At a Glance
ION has long been providing riders with high-quality clothing and I more recent years have offered a gradually increasing range of shoes. Both flats and clips are catered for and I've had some good results with their Raid Amp flat shoes. Since I've been riding more XC this year I've been a little bit more clipped in than normal and as such looked for a shoe that could cut it on the new wave of rad XC bikes.Buy Shoes on
The Rascal is IONs clipless shoe and comes in either the 'Select' version that I have here or the standard version. The Select version gets a reinforced shank, kevlar uppers and a neoprene cuff. Essentially this is IONs top-end trail shoe with 'uncompromising power transmission' and a bunch of cool features and high tech materials.
Most notably is the Serpen_Tie 2.0 which is an additional strap across the shoe to hold the foot firmly after the laces have been tied. The fit is further improved with the neoprene sock which offers ankle protection and the supportive footbed keeps things comfortable.
On The Trail
The build quality is noticeable instantly and although slightly tricky to slide onto your foot, once in place they give a reassuringly snug fit. The kevlar uppers are a strong material to use but it's quite thin with very little lining, so I found that a medium to thick sock improved comfort here.
The EcoPlush footbed in another feature mentioned by ION but to me just looked like any other insole and nothing to write home about. It's soft and comfy, but no more supportive than any other standard footbed.
Once laces are tightened, the extra strap across the shoe can be tightened up which further holds the foot and also keeps the laces out of the way. there are two positions for the strap to work for deeper, or shallower feet, this is simply a hook system and works nicely.
The toe box is well reinforced, and combined with the kevlar makes for a bombproof shoe that can take a lot of abuse.
The cleat attachment on the shoe gives a fair amount of adjustment, but coming from a flat pedal background I always want my cleats further back than shoes allow. The Rascals do come back pretty far, but I wouldn't complain if they came a cm further back.
I've used these shoe predominately with Shimano style SPD system, either with Shimano pedals or Nukeproofs system. These offer a fixed pedal, or a sprung pedal and both have worked perfectly with the Rascal. the rubber on the shoes is pretty grippy, so if pedals have long pins then it can make clipping in and out a little tricky, but also allows for some grip if you fail to get your foot clipped in in time.
Power transfer is really quite impressive, and the stiffness of the shoe is evident here, allowing for lots of support around the front of the foot. What is pleasant, is that once off the bike they still work well for walking and have good traction on the heel and toe for hiking or pushing a bike.
Bombproof shoes with an excellent fit and great levels of adjustment. The Rascals boast impressive power transfer and build quality that could well outlast your pedals.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.