Crankbrothers launch new shoe range with an approach to the design which aims to perfectly integrate with the brand's flat and clipless pedal lineup. They say it's one system, optimized for the perfect interface. We have shoes in ahead of test for an up-close look.
A perfect pedal and shoe combo seem a no-brainer, Crankbrothers have just launched a full complement of shoes at various prices to work with their current pedals. Available in both a flat option and a clipless one, the shoes mirror the pedal range in terms of name and design with the clip shoes called Mallet and the Mallet E's and the flats called Stamp.
Mallet and Mallet E collection
Designed for downhill and enduro, the tough Mallet E gets a streamlined sole and a large cleat box with a 'race zone', and an extended cleat track for stability when descending. The Mallet shoes, for trail and enduro, get what looks like a supportive outsole that extends a little higher up the outside of the shoe without the addition of the 'race zone'. Nevertheless, both shoes appear to have long cleat boxes with plenty of adjustment.
Both the Mallet and Mallet E shoes feature a ramped cleat box which Crankbrothers says provides easy front and rear entry. There are all the normal markings you'd expect so you can line up your cleats perfectly. Your shoes will come with a pair of cleats preinstalled, included in the price, just as ous did.
At the front and rear there are ramped lugs, just like you'd find on mountain bike tyres for better traction hiking up whilst still providing a surface for the pins of the pedal to dig in and grip. The lugs at the heel are spaced slightly wider which the brand says is for better traction when walking downhill. The tacky compound used in the tread (MC1) is slightly less tacky than the flat shoes to allow for easy clipping in and unclipping.
In terms of looks, both the Mallet and the Mallet E shoes get a sleek casual look with generally quite flat soles but incorporating a stiff shank for a good pedaling platform. The smooth upper and outer look easy to clean without any obvious places or large vents where water or cold air might find a way into your foot.
Elsewhere there are inner heel grippers, as you find on Fizik shoes, the smooth outer is perforated for breathability, there is a padded tongue for comfort and there is a reinforced toe box for extra protection.
There are three models of clipless shoe to choose from, the most expensive Boa model as we have here, a mid-price lace and velcro fastening shoe, then a base model which just gets laces. This lace only version does get a handly 'lace-tidy' pocket on the top of the tongue for you to tuck errant ends. Colourwise, these shoes come in black with silver or gold highlights to a green/blue colourway with gum/tan outsole.
Mallet / Mallet E BOA – £179.99
Mallet / Mallet E Speedlace – £149.99
Mallet / Mallet E Lace - £129.99
*all Mallet/Mallet E come with cleats included.
It is worth noting that you can use these shoes with any other cleat/pedal system, they are not solely Crankbrothers specific.
Getting the same outer look as the Mallet shoes, the Stamp shoes differ on the underside, these are a flat pedal only shoe.
The Stamps get a tread pattern which mimics the look and shape of the Stamp pedal for maximum contact surface between pedal and shoe. The brand says they designed the lug depth to absorb the pin for a secure connection too. The sole is made from something Crankbrothers call a MC2 rubber compound, slightly grippier than you might find in the Mallet and Mallet E shoes. They also say this has a low rebound frequency to pin traction and to dampen vibrations.
The other areas of the shoes, not in connection with the pedals feature the same ramped lugs, fore to aft as the Mallet shoes, again with the purpose to add traction when walking. Elsewhere the shoes get the same padded tongue, heel grippers and a reinforced toe box as the Mallet shoes.
In terms specification, the soles are all the same between models and there are three price levels. Top dollar gets you a Boa and velcro fastening, the mid level shoe gets the laces and velcro and the bast model is a simple lace up shoe with that lace tidy. Colours are slightly different here, there are a range of black and grey shoes with contrasting colour highlights, plus the lace up shoes gets a gum sole or black option. Lastly, there is a pure white lace up shoe... if you are fast enough!
Find out more here - www.crankbrothers.com
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