Review: Ion Rascal Select Boa Shoes

Aug 24, 2021
by Matt Beer  
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads


Ion's new Rascal Select BOA shoes are aimed at enduro racers and trail riders with subtle features that make them stand out from the crowd without looking like a disco slipper.

Surrounding the shoe is a sturdy toe and heel cap for added protection, and a SupTraction_Rubber sole to provide grip while hiking. Under the stiff shank there is an EVA midsole to cushion heavy landings and high frequency bumps. The inside of the heel cup has a velvet-like material to reduce heel lift and the raised material around the ankle bone is designed to prevent any bruising from the crank arms. Vents on the top of the toe box keep the air flowing and the shoes weigh in at 913 g in size 42.


ION Rascal Select BOA Details

• SupTraction_Rubber CL sole
• Asymmetrically shaped ankle shaft
• Reinforced heel and toe cap
• Non-slip inner heel fabric
• EVA midsole
• Sizes 37-47
• Colors: black
• Weight: 913 grams (size 42)
• MSRP: $199.95
www.ion-products.com

ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads

Fit and Price

Fit is subjective, but I found the size 42 (9.0 US) Rascal Select BOAs to be a bit roomy with my usual summer riding socks. I normally use Five Ten Hellcat Pro shoes in size 42 (8.5 US), so you can see where the confusion may lie. The toe box fit my moderately wide foot nicely and I had plenty of room to wiggle my toes, possibly too much. Without the option to drop down a half size, I stuck with the 42.

I did have to crank the BOA system close to the max, almost at the point where the eyelets touched. This raised attention to the short tongue. When I cinched the BOA down, it didn't leave enough of the tongue exposed to flex upwards as I bent my foot forwards, causing a slight pinch. The tongue did break in a bit after a few rides and there was no need to crank the BOA down more.

The high pricing reflects the use of the patented BOA system in an otherwise normal shoe. There are other features found on similar footwear in this category, like lace covers, gators, and sticky rubber soles, that cost a little less.

ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads

Inside the heel cup you can see the material that keeps your foot locked down. Some riders with a slender foot might run out of rope. I had to tighten the BOA a lot to get the shoe to close tight.



Performance

I set up the cleats about three quarters of the way back, which landed the pedal axle behind the ball of my foot. There is plenty of range to fit a more forward position, and for flat pedal riders that are crossing over to the dark side there is room to go further back. A single black, stock spacer from the Crank Brothers cleats made finding the cutout channel on the sole easy with the pedal traction pins set at two visible threads above the platform. At this height, there was no interference with the sole while trying to unclip and I could still feel the shoe gripping the pins when riding hard.

Laces have worked well for over a hundred years, but once you've gone to a quick fit system, like the L6 BOA, it's difficult to go back. The speed and convenience is awesome. Like snowboard boots, I sometimes found myself adjusting the tension once my foot settled in the shoe. I could cinch up any slack from a seated position on the bike. Despite the tongue being a bit short, the BOA wire never put any uneven pressure points on my foot, even at high tensions.

It's interesting to see that the lace version of the shoe has a velcro power strap at the top of the lacing system, but is absent on the BOA version. Although I never had an issues with the BOA coming undone, I would be curious to see if that extra security also let you tune the compression in different areas. The dial has been centered on the top of the shoe to avoid any rock strikes. Replacements are easy to order from BOA's own website, if needed.

ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads

There is plenty of room to run the cleats further back. The BOA provided even tension across the forefoot, but the short tongue pinched the front of my foot as I leaned forward.

In terms of stiffness under foot, the Rascal Select BOA has an average amount of flex - not as extreme as a Specialized 2FO clip shank. This makes hiking pleasant and the special material on the heel isn't just a gimmick. I didn't have the chance to do any multi-day epics, but there were no signs of blisters forming, even on some longer days locked into the shoes. The grip is also superb off the bike. Except on bare rock, the traction is superior to the rounded dots found on Five Ten shoes.

