Scott MTB AR BOA Clip trail shoe
Unusually (for non-XC shoes), Scott’s MTB AR Boa Clips feature not one but two Boa dials. Skeptical at first, it wasn’t long before I was appreciating the wonderfully even pressure that could be dialled in when pulling the shoes on, and the extra power transfer and control that this set-up could deliver.
No more scrabbling at laces to pull them through the runners to even up pressure from bottom to top. Even small details such as the easy-accessed fabric loops above the heel were appreciated.
On a lot of shoes these are tough to get your finger through, but Scott has built in a wide loop so they are easy to find, thread though your finger and yank the shoe on. This is very helpful to clear your heel from the heel cup in the shoe, ultimately preventing damage as you stamp your foot in.
On the trail, as with other Boa systems, I found small tweaks – tightening and loosening – extremely easy to do on the move: simply reach down, twist the dial and carry on with barely a pedal stroke lost. This is a huge advantage over traditional lace systems, and in terms of durability I have yet to have a Boa fail before the fabric of a shoe.
Feet snugly secure, I could take full advantage of the high-stiffness sole. It’s cleverly ‘articulated’ by flexible zones to allow the toes to bend and the rear of the shoe to flex, which, while not making extended walking a pleasure, really helps when putting the power down and nails your feet to the bike for aggressive manoeuvres.
The cleat area was rock solid though, and at no point did I feel the shoe wrap around my low profile platform pedals.
The ‘Sticki’ sole was also confidence inspiring on wet roots and rocks, very much along the lines of the Stealth sole found on FiveTen shoes.
My only criticism, which may not apply if you have taller arches, is that I needed to tighten a fair bit of extra volume out of the shoe to make them feel snug. But, of course, that was easily done with those twin Boa dials.
Other than that, they didn’t have a lot of ventilation on the uppers to let air flow through. This was fine for me because most of the testing was done during the Scottish winter below 5 degrees Celsius, but they may feel a little cosy when the weather warms up significantly.
Overall, I loved the AR Boas; the thin lining helped with power transfer and quick drying, and the tough yet simple uppers shrugged off trail assaults and weather.
After my initial doubts, the Scott MTB AR Boa Clip proved to be a tough, terrain- and weather-resistant shoe that was great to pedal in.