Scott Elite BOA Shoe - Review

Apr 14, 2014
by Mike Levy  
Scott Elite Boa shoe
Don't let their appearance fool you, the Elite BOAs are far more useable than a true race shoe.

You probably know them best for their bikes, but Scott also offers a wide range of clothing and accessories, including eleven different mountain bike shoe options. It's their Elite BOA shoe that we've spent so much time in over the last nine months, with the black and orange kicks being the lowest priced shoe in Scott's lineup that employs the ratcheting BOA closure system. The BOA design uses a single lace made from woven steel with a protective coating that is routed in such a way that tightening the lace provides a quick way to custom fit the amount of tension without having to deal with standard laces or Velcro. Tension is controlled via a single dial - turn it to the right to increase the lace tension in incremental steps, or simply pull the dial out to quickly release all of the tension. The BOA closure system is said to be not only lighter than buckles or multiple Velcro straps, but it can also provide a much more uniform feel that is free of pressure points. And while it looks complicated from the outside, the design uses only three parts: the dial, a small inner spool, and the lace itself. The shoes also feature Scott's Ergologic insole with adjustable arch support metatarsal button, while their shank offers a bit more flex than a pure race shoe but much less than anything not designed for cycling. Traction off the bike comes via aggressive lugs, but they are made from a far softer and tackier material than the usual rock hard, almost plastic-like rubber than is usually used on the bottom of racey looking shoes. The Elite BOAs retail for $150 USD, and are available only in the black and orange combo pictured here. Sizing starts at 40 and goes up to 48 in full size jumps.

Scott Elite Boa shoe
The BOA system (left) works well, but ours began to back off during rides. Their tacky rubber lugs (right) made walking up steep rock slopes a cinch.

Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesWe picked up our set of Elite BOA shoes during last year's Crankworx event in Whistler, and they've been on our feet since that weekend. That means that we've worn them through smoking hot summer weather, fall rain coming down so hard that we were close to being washed away on a few occasions, and even a handful of rides that saw temps dipping down well below freezing. We even wore them during our annual pilgrimage to Sedona, Arizona, a trip that brought to light an unexpected attribute of the Elites.

First things first: the black and orange Elite BOAs look sporty enough to fit in on the start line of a pro level cross-country race, but don't let the racey appearance fool you because they are more comfortable than any ultra stiff and ultra light race shoe we've ever worn, at least in most ways. A lot of this comfort comes for their supple uppers that makes most other shoes feel like gum boots, and makes our feet feel like we're not even wearing shoes - it's that much of a difference. The BOA system plays a part as well, with it offering nice, even tension across the top of the foot, not to mention great adjustability that laces and Velcro can only dream of. Their soles are quite a bit more flexible than a true race shoe, and that makes them easy to walk in with minimal heel lift when you can't quite pedal to the top, and the ' Sticki rubber' lugs really are sticky - we easily strolled up rock slopes in Sedona that had us sliding around like we were on roller blades when wearing other shoes. This last point would make them our top pick if we lived in a location like Moab or Sedona where we had to scramble up or down rock sections every now and then. Just in case it isn't obvious enough, we really like the Elite BOAs. But, just as with any product that we've used as much as these shoes, we've found a few issues that are worth mentioning. The first is how their relatively flexible sole, while great for walking, isn't so great on long descents - we ended up with a bit of foot pain from the soles flexing too much while standing up during extended downhills. There are plenty of stiffer shoe options out there, and Scott has purposely designed the Elite BOAs to flex a touch more than a race shoe, so just keep that in mind if you are prone to hot spots or other foot pain. The other issue is of more concern, and it's one that only recently popped up: the shoes' BOA tensioning system has started to back off enough during rides to require stopping to re-tighten the system. This only takes a second, and they don't seem to back off again after re-tensioning them, but it's pretty annoying regardless.

So, the Elite BOAs aren't perfect but they do offer an absolutely killer fit for our average feet, and are great for doing a bit of portaging thanks to their relatively forgiving soles and tacky rubber lugs. We see their ideal user being someone who doesn't want to wear heavy shoes modelled after skate kicks (we are mountain biking, after all, not on fashion parade) and wants something sporty looking and walkable without having you look like you're wearing tap dance shoes.
- Mike Levy


