The Rascal Select BOA has been built with descending in mind, with a more rearward cleat channel than Ion’s trail and all-mountain shoes, as well as impact protection at the heel for when you need to bail.
There’s a lot going on with this shoe, so let’s see how it performs.
Ion Rascal Select BOA specifications and details
Ion claims that the new Rascal shoe has been designed with consideration of its overall stiffness. This means that longitudinally the lower is stiff, there to help with power transfer through the foot and into the shoe.
At the same time, there’s lateral flexibility in the upper, boosting comfort and enabling the foot to move naturally in the shoe.
While stiffer than many of its rivals, it’s not the stiffest outright, and there is some twist in the shoe.
A Boa dial secures the foot in the shoe, and is located fairly high up the sturdy, fairly stiff but padded tongue.
The shoe feels plush inside, and has a cat’s-tongue lining to help keep the foot planted in position.
The heel section has plenty of padding, as well as some shallow shaping, to prevent heel lift, while the ankle is protected from scuffing on the cranks.
The top of the toe receives plenty of ventilation via a larger mesh panel, while the rest of the upper is largely made from a suede-like material. At the back of the heel, a pull-tab is there to help get the shoe on easily.
The sole has a busy-looking tread, with a multitude of tread block shapes and sizes. They’re moderately deep and sharp-edged, which should aid grip.
As we see with a lot of shoes, there are dedicated sections to aid toe and heel grip, while there’s also a section dedicated to the shoe/pedal interface, there to improve shoe stability on the platform.
The cleat bed’s entry and exit is ramped, and there are markings to aid cleat positioning. The cleat channel isn’t particularly long at 31mm, but the bed is wide at 44mm.
Ion Rascal Select BOA performance
I expected such a bulky-looking shoe to be warm and heavy, but the reality is that the Rascal Select breathes well thanks to a large area of mesh covering the toe area. At 984g for the pair, they’re not light, but they rarely felt like clogs.
I was also impressed with how little water they soaked up when wet. Moisture gets inside the shoe quickly, but the body of the shoe doesn’t hold on to much, and they dry surprisingly fast too.
The shoe is generous in its sizing, requiring me to crank the Boa up tight to get my foot feeling fully secured. This impacts on-bike feel, if you like your shoes to really hug your feet to help control the bike underneath you.
I didn’t find the high position of the Boa dial uncomfortable, but it does feel that the tension it creates is concentrated higher up the foot, meaning that locked-in feel doesn’t extend all the way down the foot.
This, however, does leave toes to move around freely inside the shoe.
These are some of the easiest shoes to get in and out of. With the Boa unlocked, the tongue easily opens wide, with minimal binding. The pull-tab on the heel helps, too.
The inside edge of the ankle is raised more than on rival shoes. However, with moderately thin padding all round, it doesn’t rub or cause annoyance, and contributes to high levels of protection for your foot, mirrored in the ample toe and heel reinforcements.
With both moderate levels of sole flex and an up-turned toe section, the Rascal Selects are comfortable to walk in. Heel hold could be improved, though the cat’s-tongue material helps.
The sole’s tread does a fair job on most surfaces, though will clog with sticky mud fairly fast.
Pedalling performance is good, with no noticeable hotspot from the cleats on longer drags.
The cleat channel isn’t particularly deep, so I didn’t require cleat spacers to achieve a good connection between shoe and pedal cage.
With a wide, ramped cleat channel, clipping in with these shoes is nice and easy. I’d like the channel to be located a little further inboard, though, because the inside of the toe can contact the crank arms when trying to release your trailing foot, especially with wide release-angle cleats.
Ion Rascal Select BOA bottom line
Ion’s Rascal Select shoes offer buckets of protection for your feet, while having a relatively airy feel thanks to good ventilation and a relatively flexible upper.
I had to tighten the Boa as tight as I comfortably could to get the locked-in feel I like, but some riders may like the flexibility afforded by the upper.
The Rascals are a comfortable, high-volume, well-performing pair of gravity-orientated shoes, though their price is high.
How we tested:
Mountain bike shoes have a hard life. All your power is transferred through their soles, as well as an awful lot of bodily bike control.
At the same time, they’re stamped onto pedals (some of which have platform cages with sharp pins), are walked in on rough surfaces, have to sit in the firing line of mud and water, and shrug off impacts with trailside rocks, roots and vegetation.
As such, the best mountain bike shoes have to satisfy a wide range of requirements to reach the top of our table. In this group test, we pitted 12 pairs of clipless shoes from leading brands against each other during several months of sloppy winter testing.
We tested all these shoes with both Crankbrothers and Shimano SPD pedals to check that they’re compatible with the most common platforms. They were ridden with one foot in one brand of shoe and the other in a different type, to better grasp their differences.
Steep banks were scrambled up and down, while we carried our bikes on our shoulders to see how much our heels slipped in the heel box and our feet slipped in the mud. We even sprayed them with a hose to see how water-resistant they are, then timed how long they take to dry out.
Other shoes we tested:
- Bontrager Rally review
- Crankbrothers Mallet Speedlace
- Endura MT500 Burner Clipless review
- Five Ten Kestrel Lace review
- Fizik Gravita Versor Clip review
- Giro Berm Cover review
- Leatt 6.0 Clip V22 review
- Mavic XA Elite II review
- Ride Concepts Transition review
- Scott Crus-R review
- Shimano AM5 review
- Specialized 2FO Roost Clip review