Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady Review
Cons: Lacking side protection on the mid-foot
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady is described by Scott as an "all-mountain choice that takes comfort to the next level." Our testers were initially skeptical of this claim, especially given how light the shoe is; however, we were quickly won over by the shoes' performance, comfort, and price point, making it a Best Buy.
On our first ride, we were impressed with how light the shoe felt on the foot. Weighing 351 grams for a women's EU 39, it sits in the middle of the spectrum in comparison to other shoes we tested in terms of weight. Unlike other shoes with a similar weight, the MTB Elite Boa Lady has a bit more substantial impact protection making it suitable for rougher terrain, although it is not protective enough for park use on rowdy enduro lines.
Our testers agree with other reviewers who suggest sizing down one size in this shoe to obtain optimal fit and recommend those considering the MTB Elite Boa Lady to follow this advice as well.
The MTB Elite Boa Lady more than adequately absorbs trail vibrations before they reach the rider's foot. Our testers found the shoe to dissipate most impact and chatter from the trail, save the rowdiest sections of loose, rock-strewn trail. These features, in combination, make the Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady a great choice for everything from cross country races to all-day epics.
Stability and Control
Scott rates the shoe's stiffness as a 7 on a scale from 6 — 10, with 6 being described as "offering enough stiffness for a straight pedaling response without losing flexibility…". Our testers feel the MTB Elite Boa Lady's power transfer to be quite good, we were able to apply ample pressure to the pedals throughout our pedal stroke and could comfortably stand and press into the pedals on most descents. The sole is comprised of nylon and composite. In combination, this offers better power transfer than nylon or fiberglass soles due to the increased stiffness. We did find that on very rough terrain littered with baseball to baby head sized rocks, that we could feel some trail feedback into our feet, causing them to ache mildly. However, this feedback is less than most other shoes we tested at a similar weight, helping it earn higher marks in this metric.
The MTB Elite Boa Lady has just 1 1/8" of fore/aft cleat adjustment, which we found to be more in line with the adjustment offered by the more cross-country style shoes we tested. However, we were able to find our ideal cleat position by placing them all the way back towards the mid-foot. In this location, there is less side to side between the cleat and the lugs of the sticky rubber outsole due to the cleat opening tapering towards the mid-foot. For those who use a wider cleat, we suggest checking to ensure there is enough space between the cleat and the lug to comfortably be able to unclip.
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady offers riders a more "relaxed" fit and features a Boa and Velcro lacing system allowing the rider to dial in the fit. Our testers took the advice of other reviewers who suggested sizing down to get the best fit in this shoe. Instead of our normal EU40, we ordered the shoe in a EU39 and were happy with the overall length, as the EU40 would have been too long.
The shoe's Boa lacing allows you to tighten or loosen in small increments to attain optimal fit. Forward of the Boa lacing is a Velcro strap that sits at the widest part of the foot. Our testers have found Velcro straps in this location to do little in terms of fit adjustment, and the Boa truly allows the rider to achieve their ideal fit.
For riders who need arch support, the MTB Elite Boa Lady features an ErgoLogic insole with an adjustable arch and metatarsal button, allowing the rider to customize the fit of the insole to their foot. While this was not a feature our testers needed due to our flat feet, we do know that some riders will certainly appreciate this feature.
The MTB Elite Boa Lady kept our feet cool on rides thanks to perforations and 3D Airmesh panels on the uppers. While mesh panels and perforations in some shoes allow dirt and water to easily enter the shoe, the tightly woven mesh and strategically placed side perforations on the Scott's helped to keep both dirt and water at bay, even while riding through large puddles and creek crossings.
The fit of the Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady is on the narrower end of the spectrum of the shoes we tested, especially in the toebox. However, unlike other models we tested, we found the forefoot to quickly stretch and contour to our foot, making for a fairly comfortable fit. We should note that we did experience continual pressures on the outside of our right foot, where it is the widest. While this did not detract from our riding, nor is it terribly uncomfortable. For riders with a wider foot, we suggest trying the shoes on for fit before purchasing.
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady's sole flexes comfortably while walking, in part due to its stiffness index being a 7 on a scale of 6 — 10, meaning that it has substantially more flex than shoes whose sole is entirely composite. The sole is made of Scott's Sticki rubber compound which is not as sticky as climbing shoe rubber, but does provide good grip while hiking on rocks and other trail surfaces. Our testers were able to comfortably hike and scramble up sandy rocks, and loose hike-a-bikes comfortably without needing to worry about our foot placement and if it would slip.
The MTB Elite Boa Lady has welded armor protection on high wear areas giving the rider additional foot protection. Unlike other shoes of a similar weight, the area directly above the forefoot has an extra layer of protection for the rider, which is especially helpful for random rocks that kick up off the trail. The front of the toebox and heel also features an additional layer of textured protection, helping to keep the upper scuff free. During our testing, we found the protection offered by the MTB Elite Boa Lady to be enough for our rides, even those that involved loose, rocky descents, although we would not wear it to the bike park.
In addition to protecting the foot from potential rock strikes, the MTB Elite Boa Lady also offers the rider some peace of mind in terms of being water-resistant. The perforated upper with the 3D Airmesh's weave is woven tightly enough to keep water at bay. We found our feet to be surprisingly dry even after riding through creek beds with standing water, unlike other shoes we tested whose mesh or perforations allowed water to enter easily.
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady weighs 351 grams for a EU40, placing it in the middle of the shoes we tested. While not a super lightweight race slipper, this shoe is light on the foot while providing adequate protection for many trails.
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady's price point is lower than many other shoes reviewed, that combined with its performance qualities, make it a Best Buy.
The Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady offers features found in much more expensive shoes, such as Boa lacing, an adjustable footbed, and a nylon and composite outsole. Our testers found it's power transfer to be better than other shoes we tested at and even above its price point, earning it a Best Buy award. For the rider looking for a well-performing shoe whose price tag that doesn't break the bank, we highly recommend the Scott MTB Elite Boa Lady.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams