Ion are a relative newcomer to the footwear world – it was less than a year ago that they introduced the Rascal clipless shoe, and the Raid, its flat pedal counterpart. Designed for the all-mountain / enduro crowd, the Rascal uses a simple-lace up design, with a Velcro strap that zig-zags across of the top of the shoe to fine-tune the fit, and to stop those laces from flapping around.
Ion Rascal Shoe Details
• Reinforced toe cap
• Ankle padding
• Weight: 537 gram (size 11)
• Sizes: 37-47
• Price: $149.95
The cuff of the shoe is asymmetrical, with a bit of extra padding in place around the ankle area to keep that pointy bone safe from crank and frame impacts. There's also an injected toe cap that helps protect the front of your foot in case a rock or a tree decides to get in the way. The sole of the shoe is lugged at the front and back to help provide traction during hike-a-bikes, and there's a slightly smoother section around the cleat area to make it easier to clip in and out.
Available in either black or blue, and in sizes 42-47, the Rascal shoes retail for $149.95 USD. Performance
The Rascal shoes were a comfortable fit for my average-width feet, although they do feel a bit tall underfoot. Out of curiosity, I measured a couple other shoes (it was a really exciting day), and found that the Ion's sole height was approximately 10mm taller than that of the Giro Terraduro Mid and the Shimano AM7. What does that mean? If you only use one shoe and pedal combination all the time, then it doesn't mean much, but if you swap shoes, there's a chance the difference will be enough that you'll need to adjust your saddle height. Of course, that depends on how particular you are.
Ok, moving on from the fascinating topic of shoe sole height... The Rascal's have seen everything from frozen winter slop to deep moon dust conditions, and after six months of usage they're holding up well. There is one seam on the outside of the right shoe that's lost a few stitches, but otherwise there haven't been any durability issues. They dry quickly after being soaked, and they're reasonably well ventilated for those hot summer days . I do have a nitpick about the strap over the laces – when it's snugged down, the top Velcro portion is longer than the receiving Velcro below it, which makes it stick out to the side of the shoe. I never had it snag or catch on anything, but the system would work better if the lower bit of Velcro was longer.
There's plenty of stiffness underfoot for long rides, and I didn't have any issues getting the cleats as far back as I needed. You could always get crafty with a Dremel if you wanted to go even further. Off-the-bike traction is reasonable, although when things get really loose or slippery those toe lugs can get overwhelmed, but in most cases I didn't have any trouble keeping my footing.Pinkbike's Take