Ion has been making great products for quite some time now. And we all know that when they release a new item, it's generally going to surpass it's competition. But I've got to admit I was a tad skeptical when I'd seen the release of their shoe line. Especially in a time where companies like 5.10 and Giro reign supreme for mountain biking due to their construction.
The Raid was everything I didn't expect upon opening the box. A reinforced toe cap to help reduce wear and to keep from breaking anything when you slam. An elastic tongue band to help tuck your laces so that you don't need to worry about them getting sucked into your drive train. Even a heel loop to help pull the shoe on for a properly snug fit (as we all know, most mtb shoes can be a bear to get on without unlacing entirely). To me, these were the little attributes that show attention to detail in an items design. But a shoe is more than looks and quick fixes. It needs to perform.
Upon walking in them I'd noticed a bit of give just past the ball of my foot. Which is great if your shoe is intended to be a street shoe, but you really want that to be rigid in a shoe made to transfer power into your bike while pedaling. I'm also a bit of a snob when it comes to rubber compound as well. The last thing any of us want is to lose footing while landing or right when our speed exceeds 30+ mph. This is a detail that many newer companies tend to overlook I feel, so I stress emphasis on this detail as I really hate coming off of my pedals.
While entering my first climb I'd noticed that not only was the rubber compound of the sole fantastically sticky, but no matter where my placement was, the rubber meshed incredibly well with my pedals. I had also noticed that even though the sole had a bit of give in the parking lot while walking, the rigidity really took hold once on the bike and pedaling. Allowing me to transfer power efficiently just as I'd hoped. Fast forward weeks and this shoe is now my go-to in a closet full of options. It's comfortable, breathes well, and performs INSANELY better than I could have hoped. And as I had mentioned before, the attention to detail on this model is incredible, allowing you release any worry you would normally have about excess, cumbersome laces going haywire on your drive train while riding.
If you're looking for the shoe that is the solution to any issue you're experiencing with your current platform mountain bike shoe, You'll not be disappointed. Ion came out swinging with the design of the Raid AMP. And it won't be long before we're seeing this on every other foot at the bike park.