Review: Ion Raid Amp II – Flat Pedal Shoes With Plenty of Grip

Ion Rascal II

Ion released the original Raid Amp flat pedal shoe a few seasons ago, and while they were light and comfortable, there was one problem – the soles just weren’t sticky enough. Time to go back to the drawing board. The latest version is called the Raid Amp II, and uses a new rubber compound and a softer midsole that’s designed to allow the shoes to really latch on to the pins of a flat pedal.

The shoes still have the same look and basic design elements of the original – the uppers are ventilated and designed to be quick drying, and the asymmetric cuff provides a little extra ankle protection. There’s also a molded rubber toecap to help prevent a rider’s toes from getting bruised and battered.

Ion Raid Amp II Details
• Pin Tonic sole design
• Molded rubber toe cap
• Elastic lace holder
• Asymmetric padded ankle cuff
• Weight: 470 grams (size 45, per shoe)
• Colors: black, grey, pink
• Sizes: 37-47
• $139.95 USD
• www.ion-products.com

The tongue isn’t gusseted, but there is an elastic strap sewn into the middle that helps keep the laces tucked out of the way. The Raid Amp II shoes are available in sizes 37-47, with three different color options: black, grey, or pink.

Ion Rascal II
Ion call their new sole design ‘Pin Tonic’.
Ion Rascal II
The asymmetric cuff and extra padding help dull the blow from crank and frame impacts.

Performance

Good news – the Raid Amp II shoes are actually grippy, and not in the usual “almost like a 5.10, but not quite” way. In fact, I’d put the stickiness level right on par with that of 5.10’s S1 rubber, the stuff that’s used on their Freerider Pro shoes. I’ve used the Raid Amp II’s on a very wide range of pedals – Shimano XT, Anvl Tilt, Kona Wah Wah, Burgtec Mk4 Composite, and found that there was plenty of traction in every instance. The shoes are stiff and supportive enough to wear on long rides without needing to worry about foot pain, but there’s still enough flex to make walking around off the bike feel very natural.

The shoes have a snug, foot-hugging fit, closer to what you’d expect from a pair of well-broken-in climbing shoes as opposed to a super-roomy skate shoe. That means these may not be the best option for riders with wide feet, but it does give them a very high degree of sensitivity, which makes it easy to tell exactly where your foot is on the pedal. How precise a shoe feels isn’t something that’s discussed very much, but it makes a difference when it comes to making those foot position micro-adjustments that flat pedal riding often requires.

The Raid Amp II’s aren’t going to keep your feet from getting soaked in a rainstorm, but they don’t turn into lead weights once they’re fully saturated either. The upper material doesn’t retain much water, and it didn’t take long to get them dry and ready for another dousing after wet rides. I haven’t tested them in any really scorching temperatures, but they do seem to breathe well, and the lack of any extra-thick padding in the uppers should help prevent any overheated feet once summer time arrives.

Ion Rascal II
Ion Rascal II
 The soles are going strong, but some of the stitching has started to come undone.

Durability

The soles of the shoes have held up very well over the last few months of use, without any unexpected wear or delamination, but I did run into some stitching related issues with the uppers. The stitching that holds one of the pull-straps on has begun to come apart, and while the last few stitches are holding strong, I’m not sure how long that will last. Some of the stitching just past where the front of the laces end has begun to give up as well, which is a little more worrying than losing the use of a pull-strap.

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