Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review


Words by Robert Johnston & Drew Rohde
Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen

Few products get tested as thoroughly or by as many of our riders as products that are part of our eMTB Shootouts. Our long-term review of the Fox Union shoes began last year when Drew Rohde went down to Fox Racing HQ for a first ride with Santa Cruz Syndicate riders. Since then the rest of the team received at least one pair of shoes back in February. We want to get this out in the open as some of our astute readers and viewers may remember, Fox was our gear sponsor for that shootout. That said, we let brands know in our contract that sponsorship does not guarantee a product review, let alone a favorable review, however we usually don’t ask brands to sponsor our projects if we don’t already feel as if we’ll be pleased with the product based on our initial ride impressions. We felt the need to share that so readers may not feel that we’re disingenuous with our review of the Fox Union shoes below. So, how have the 8 pairs of shoes and riders faired? Read on to find out.


Fox Racing hit the market with three variations of their Union mountain bike shoe: the Union Flat for flat pedals; Union Clipless for clipless pedals with a lace and Velcro fastening; and Union BOA for clipless pedals with a dual BOA fastening system. Our time in the Union Flat shoes hasn’t been as extensive as their two clipless offerings, so we’ll focus on the Union Clipless and Union BOA in this review and will follow up with the Flats once we’ve logged enough time in them to be satisfied.

The main features of the Fox Union and Fox Union BOA shoes are the same, with the difference coming in the form of their fastening system. The Union shoes retail for $179.95 and make use of a standard lace fastener with an additional Velcro Power Strap, whereas the $249.95 Union BOA has a dual BOA Li2 fastener setup to dial in the fit on the upper and lower portions on the top of the foot independently.

Both clipless shoes share the same construction throughout their remainder. Starting from the bottom, there’s an Ultratac sole to interface with the ground and pedals, offering a reasonably soft rubber compound for traction on the ground without sacrificing durability. The tread pattern is tighter packed around the cleat box to offer better interface with any pins, and is wider at the heel and toe for increased bite on softer ground when walking. The cleats sit in a fairly long cleat box, which has setup guidelines with the words Power and Control at the top and bottom of the slots to explain the benefits of a more forward or rearward cleat placement. The cleats are mounted in a reinforced Nylon shank, offering a mid-to-high stiffness level that strikes a fairly nice balance but does require a bit of break-in for those looking for some flex.

Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review

Between the foot and the shank are a thin “tuned” EVA midsole that’s designed to offer some cushion, and a cushioned insole that has a unique party trick in the form of its replaceable arch support. Fox provides a “low” and “high” support in the box, which is attached to the arch area of the insole and allows the rider to customize the level of support the Union shoes offer – a neat touch to dial in the fit, though none of our crew’s feet agreed with the “high” insert.

The upper is constructed in one piece to avoid any potential issues with stitches coming undone or variation in the fit, with a very thin amount of padding inside for the most part. Around the ankle entrance there’s a thicker padded portion, helping to keep the foot secure inside the shoe and adding some comfort to prevent any pressure hot spots. The outer is perforated above the toes and on the side, and otherwise has a welded TPU coating to fend off abrasion and moisture ingress. There is a higher density textured reinforcement in the high wear areas, and a molded toe and heel protection to protect against impacts.

The Fox Union Clipless and Union BOA shoes are offered in a choice of black, grey, mocha brown or red colorways in sizes EU 37-47, with half sizes offered from EU 41.5-45.5.

Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review


Since they were officially launched earlier in the year, we’ve spent good time in both of the Fox Union clipless shoe offerings. They were Drew’s go-to shoe since he received them last year and the entire crew started putting in big miles on the eMTB’s during our 2023 shootout. Drew and Robert also took them on the road for a few weeks of desert riding during our eBike Destinations Tour. All of our testers were quite satisfied with their Union shoes, though some were bigger fans than others. The fit is quite true-to-size, if a little on the higher volume side, so you can typically order your usual size or half a size down. We all decided to stick with the factory-fitted “low” arch supports, likely a product of years of impacts to the foot with overly flat insoles making our arches sink, but it’s nice to have the option to tailor this fit for the higher-arched riders out there, and the implementation is neat.

The Nylon shank that Fox used in their Union shoes falls on the slightly stiffer side of average, which is great for supporting some aggressive riding and for transferring energy to the pedals when pedaling but did result in occasional foot fatigue for some testers on extended descents. Some more cushion underfoot or a slightly softer shank would likely solve this, but would also compromise the control and feel that the Union shoes scores highly in. Overall, we think Fox did a pretty good job blending stiffness in performance for most riders and think that those who’ve been riding clipless shoes will feel at home with the feel. You’re never going to make everyone happy as riders all have very different bodies and demands from their riding, so we’ll say that most of our riders would put the shoe somewhere in the 7.5-8.5 range of comfort on long descents, with a 10 being most comfortable.

Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review

Union Clipless shoes offer a relatively standard cleat position, which is far from a terrible thing, but we would like to see a more rearward option such as Leatt’s gravity clipless offerings, to get the most aggressive gravity-style foot position on the pedals.

As initially discovered in Drew’s wet first ride report, the Union shoes fend off puddle splashes well without being overly stifling, but they do begin to let some moisture through the top once conditions deteriorate. That said, the Fox Union shoes were not designed to be fully waterproof shoes, so their ability to fend off moisture is quite impressive, given that they breathe fairly well, and it helps them to feel lighter when wet too. Thanks to the minimal padding inside, if the Fox shoes do get wet, then they tend to dry out reasonably easily, especially if there’s some heat thrown into the mix. This was put to the ultimate test during two consecutive days of being fully saturated in coastal Oregon during our eBike shootout, and their quick drying kept us from the dreaded cold and wet foot as soon as you put them on the day after a wet ride.

Protection is a key value in a gravity shoe, and the Fox Unions impressed us with the protection on offer given their low profile and limited bulk. The molded toe and heel boxes are sturdy and fended off numerous impacts without issue, undoubtedly saving our feet in the process. Unfortunately, during the arduous riding in the desert, I managed to tear the outer of my shoes in a fight against a coarse rock on a section of climb. This occurred at the edge of the less reinforced area above the top of my pinky toe, and may have been avoided if the abrasion occurred on the reinforced area. It was a tough test for any shoe, but still disappointing to have happened. Otherwise, between a whole crew of riders punishing their shoes there has yet to be any other issues or durability concerns, highlighting the overall build quality and smart use of reinforcement.

Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review

Since we’ve had extensive time riding in both clipless variants of the Fox Union shoes, we’ll take the opportunity to offer a bit of a comparison for riders struggling to decide between the two options.

Beginning with the Union BOA Clipless shoes, the stand-out benefit is the ease and speed of putting the shoes on and taking them off. The BOA Li2 dials are excellent to quickly and effectively tune the fit of the shoes to your foot, with the dual-zone separation letting you tailor the tightness on the upper and lower portions of your foot to obtain a comfortable fit quickly, with or without gloves. The ability to release tension in small increments on the Li2 variant of the BOA dials is much appreciated, avoiding the need to fully release tension and try again if you overtighten one. It’s also considerably easier to tune the fit on-the-fly, to account for any swelling due to heat or activity and can be done without getting off the bike once you get the knack.

If the upper BOA dial was done extremely tight, there was occasionally some pressure hot-spotting occurring on the top wire, due to the soft tongue – it would be nice to see a denser tongue material used in this area to prevent this, but it was only an issue when the shoe was tightened extremely hard. The BOA dials proved to work well for the duration of the test, but due to their position they were impacted a couple of times when riding, and we could foresee damage being sustained in an unlucky impact, which could spell an awkward end to a ride. Nevertheless, it didn’t happen, so perhaps our speculation is unjustified.

Fox Racing Union and Union BOA Clipless Shoe Review

The Union Clipless shoes have a well implemented lace and strap fastening system, with the laces relatively easy to cinch up to the preferred tightness due to their free movement through the eyelets in the shoe. The Velcro strap lets you secure the top of these Fox shoes very securely without constricting the rest of the foot, doing a good job at distributing the pressure and avoiding any hot spots. We liked the more classic looks of the Union Clipless version, compared with the somewhat futuristic, high tech looks of the Union BOA, but there is no denying the BOA is a faster, easier and more performance-minded model. That said, Fox’s Union Clipless may be some of the easiest MTB shoes to lace up, and we love that about them.

We’d suggest the BOA version is a great option for riders who demand on-the-fly fit tuning and appreciate the faster entry and exit, but we’d likely opt for the lace and Velcro option if we were purchasing the shoes for ourselves. We like the more casual looks, reduced likelihood for sustaining damage and the reduced costs without reduced performance overall, but either way we think riders are likely to be happy by Fox’s Union mountain bike shoe line.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Fox hit it out of the park with their first Union Clipless footwear offering, and though the ultimate comfort didn’t rank at the very top for some of our testers, everyone on the team has been very happy with their Union Clipless and Union BOA shoes. The Union Clipless shoe price is in line with the current clipless shoe market, however, we feel the BOA clipless shoes are a bit on the high side, at least you’re getting some durable and well-performing mountain bike shoes for the price.

Union Clipless – $179.95
Union BOA – $249.95


We Dig

Quality construction
Low Profile Protection
Weather resistance with breathability
Comfortable around the foot
Ease of lacing

We Don’t

A touch stiff on long descents for some
Quite pricey


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