What’s an MTB pedal company to do when they can’t control the main component that their products interact with? Well naturally, they start making shoes. Given the broad variations in cleat channels and placement on clipless shoes, and the mixed theories around how to make flat-pedal pins stick to shoe soles, it made sense for Crankbrothers to draw up a shoe that perfectly fits with their lineup of clicky and flat pedals.
The famous pedal designers now have two new clipless models and a flat shoe on offer, with some cool details that spin past pedal integration. The Mallet E is a stiffer and more protective laden version of the Mallet, while the Stamp is meant for stamping on flats. All three come in US sizes 5-14 (EU 37-48) with traditional laces, a Speed Lace, or BOA rotor to cinch them taut.
I have been on a few rides with the Mallet E shoes and I’m stoked to report that Crankbrothers did a fantastic job designing these new kicks. They stay cinched nice and tight, the outsole is covered in hard rubber protection panels, and the cleat-shank feels sturdy and supportive. The size 43 pair I received weighs 919g with cleats installed and a fair bit of mud caked on. Crankbrothers is offering all of their new shoes with cleats pre-installed for a small upcharge. We will have a full review of the Mallet E after a few months of sloppy winter testing.
The Mallet E is a touch more gravity race-focused than the regular Mallet shoe model. Similar to a wheelset from Crankbrothers, “E” stands for Enduro, not e-bike, though I’m sure they also work well pedaling with assistance. The cleat channel extends 5mm further back toward the mid-foot on this gravity version, right where a lot of riders want it, and the sole wraps up around the heel and ball of the foot for a level of protection above that of the regular Mallet. I tried the cleat in the full-rearward position and it definitely feels like the pedal center is in the center of your shoe, despite sitting just behind the ball of the foot. This position should feel great on steep trails when dropped heels are a must.
Speed Laces cinch up the Mallet E shoes I’m testing as tight as I want them without coming loose or stretching throughout the ride, and there’s a lace-garage atop the tongue to hide everything away from the drivetrain. Like the Mallet and Stamp models, this shoe is also available with a BOA closure or regular laces for riders who prefer them.
The Mallet receives many of the same features as the Mallet E, in a lighter-weight package for riders who don’t need quite as much protection. All of the shoes have padded tongues to protect the upper foot, and heel grippers to keep them in place while hiking. The Mallet are a little less hike-a-bike ready than the Mallet E, with a slightly lighter-weight sole.
With the Stamp, Crankbrothers aimed to create a tread pattern that directly meshes wit the pins on their Stamp flat pedals. The matching tread and pin patterns allow the shoes to stick to the pedals well while using a rubber that will reportedly hold up a little longer than some of the leading competition.
The toe and heel tread is ramped for walking around in the woods and sessioning your favorite jump lines.
The Stamp also comes with three different closure systems, and all of the lace and Speed lace shoes have pockets to store the laces.
The Stamp BOA sells for €/$179.99, Speed Laces for €/$149.99, and gool ol’ lace up models retail for €/$129.99.
Head over to Crankbrothers for further details.