Scott MTB AR Boa Clip Review
Cons: Heavy, super high-volume fit, ventilation
Manufacturer: Scott Sports
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Scott MTB AR Boa Clip
|Price||$180 List||Check Price at REI|
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$169.99 at Backcountry
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|Pros||Double-Boa closure, sturdy pedaling platform||Durable construction, comfortable, great traction and walkability||Lightweight, reasonable price, good power transfer, comfortable||Lightweight, reasonable price, casual style, great blend of pedaling stiffness and walkability||Inexpensive, comfortable, great off the bike|
|Cons||Heavy, super high-volume fit, ventilation||Heavy, no ankle protection||Minimal foot protection, not great for walking, smaller cleat adjustment range||Roomy fit in the forefoot, not the best lateral stability||Minimal protection, limited cleat adjustment, below average power transfer|
|Bottom Line||An all-around trail shoe with a great closure system but a subpar fit and high weight||A beefy and rugged shoe that should stand up to multiple seasons of abuse||A quality shoe that offers high-end cross-country performance at a reasonable price||An affordable, lightweight, casual-looking trail riding shoe with good power transfer and off the bike walkability||A well-rounded, budget-friendly option that's just as comfortable off the bike as it is on|
|Rating Categories||Scott MTB AR Boa Clip||Ride Concepts Talla...||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Power Transfer (20%)|
|Traction Walkability (25%)|
|Specs||Scott MTB AR Boa Clip||Ride Concepts Talla...||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Closure||2 Boa IP-1 dials||Laces plus velcro strap||Boa iP-1 dial, plus velcro strap||Laces||Laces|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||531 grams||539 grams||359 grams||375 grams||452 grams|
|Upper Material||Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D AirMesh||Bonded Cordura mech with TPU toe and heel protection||Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D Airmesh||Synthetic Leather and Textile||Synchwire on-piece composite|
|Footbed||ErgoLogic||D30 High Impact Insole||ErgoLogic||Specialized Body Geometry||Die-cut EVA|
|Sole||Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite||RC Powerdrive Nylon Shank||Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite||Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate||Injected nylon shank|
|Outsole||Sticki Rubber||Clip Grip||StickiRubber||SlipNot FG||Rubber outsole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With decades of experience in the cycling industry making some of the best products on the market, Scott is one of the first names that comes to mind when we think of high-quality brands. These days they make everything from complete bikes to riding gear and clothing like shoes, sunglasses, jerseys, and shorts. We typically have great experiences with their products, so we were excited to put the MTB AR Boa Clip through their paces. These shoes certainly pass the smell test with their EVA midsole, Sticki Rubber outsole, double-Boa closure system, and stiffness index score of 7, but once we got them on the trail they left us wanting for a little bit more comfort and a little bit less weight.
These shoes aren't the stiffest, most efficient model out there, but for their intended purpose, they do the job well. Getting the power through to the pedals was one area where we think the MTB AR Boa Clip performed as advertised. Scott rates these shoes as a 7 out of 10 in their stiffness index, and that's right in line with what we felt out on the trail. The sole is stiff enough to provide a sturdy pedaling platform for both endurance pedaling and high-intensity, high-torque efforts like sprinting or punching up a steep section of trail. We never felt the sole fold over the pedal like some more flexible soles tend to. Because of the EVA midsole and the cushioned insole, your power isn't transferred as directly into the pedals as it would be with a carbon-soled cross country shoe, but we think the sole is right in the sweet spot for an all-around trail shoe.
When it comes time to point the bike downhill the sole does a good job of muting the harshest trail feedback and keeping your calves from fatiguing excessively. Additionally, the wide, long cleat box allows for a large range of adjustment rearward so that gravity-oriented riders can find a comfortable descending position. We were able to set our cleats with a slight rearward bias and find a good balance of climbing and descending performance.
Given Scott's track record of high-quality products, we had no reason to expect that these shoes wouldn't be comfortable or true to size. When we initially put them on, however, the cavernous fit had us double-checking to make sure we ordered the correct size. Wearing standard cycling socks our feet felt like they were sliding into a shoe at least one size too big. The length is relatively true to size, but the width and height are not. We were able to find a secure fit by cranking down on the Boa dials, but unless we had loads of tension across the top of the shoe our feet felt like they were floating.
Undeterred, we hit the trails for a couple laps, but we quickly discovered that the excessive Boa tension required for a secure fit created some comfort issues. With the Boas so tight, the top edges of the tongue and ankle cup are pulled firmly against the front and sides of the ankle, and they start to cause discomfort. The thin upper edge of the tongue feels like it is cutting into the front of your ankle over time, and after a couple hours of pedaling, we had visible red chafing marks in the area of discomfort. We think that this problem would likely disappear if we dropped down a size and didn't have to overtighten the Boas for a secure fit, but with this size, the problem persisted even as the shoes broke in. By the end of our test period, we started wearing our thickest socks with these shoes to try and mitigate the issue as much as possible.
In addition to the fit issues, we found the MTB AR Boa Clip's ventilation a bit lacking. On cooler days or shorter rides, they worked well, but when things got hot the upper started to feel balmy. The heat issue wasn't helped by the fact that we started wearing thicker socks to try and fill the shoe's volume.
Traction and Walkability
The MTB AR Boa Clip functions relatively well off the bike. The sturdy sole has just enough flex in the toes to allow for a relatively normal gait while the middle and rear sections of the shoe remain stiff. Because of the firm sole and spacious fit we experienced some heel lift when walking. Over the course of one longer ride with a couple hike-a-bike sections, our lead tester reported some discomfort at the back of the ankle caused by the heel lift that could have eventually led to a blister. It's possible that this is another symptom of the fact that we had to over-tighten the Boas because it pulls the ankle opening so tight to the ankle.
Scott's Sticki Rubber sole provides solid traction when the time comes to hike up or down high angle trail sections or on rough terrain. The tread pattern isn't aggressive, but angled lugs at the toe and ankle help provide traction on steep gradients. We used these shoes in both dry and wet conditions and found good traction in both.
Our size-45 test shoes weighed in at a hefty 531-grams per shoe without cleats installed, making them one of the heaviest shoes we tested. Only a few other models, like the heavy-duty Ride Concepts Transition downhill shoe, topped it. For reference, the lightest shoes we measured came in around 370 grams per shoe and comparable do-it-all trail shoes tend to weigh between 400 and 460 grams.
Despite the issues we had with these shoes, they certainly stood up to the test from a durability standpoint. The shoe is constructed with high-quality materials that should stand the test of time. The upper has reinforcement in all the right places to protect from scuffing and fraying, and the sturdy outsole's rubber is hard enough that the tread shouldn't wear out too quickly. After weeks of riding in our pair of test shoes, they showed no signs of wearing out.
The MTB AR Boa Clip comes with a roughly median price tag among all-mountain shoes, but we think that most riders will find more value in other shoes that we tested. Unless you have particularly tall and wide feet or are looking for a winter shoe that you can use with thick socks, you will find other shoes in this review with a better fit for a similar price.
The MTB AR Boa Clip has some great upsides, but unfortunately the fit and comfort issues we had overshadowed our favorite aspects of this shoe.
— Zach Wick
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