  • 62 0
 So what you're saying is that the boa isn't constricting anymore?
  • 10 6
 You Sir have won the internets!
  • 5 0
 I have been using a pair of this for the last year, submerged them several times in water, mud, etc, spent an entire week with the shoes moist because of mountain weather, done more than 2000 kmts and they supported fine so far, no doubt will buy a second pair in any moment for now. Great shoes
  • 1 0
 What was the ware like in the lugs, sticky seams to translate to not as long lasting more often then not?
  • 1 0
 no, not sticky. Indeed pretty hard sole, hence you have to be careful in the lugs. But totally climbing on hard surfaces is achievable.
  • 10 2
 I have some old blown out underwear's if you want to do a review of them.
  • 6 12
flag MDRipper (Apr 15, 2014 at 8:06) (Below Threshold)
 Haha FECAL master ur name is a testament to ur comment
  • 6 9
 I guess people dont get the correlation between fecal and blownout underwear...
  • 7 3
 I just clicked on this article, besause I don't have anything better to do and I already read all the interesting ones. Well I have something better to do, but I did it anyway.
  • 4 0
 I agree, not having any bike articles to read at work, instead of doing work, is the bane of my existence. because it means I have to do work.
  • 3 0
 I bought these shoes this winter after trying on every shoe I could get my hands on. They fit good which is difficult enough for me, the rubber compound on the sole is very sticky. When things get ugly in the big rocks, I bail and try to run out of a crash...these shoes are PERFECT for that. The Boa is awesome. If you ride clipless, but like to get into technical stuff where you may need to bail and scramble at any moment, these are definitely worth a look!
  • 2 0
 I've got a pair of 2013 Road Team BOA shoes and completely agree. lovely shoes, really light weight and plenty stiff too. If you've got normal/wide feet like me they're definitely worth a look. The only problem with mine is that I bought the white ones!
  • 2 0
 Just got a pair. One quick ride in, but really like them. Yes, they have a touch of flex, but I actually like that. We don't have long sustained DH around these parts so their comment on the flex is no issue for me. I suspect though that it wouldn't be an issue anyways as I run Mallet 3s and that pedal is plenty enough of a platform... the shoe doesn't have to do as much work. Super comfy, the laces adjusted perfectly to my EE width foot with high instep... no pressure points. Very light weight! I think I'm going to really like these.
  • 1 0
 I have never seen or thought of Scott brand mtb shoes and I like the review, but it'd be a good idea to have some stock photos of the shoes in new condition imo. Plus, I see that on the REI site, there are some other options even more AM oriented that I would have considered buying if I knew about them. The link to the scott site however seems to indicate they are discontinued. A shame Scott should have done some better marketing for their shoe line.

scott trail boa evo....looks like a great shoe I've never heard of,-black/lime-green&preferredSku=8665350006&mr:trackingCode=399A5552-8E8B-E311-90E9-BC305BF82162&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=48416317720&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=61471575280&msid=prB8b46P_dc|pcrid|48416317720
  • 2 0
 I know the history behind it, but why cant they just start calling them clipins instead of clipless. Bike lingo is funny with the whole "enduro" phase and the word "rad", which i used to think died in the 80's.
  • 1 0
 Levy, thanks for the review. Couple Q's for you:
What pedals did you test with? Would the tread play nice with a DX style pedal with a platform?

Looks like you're using the multi-release cleats. I usually ride flats but switched to cleats on my long distance bike. Any tips for tension and pedal setup running the multis?

  • 2 1
 I resisted the BOA trend for years and years in the snow gear market, finally bit the bullet this winter and picket up a set of ride boots with BOA laces, I was tentative about trying them due to the sketchiness of them not just being a regular lace,

Took a trip to whistler, broke 2 in 2 days (note this was my FRONT foot, couldn't have been caused by the boards edge) spent 30 bucks on replacements, almost missed a day of boarding and a lot of heartache. Upon returning to Calgary from the trip I got a hold of BOA and was told it'd be 3 WEEKS for replacement laces, their website was garbage, impossible to use, the people weren't helpful at all, by that time snow season had ended.

Returned the boots shortly after and exchanged for a standard lace up pair, no problems since. First and last time I go BOA.
  • 1 1
 Dude are those prototypes? I have a pair of scott team boa...some were in my tool house...the most uncomfortable shoe I ever wear, worst than my combat boots! They slips in rock and soft soils and after 600km the boa start to pop out, and look at them they worn out very fast...maybe the bike shop sold me a copy and you try the original ones.
Never as good as NW!
  • 1 3
 NW, Sidi, Mavic. It's all you need. Anything else you are looking for it.
  • 6 0
 Shoes are like seats. What is good for you may not be good for 10 others....
  • 1 7
flag MojoMaujer (Apr 15, 2014 at 5:27) (Below Threshold)
 No sense. We are talking about quality. Go ahead and buy shoes that will fall apart in a season.
  • 5 1
 What may last a season for one person could last years for another. So again, my point stands. What works well for one person in the way of shoes (or grips, shorts, seats, hair gel, deodorant, tampons) does not mean it works well for everyone.
  • 2 0
 these look like sturdy spd shoes, but then again most Scott stuff is pretty good quality
  • 3 0
 Scott does a great job copying everything Specialized.
  • 3 1
 I'd love to try these but I'm on flats. My 5.10's are bad ass but I may consider giving clipless a try.
  • 2 0
 tip from someone who's converted between the two a couple times: look for something with a decent size platform, especially for a new user: there's a reason why the Shimano PD-M424 is the most common pedal pushed by bike shops for new users.
  • 2 0
 How would these take a pedal with a platform as well?
  • 2 0
 I run mine on Mallet 3s which have a very considerable platform. No issues at all.
  • 2 0
 Better than nike's
  • 4 3
 Scott does a great job copying everything Specialized.
  • 3 2
 Maybe specialized should sue them?
  • 1 0
 They already did. Cant stand both companies for the way they conduct business.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know if the sizing is true to size?
  • 1 0
 Yup. My 11s fit perfectly in to the 44. Levy was right.... the upper on this shoe is just so supple compared to any other MTB show I've had. With the boa system it makes for a very even pressure, comfortable fit that can still pedal hard.
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