Crankbrothers MTB Shoes (First Impression)

Photos & Words By: Chris Gaeta


Overview
Crankbrothers has long had a presense in the tool and pedal market with an assortment of multitools/pumps and flat/clipless pedals. In recent seasons we saw their intentions with them branching out into the dropper post and carbon wheel market. Now we see Crankbrothers entering the mtb shoe scene with the introduction of the Mallet, Mallet E, and Stamp shoes - all models offering overlapping features as not to lose out on anything by choosing a flat vs the clip in (see specs below). With 10,000 hours of product research logged, this new line of clipless and flat shoes have a place in every type of rider's closet.


Mallet Clip In

  • Boa(featured):$200
  • Speed Lace:$169
  • Lace:$149
  • Velcro closure system (Boa and Speed Lace versions only)
  • Heel dots for reducing heel slippage
  • Perforated toe and tongue
  • Mesh windows for ventilation
  • Reinforced Toe
  • Padded tongue

Mallet E Clip In

  • A different tread pattern and sole thickness for more rugged use
  • Boa(featured):$200
  • Speed Lace:$169
  • Lace:$149
  • Velcro closure system (Boa and Speed Lace versions only)
  • Heel dots for reducing heel slippage
  • Perforated toe and tongue
  • Mesh windows for ventilation
  • Reinforced Toe
  • Padded tongue

Stamp Flat

  • Boa: $179
  • Speed Lace:$149
  • Lace(featured):$129
  • Optimitized for use with the Stamp pedal
  • Velcro closure system (Boa and Speed Lace versions only)
  • Heel dots for reducing heel slippage
  • Perforated toe and tongue
  • Mesh windows for ventilation
  • Reinforced Toe
  • Padded tongue



First Impressions

The first thing that caught our attention was the extreme comfort. These shoes are some of the most comfortable shoes we sell at the shop - hands down. The cushioning is very soft, especially in the tongue. The strap on the Boa and Speed Lace versions offer a more delicate fit compared to other shoes where the Boa sits higher up towards the ankle and potentially creates a pinch spot when tightened. Boa has become a hot topic with just about every cycling shoe and its no different with this one. It plays a huge role in keeping a tight fit where other closure systems loosen up over time, and with a lifetime warranty it's really become a requirement in most shoe lines. With the purchase of the Mallet and Mallet E shoe, Crankbrothers include a pair of cleats for their Candy, Eggbeater, and Mallet pedals with the latter possibly being the most suitable for this type of shoe. The rubber on the Stamp shoe is fairly soft and should provide plenty of grip with a proper mtb pedal and carries many of the features found on the Mallets. The Mallet is average when it comes to stiffness with the Mallet E possibly offering a little more with the reinforced sole. The Stamp has some flex to it, but should provide a benefit for craddling your foot in a flat pedal.

Mallet


The Mallet and Mallet E are the clipless models in the shoeline. Pretty much the same shoe with the Mallet E having a bit more reinforcement to the sole. This will undoubtedly appeal to the racer or the rider who is a little more abusive on their gear and wants something a bit more rugged. The cleat channel ramps up on the forward and aft sections and could offer a good amount of added grip with clipless pedals that include pins. When it comes to cleat postioning, the Mallets offer a fair amount of room for placement with a "DH Race Zone" labeled. This zone sits in the most aft position - for riders primarily going downhill and use their heels to really drive the bike forward. The channel is reinforced with carbon fiber for added stiffness.









Stamp Flat


The Stamp is Crankbrothers Flat option. This shoe comes with many things the Mallet comes with, but if a flat bottom sole. This shoe will have the same closure systems available as well. The sole uses Crankbrothers' 'Match' rubber compound that has a lot of grip to it. Upon closer inspection, you can see theres a pedal profile to the tread pattern that resembles their Stamp pedal, but will work well with just about any pedal you end up using. As mentioned in our first impressions, the shoe is fairly compliant, but with flat shoes this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Having the ability to flex the toebox can provide added grip when dropping your heels. A reinforced toe adds a good amount of durability and some comfort when hitting solid objects on the trail.