Maybe it was the higher ankle protection that led me to believe the shoe would have more torsional support, but I found it was a bit soft and very thin for the enduro category. Although the Rascal Select BOAs were a larger size 42, I don't think a more snug fit would have solved the support issue. The sides of the shoe are lightly covered in suede, lacking that direct and secure feeling of a Five Ten Hellcat.

Visually, the shoes look new after weeks of use and the black and brown colorway keeps them looking decent in all conditions. Flipping them over shows the sole is still firmly glued in place and the toe cap is bonded well to the breathable mesh on top of the toe. Even after long, hot days in the shoes, my feet were drier than usual.

Through this hot and dry summer weather, I can't comment on the wet weather performance just yet. Water and moisture can take their toll on both bonded materials and stitching, but these shoes haven't raised any red flags yet.



Pros

+ Grip, shank flex, and heel lock are great for adventure rides
+ Easy to find cleat channel with ample adjustment
+ Quick on and off BOA system

Cons

- Needs more supportive sides
- Tongue could be longer



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Rascal Select BOA is best suited to trail and enduro riders that want a breathable, easy on/easy off shoe. Their flexibility and grip may be a benefit for those spending longer days adventuring with their bike, but high-performance riders will likely want more support in the sides of the shoe. Sizing can vary between brands, so it's best to try before you buy. Matt Beer



93 Comments

  • 127 1
 Shoe looks fine, what can you tell us about the Transition Spire?
  • 17 0
 My thoughts exactly...
  • 8 0
 Spied Spire?
  • 7 0
 My comment was going to be something along the lines of “get that shoe out of the way of the Spire, and tell me all about it”
  • 12 0
 I have a spire and it's amazing. That is all
  • 8 0
 It's a lot like the Sentinel, but with two cm more travel, 180mm dc capability, and smaller tts. Huckleberry--hawt
  • 4 0
 do I spy paint chips on the spire? already??
  • 24 0
 @Drew-O, you'll have to wait for the Field Test content to find out. It's on the way...
  • 4 0
 @dave1075: it's inevitable.
  • 1 1
 I can tell you one thing about the Spire they're testing. It could really do with a better shock...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: is it possible for you guys to inadvertently share your thoughts on the Spire, like by accident maybe….
Already have an Aluminium model on order, just anxious to know more
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: yeah a coil! I have a coil and air shock for my patrol, the coil blows the air out of the water in every way except the weight penalty, but it's worth it to me.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I agree, but I would also strongly suggest anyone with a Superdeluxe that doesn't love it send it off for custom tuning by Vorsprung. Much cheaper than buying a new "upgraded" shock, and in my experience the results are actually better.
  • 2 0
 @Drew-O: hmm I'll have to look into that, my girlfriend has one on her process. I'm sure it has potential to be better tuned for her.
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: oh damn! 300 bones, I might just look for a marzocchi coil for her. Simple and sweet
  • 1 0
 Replaced my superdeluxe air with an Ohlins coil. I know thats not exactly a fair comparison, but my god did it highlight what a terrible job the superdeluxe had been doing for the few months I ran it. It feels like a completely different bike now.
  • 29 0
 Why do shoe companies insist on producing MTB shoes with suede? Literally the worst material to ever make sport/outdoor shoes with.
  • 8 0
 Cotton canvas would like to have a word with you on that...
  • 8 0
 Shoes that continue to get heavier after every ride?
Shoes that maintain an odor that is close to that of a dumpster in July?
Shoes with a cable that has zero flex at all times?
Shoes that have a big dial dead center of the softest part of your foot?

We did that!
  • 1 0
 100% this!
  • 17 2
 Thank goodness it says 'Surfing' on the bottom, ohterwise how would you be able to show other dudes how cooooool and bodacious you are. *Throws shakka
  • 2 0
 strangest choice on these things, and I love it
  • 1 1
 @owl-X: 'ION is a brand run by passionate people, whose big love have always been watersports.
Launched back in 2004, ION focused on wetsuits & neoprene products for the international windsurf, kitesurf, surf, SUP and wakeboard scene. The product range also includes accessories, harnesses, travelgear and an apparel collection.' Carbon fiber surfboards are cheap relative to bike frames. Beach real estate, not so much
  • 1 1
 You'll be a swood dude
  • 10 0
 my wetsuit says MOUNTAIN BIKING across the chest so not weird at all
  • 8 0
 "The high pricing reflects the use of the patented BOA system in an otherwise normal shoe."

