For their fifth year making bike gear, Ion has decided to branch out a bit with a new product type. Focusing pretty heavily on the sole and working back up, they have paired up with Swiss shoemaker Suplest to introduce their own mountain bike shoes geared more towards the more trail riders and gravity-focused flat pedal crew. The new Rascal keeps a sneaker look but builds in clipless pedal compatibility and a flexible velcro strap to cinch them down tight, while the Raid Amp delivers a sticky-soled, skate-style lace up ready to tackle the toughest trails…
Both shoes use their own SupTraction sole developed with Suplest to add more walkability in a balance between super grip on flat pedals and on loose ground as well, but also build in reinforcement for efficiently putting power to the pedals. The Rascal steps off more from the more XC/Trail shoes we’ve just seen from Suplest, and gets a similar sole construction, but the similarities mostly stop there. It gets a newly developed SupTraction Rubber Soul CL sole (CL for clipless) for a better fit and connection for riders stomping on trail-focused, wider platform clipless pedals. The sole gets a wide tightly spaced tread section for excellent grip on the pedal wherever your foot falls, while still offer good lugged grip on the toe and heel for scurrying up those hike-a-bikes.
For retention they combine standard lacing with a flexible Serpen_Tie velcro strap that really lets you get the fit secure. The shoes get molded toe caps to hold them up against trail impacts and instep and ankle reinforcements to limit damage from pedal strikes. The synthetic upper combines laser cut vents in the toe and reinforced mesh panels on the side to offer comfortable ventilation. The Rascals claim a weight of 469g per shoe, for a 42, and will come in blue or black.
The Raid Amp looks to be a more simple designed shoe, but shares a lot of the same underlying tech as the Rascal. It also gets an asymmetric design that brings up coverage of the ankle on the inside and out of harm’s way from the pedals, as well as getting added in instep reinforcement. Again it uses a similar sole concept, this time the SupTraction Rubber Soul FL (FL here for flat pedals), that combines walkable toe and heel tread blocks with tightly spaced tread across the center of the sole to really make them stick to the traction pins of flat pedals.
Closure is a more simple affair with a standard lace-up design. The Raid Amp seemed to focus even more in its construction to balance a good mix of longitudinal stiffness so they were efficient to pedal, but still getting the flexibility side-to-side to stick to the pedals. When riding flats it is more important to finesse this lateral flex so that your foot can conform to the pedal for maximum hold on the bike, and to allow for the more subtle lean and body english that flats allow, while at the same time not ending up losing stability or rolling the foot off the pedal.
The Raid Amp also gets heel and molded toe reinforcements to hold up to trail abuse, and mixes laser cut and strategic mesh panels for good ventilation. A two-component insole provides support from the arch through to the midfoot, while giving a bit of damping under the heel. The flat pedal shoes are said to weigh 400g a shoe, and will come in black/red and an olive/blue color called Wood.