With the Union series, Fox enter the MTB footwear segment. Their debut shoes are available in three different versions and four different colours. They also have adjustment options for the insole. Sounds like the Fox Union shoes are off to a good start in the world of MTB footwear, doesn’t it? We took a closer look.
After two years of development and feedback loops, American clothing brand Fox present their first MTB shoes. Strictly speaking, however, it is not just one, but three models that promise to cover all areas of mountain biking. Whether clipless or flat pedals, the Union series has you covered, catering to a wide range of preferences. But it’s not just the sole and pedal interface that you can choose from, the clipless shoes also give you an option between Velcro and laces or a BOA ratchet system. They cover a wide range of sizes, too, including everything from 37 to 47, with half size increments from 41 to 46.5. The available colours are black, grey, red, and mocha, with the latter being more reminiscent of a latte macchiato. Pricing for the Union shoes starts at € 149.99 for the flat version. The clipless version with Velcro and laces is available for € 169.99. We tested the Fox Union Boa version in size 47 and in black. For this model, you’ll have to fork out a whopping € 239.99. We put them to the test to find out whether it’s a worthwhile investment.
The first thing we noticed when slipping our feet into the Fox Union BOA shoes is how wide they are! Our tester has wide feet, so this is a big plus for him. As such, the Union BOA were comfortable right off the bat, delivering in terms of fit. Moreover, you get two different insoles to adapt the shoes to your feet. This allows you to fine tune the fit by changing the height of the arches. Once you’ve selected your preferred insoles, it’s time to set the cleats. There are horizontal lines all along the cleat tracks to help you position the cleats, as well as arrows showing you where you’d need to place them for more power or control. Neat! At first glance, the cleat boxes look big enough to adjust the cleats, but in combination with the Hope Union pedals, we had to mount the cleats all the way on the inside to get the shoes as far away from the cranks as possible. Otherwise, they would rub on the cranks. However, riders with smaller feet should have more leeway.
When kitting up, not even The Flash would find the Union BOA slow to put on or take off. Thanks to the dual BOA ratchets, making adjustments is easy, too, so you’re guaranteed to get a good fit! What’s more, you no longer have to fiddle with shoelaces with frozen fingers. Our only criticism is with where Fox placed the dials. They got caught on branches and the insides of corners on several occasions. But that’s ok, because if you tear off one of the ratchets, you can send it in to BOA and get a free replacement, which is quite easy to install. In terms of protection and comfort, the Fox Union shoes have a lot to offer. We tested them in winter conditions in southern Germany and had amazingly dry and warm feet. In addition, the front and side panels are reinforced to protect your feet from impacts. So, our toes remained intact despite slamming the shoes into obstacles on several occasions. The soles are reinforced and stiff, too. Despite this, they still provide you with enough feedback to know where you’ve got your feet positioned on the pedals, which makes it easy to click in. Regardless of whether you’re clicked in or out, however, the Fox Union shoes provide a secure footing and thus instil you with confidence on the trail.
With the Union BOA, Fox have designed a pair of versatile shoes. Thanks to the adjustable insole and a choice of three different models, there should be a pair to suit everyone. Their stiffness adds a level of protection while in no way diminishing their connection to the pedals. The BOA mechanisms ensure a secure and finely adjustable fit, and the outer material keeps your feet warm and dry. With the Union shoes, Fox have put together an excellent all-round package.
- lots of variants to choose from
- stiff sole that still provides feedback
- excellent and easily adjustable fit
- placement of the BOA ratchets
- limited cleat adjustability for large feet
For more information about the new Fox Union shoes, check out the manufacturer’s website.
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Words: Gabriel Knapp Photos: Peter Walker