The French brand Mavic jumped on the enduro bandwagon long before many US brands decided it was a thing, and has been creating and selling enduro-specific shoes for years. With that in mind, I decided to review a set of their enduro kicks–the Crossride Elites–figuring these would be the perfect shoes for some challenging mountain biking I had in store this year, including a three-week trip to Europe.
However, the review process didn’t turn out to be nearly as happy go-lucky as I had hoped.
Out of the box, the Crossride Elite looks like a quality enduro shoe on a budget. The closure is a combination of standard laces and an upper velcro strap, forgoing the more expensive buckles and pull laces of higher-end enduro shoes. The uppers appear well-ventilated with plenty of mesh, and the sole consists of heavily-lugged rubber, which promised plenty of grip in hike-a-bike situations. The midsole is EVA, and the design is dubbed “Energy Grip Trail” by Mavic.
The Crossride Elites weigh in at roughly 820 grams for the pair, according to my scale, with a little dirt caked on and no cleats installed.
Out on the Trail
Right out of the gate, I was quite pleased with the Crossrides. While they aren’t the lightest shoe on the market, a stiff sole made for respectable pedaling efficiency, and the grippy outsole initially proved confident in steep, loose, off-camber terrain.
During the summer I spend much of my time hike-a-biking high above treeline to access remote alpine trails, occasionally bagging a thirteen- or fourteen-thousand foot mountain peak along the way. The Crossrides looked to be the perfect shoes for this application!
However, my durability woes began on ride #2, when I smacked a rock–hard!–with the side of my foot, and tore a hole in the upper. It’s quite possible that many shoes would have torn from a rock strike that harsh, so during the remainder of the test, I kept an eye on the hole to see if it would grow larger. Over the course of the next four weeks, it remained the same size instead of continuing to tear open, so kudos to Mavic for what proved to be a relatively durable upper, all things considered.
But my luck wouldn’t be so great with the soles of the shoes. In short, these soles only lasted me four weeks of riding before they completely fell apart.
Granted, at the end of four weeks I had logged almost 300 miles of challenging singletrack riding, which is no small feat. But whether or not that’s a lot of miles or very few miles for one month of riding depends entirely on the rider.
At the end of my test period, I had succeeded in tearing lugs off the front of the shoes, punishing the rubber connection to the hard plastic sole so that it was disintegrating and peeling away, with the other lugs that were still attached showing significant wear. Just check out the photos for yourself.
While I completely understand that shoes are a wear item and that they don’t last forever, I expect them to last at least one solid season–or at least, the better part of a season, if you’re logging a ton of miles. And indeed, I’ve had plenty of shoes last me a full season or more in these same conditions and on these same trails, most of which were standard XC shoes. But one month and 300 miles is nowhere close to a full season of riding.
If a standard XC shoe can handle endless hike-a-bikes in scree fields, it seems obvious that a shoe designed for hike-a-biking should be able to do the same, but I didn’t find that to be the case with the Crossrides.
Response from Mavic
I reached out to Mavic about this issue, and I learned that this model of shoe, the Crossride Elite, has already been discontinued, and won’t carry on into 2017. Also, according to Mavic, at $120 MSRP, the Crossrides are intended for a more casual rider, and I’m not the intended user. At the time of this writing, there is no official statement from Mavic about whether or not there was a structural or material issue with the shoes.
If you are indeed a casual rider and you don’t anticipate doing much hike-a-biking in technical terrain, then perhaps you could get away with using the Crossride Elites. I personally could not. However, if you’re looking for an affordable shoe and you don’t intend to be doing much walking or hiking, the Crossride isn’t the best shoe for that application–a standard cross country shoe is.
While the $120 MSRP price tag is pretty low, and the close-out $64.97 pricing on Backcountry.com is a screaming deal in comparison, since these shoes don’t fulfill their intended purpose, I can’t recommend them.
Stay tuned for another shoe review from Mavic. Following my issues with the Crossride Elites, they sent over their Crossmax XL Pro shoes, their top-of-the-line enduro shoe. Hopefully these shoes fare better!
Thanks to Mavic for providing the Crossride Elite Shoes for testing.