Does it though? Boa usually adds very little to the price of shoes (or snowboard boots, which have much much more lacing to handle), maybe $10 bucks difference in MSRP for MTB shoes. These look nice, and Boa is slick (I have it on my and my wife's snowboard boots and it's awesome there), but that prices is pretty silly for just an ordinary shoe. I mean, even that second paragraph literally just describes "a" shoe.
  • 1 0
 I’ve had boa mtb shoes and the cable broke every 50 times or so I put the shoe on. Hope you have better luck with your boots. For me, laces work just fine!
  • 9 1
 Ok so where is my flat pedal shoes with boa
  • 3 0
 Scott make some. I have a pair waiting at home to try out. They look pretty silly but I paid almost nothing for them so i won’t die wondering if flats will benefit from boa.
  • 2 1
 Scott, Crankbrothers, and Pearl Izumi all make boa flats now.
  • 2 0
 @NateMob: Cool - Funny - was randomly thinking about how a flat shoe with Boa closing would be cool just last week......need to have a look. Wet laces suck.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Which ones, the Shr-alp? Those look like they'd be great. Curious to how they fit/perform.
  • 1 0
 @ohbmxer: volt I think they are.
  • 1 0
 Where did you last see it?
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Those are nice, but seem like better park/dj shoes than all-mountain shoes. They look better than the Shr-alp though.
  • 1 0
 Specialized makes a boa shoe that can replace the cleat with a rubber insert, converting them to flat pedal shoes. Anyone know the model?
  • 3 0
 Vaude make one too.
  • 1 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: Best shoe ever!
  • 1 0
 @Zeb1: Yeah it's my current favorite. Keeps the forest out of my shoes (unlike 5ten freeriders) and grip is fantastic
  • 7 0
 Good stuff, but $200???? Damn.
  • 2 0
 At what number does price become a con?
  • 1 0
 For this particular shoe, I don't think I would feel good paying more than $120. I would need to see better upper materials to command a $200 price.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: depends on the product and what features it offers compared against its competition. I feel like you'd get more for $200 shopping another brand.
  • 7 1
 This shoe embodies the term, "a face only a mother can love".
  • 10 11
 Talking from experience?
  • 5 9
flag Almazing (Aug 24, 2021 at 8:13) (Below Threshold)
 @bigtim: Perhaps. Though I don't have the same high level of personal experience you have with that term.
  • 2 0
 Got myself a pair of Rascal a few month ago. And I agree it fits wider than the other brands (went for a 43 and a 42 would have been nice). Othewhise it's a great pair of shoes : light, breathable etc. Works great with a pair of Time Spéciale 8.
Cheers !
  • 1 0
 My favorite as well, so far! And the size chart fits well for me though (43)
  • 4 0
 I have no time for shoes that look like the laces are too tight. Normally can’t trust those people. Same with eyes to close together. Give me the shits. Lol
  • 2 1
 These do not look like a shoe I'd pay $200 for. These look like an $80 shoe to me. Ion needs to take a second stab at their industrial design as these are an epic failure at being attractive. They do not scream I'm worth $200, and that is something they need to do to command that price.
  • 2 1
 @SuperHighBeam looks have nothing to do with the quality of a product. Just because it doesn't "scream they are worth 200" doesn't mean they aren't good. You sound like a guy that just rides flashy shit to try and impress your friends or people around you. If a product works well I could care less how it looks as I'm not riding for looks.
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: Quality is definitely a tough thing to identify through imagery and a description. This may very well be a good product, but it does not look like other similar products that I know to be of good quality. It shares more qualities with products that I would identify as low quality. I do not buy stuff to be flashy. I buy stuff that I perceive to be of good quality. This brand has failed to convey to me an image that would convince me that its product is of good quality. They would benefit from taking some notes from 5.10 (before it was owned by Adidas). Perhaps the identity of Ion is one of a reserved and functional appearance, but somehow I doubt it.
