetics.