Shoes are about more than just the soles. The same applies to bike shoes. Of course, you want the best possible grip on your flat pedals. But there are other factors to consider:
- How well does the shoe fit you? Does it enable a precise, direct, yet sporty feel for the pedal? Or does it feel more like a spongy pillow, or worse, a rigid vice? - Remember that time you banged your toes on that rock? Or when you lost control and bashed your ankle on the cranks? Embarrassing, right? - And what about fatigue? How about more support in terms of power transmission when pedaling or standing on level pedals?
Raid Amp, Black
Raid Amp, Blue Nights
While developing the 2018 version of the Raid Amp flat pedal kicks, ION focused on a shoe concept to try and answer all these questions (and provide the grip of course) in the best way possible:
Regarding grip, for 2018 ION is using a new slightly softer rubber compound for improved traction on the pedal. At the same time, they didn’t want to go too soft since durability is definitely high up on their list of priorities. As you probably already know, the grip of your flat pedal shoes is always influenced by the interaction between pedal and sole (position, length, pins etc.) – and for most riders, having the right rebound settings on the rear shock also plays a role…
The Raid Amp offers a more direct (sporty) feel on the pedal. To achieve that, the development team decided to go for a slimmer upper without excessive soft foam cushioning and a stiffer sole. The brand wanted to ensure precise pedal feedback and have a supportive construction (in the mid-sole and sole) to prevent arch fatigue.
SupTraction Rubber Soul FL
It might take slightly longer to get used to the (more direct) feel and grip in this type of shoe, but you do get used to it. For comparison, think of the difference between a body-contoured bucket seat and a sofa…
The new Raid Amp is made over a slimmer (maximum mid-wide) last. As a result: the fit won't suit people with really wide feet. This is an issue that hasn’t been discussed much. In fact, it’s rarely considered when discussing (flat pedal) bike shoes. Yet, people are familiar with it when it comes to clipless shoes, ski or hiking boots. They choose the brand with the best fitting last. This is not the case in biking. ION feels this needs to be reconsidered. Why? Because if you have slim feet, but wear a wide shoe, good grip on the pedal is undermined by your foot moving inside the shoe.
Ankle_Pad & pre-shaped heel
Jet_Stream ventilation holes
All-in-all, with the stiffer sole construction (anti-fatigue and power transmission), slim last and reduced upper cushioning (better feel) and good safety features (robust, protective toe cap and ankle-pad) plus very good grip Raid Amp is a very sporty, technical (trail) flat pedal shoe for skilled riders with a high(er) level of fitness. And it’s still comfortable to walk in.
The Raid is a stripped-down version of the Raid Amp: this shoe is based on the same concept with identical rubber blend & midsole construction and made over the same last, but the upper is less technical. Safety-wise it also comes with an asymmetrical shaft to put some material between the feet and the crank, but it has no reinforced toe cap. The whole upper has a clean appearance with less ventilation holes and no reinforcements on the lower ankle to give this shoe a look that allows for both, ride and post-ride usage.
The 2018 shoe line-up is completed by ION’s clipless shoes named Rascal with a combined lacing and Velcro closure system. The Rascal emerged as an award-winning product right from the start in 2017: it has been awarded the Design & Innovation Award 2017 in its first year, followed by the German Design Award 2018.
Rascal, Blue Nights
Raid Amp and Rascal (together with a selection of knee pads, bike apparel, gloves and backpacks) are available for the North American market via Backcountry.com & CompetitiveCyclist.com.
For further information about the 2018 ION shoe range, visit ION’s website.