  • 2 0
 It would be nice if you at least doused them with a hose and see how they handled water. Some shoes, like Pearl Izumi, drain pretty well, but others like Ride Concepts do not.
  • 1 0
 Had some Rascals with the cross over retention strap and they were great. Bought some of a newer model same size with a neoprene liner expecting the same and they were shite. Acted like they were a size smaller and took zero mercy on my heels. Wrote a compliant to ION www and got an auto reply to the tune of "this looks like spam so we will trash it'.
Wont go near the brand again after this episode.. Besides, there are better ways to spend USD200...
  • 1 0
 I have the same problem with these shoes. They are bulky and roomy when compared to other brands, to the point, that I also had to twist BOA laces as much as I could. Wearing thick merino socks helps a bit, but still a shoe feels too big. I wear 43 usually, going down to 42 felt the shoe was two sizes smaller. Also the shoe lacks of support, I can easily tell where my pedal cleat is located, it simply flexes too much. Right now I'm rather dissatisfied, I will keep them for winter time maybe and stick to my older pair Spec 2FOs.
  • 1 0
 Oh, did I mention, that when mesauring in shop they felt pretty normal? It all turned wrong after first ride.
  • 4 0
 Large volume fit a con? Not for my wide feet it isn't!
  • 4 2
 ARE YOU THE BEST TO BE REVIEWING SHOES? STARTED WITH THE WRONG SIZE AND FELT APPROPRIATE CRANKING THAT BOA SO HARD WTF ARE YOU DOING
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure 41 size Rascals were easily too short.
  • 4 0
 “Boa Select, I tell thee”
  • 1 0
 I came here for this comment, glad someone posted it. They need to get Craaaaaaaaig David to advertise them.
  • 2 0
 @cookiemonster27: Apparently Lorraine Kelly is doing the ads for the Rocky Mountain Growler.
  • 1 0
 @commental: underrated comment.
  • 3 1
 first photo teases that it could be a BOA flat shoe... further photos indicate clipless. Havent read the words.
  • 1 0
 its a mystery for all of us.
  • 2 0
 Breathable by Vancouver standards or breathable by the normal 90 degree summer riding standards?
  • 2 0
 I wish more shoes would use Boa's... they're so much better than laces and have basically no downside.
  • 1 0
 How well do they tolerate mud? I know they handle snow/ice/water ok.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I don't spend a ton of time in the mud but what little I have they've been great.
  • 1 0
 @badbadleroybrown: That's more than I know. So that's good insight. I was concerned they might jam up if splattered with mud. Generally I try not to ride in muddy conditions (not great for trail erosion) but occasionally it's a necessary evil.
  • 1 0
 @badbadleroybrown: Your comment is giving me retrospective laughs because it sounds so much like a quote from Anchorman "60% of the time is works every time". I'm sure the boa's manage mud more effectively but I couldn't help but laugh that is logic might be applicable.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: lol... to be more specific, I'd say I have probably a total of 8 hours riding in rain and mud vs a couple hundred in dry conditions. Soaking wet and layered in a little mud, I've had no problems. Would that still be true if I was in the UK or something and rode 100 hours in the mud and rain, stepping up to my ankles in mud? I dunno, but there's really nothing structurally that leads me to think they'd have problems.
  • 2 0
 Ian Rascal selects Boa Shoes
  • 2 0
 913g per pair or per shoe? Are these average weight or boat anchors?
  • 1 0
 WTF !I was digging these until I seen the pic of the clipless sole. DAMIT TO HELL!
  • 2 0
 Sup traction
  • 1 0
 Select boa? Cha'mone mother f*cker!
  • 1 0
 how wide are these? how do they compare to the 2FO roost?
  • 2 0
 No flats option Frown
  • 1 0
 "aimed at enduro racers and trail riders with subtle features". Yes.
  • 1 0
 For those times when tying your own damn laces is just too hard
  • 1 0
 …next
  • 1 0
 Ok. $200.
  • 1 0
 Fugly+suede?
  • 1 0
 you rascals
  • 1 0
 Boa Selecta
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