Crank Bros have taken control of the shoe and pedal interface with the Mallet shoe range
Crank Brothers have really done their homework with their new Mallet shoe. Here at AMB we're all about making your contact points as matched to you as possible. Be that grips and gloves, your saddle and shorts, tryes and the ground - and of course your shoes and pedals.
The Mallet shoes take out the guess work of fitting Crank Bros cleats up with other shoes. As their cleat is 6mm deep and the typical Shimano type cleat is 7mm, you sometimes need to run one or two spacers under a Crank Bros cleat to ensure you get consistent cleat engagement - and release. If you've ever been stuck in a pair of Crank Bros shoes after leaving a spacer out, you'll know it's not a great experience.
There's also a ramp to that crucial clip in area, helping your pedal find the cleat first time every time. Crank Bros also claim that with their shim system, you can keep the engagement consistent throughout the wear life of the shoe and cleat, increasing the reliability of the system and getting as much out of your equipment as possible.
Crank Bros did their homework in terms of design, rubber outsole and shoe design to create a range that's stiff where it needs to be on the pedal, with a nice and open cleat pocket for flawless engagement. They even kept the cleat channel nice and long to allow for a very reardward cleat placement. Most mountain bikers run a long way back anyway, but the 5mm extra 'pro only' zone will be a huge bonus for anyone who really takes their gravity riding very seriously.
What's happening on the outer sole is called the Match system, with the idea being that the design matches use with Crank Bros own pedals, but also the outer sole with the flat pedals matches how they get ridden (and the sole pattern changes from pin interface to the toes/heels and of course the clipless shoes are different again. This isn't a case of one shoe being great for everyone - you really get to find the type that suits you.
Crank Brothers are offering the Mallet in 3 flavours: the Stamp, Mallet and Mallet E.
The Stamp is a flat pedal shoe with high-friction rubber that has a low enough rebound to really keep hold of pedal pins. The Mallet and Mallet E use a slightly different rubber that still has a high friction level and greater stability through the mid sole.
The Mallet and Mallet E look really similar, but the Mallet is designed for bike park riding with less aggressive sole lugs, while the Mallet E suits all-mountain and enduro riding, where the chances of needing to get off to push up, or scope lines is much greater. As such the sole lugs are more agressive for better grip.
There are three options to keep them on your feet as well: Lace, Speed lace and BOA. So yeah, that's 9 shoe options before you consider colour!
Ben Morrison's take on the Crank Bros Mallet BOA shoes
It has to be said if you have ever used a BOA system on a pair of cycling shoes that its likely you feel in love, being one of those people I was very excited when opening the box to find the crew at Lusty had sent the BOA model.
This is a very well thought out and cleanly finished shoe with smooth lines inside and out with no stitching astray to dig into your foot. With a very plush feel, excellent finish matched with some well thought out features, its clear that Crank Brothers were making sure they had things dialled before release them.
Walking on the trail to check out lines you will notice the Mallet does not move or rub on your heal thanks to some well placed rubber dimples in the heal cup and nice amount of flex in the toe. Don’t worry this flex in the toe does not impact on power transfer and trust me it’s there (especially combined with the heel strap, BOA and great heal cup) if you need to get hard on the pedals.
One of the most interesting things is Crank Bros took into account the fact that not everyone uses their pedals. While they make their own pedals (gold cleats came installed on the Mallets) they do not expect you to make the switch and have added features like a much longer range of adjustment front to back than I have seen on any shoe, along with increasing the space around the cleat to be clear of rubber so as not to catch on other brands popular pedals.
I have to say a big well done to Crank Bros for not just keeping the focus on their pedals only. Personally I used a DMR V Twin Pedal with no issues and I would not be surprised to see these shoes under riders not using Crank Brothers pedals at the races and on the trails. So when you are next looking for a high end mountain bike shoe take a look and ignore the fact that they are made by a pedal brand and let your feet decide for you.
Ryan Walsch's take on the Crank Bros Stamp
I have been using the Crank Bros Stamp shoe on Crank Brothers Stamp large platform pedal. Constructed with the MATCH system outersole, the Stamp's sole is designed around the Stamp pedals lug design and this increases the surface contact with the pedal.
On the trail the rider can easily feel the pedals lugs sit into the shoes tread and hold on. The highly reinforced toe box, the EVA cushioned midsole and breathability are but a few of the high tech features of the Stamp.
Strangely enough, my favourite features apart from the embroidery and high quality appearance are the "Heel Dots" and profile of the shoes heel box making this shoe comfortable to push back up a section or walk around in. Stiff on the pedal, yet flexible enough for a bit of a session on your local or a cold one at the pub.
Crank Bros shoe models and prices
Stamp Lace $219.95
Stamp Speedlace + Strap $249.95
Stamp Boa $299.95
Mallet Lace $249.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
Mallet Speedlace + Strap $279.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
Mallet Boa $329.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
Mallet E Lace $249.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
Mallet E Speedlace + Strap $279.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
Mallet E Boa $329.95 (with cleat installed RRP: $49.95)
From: Lusty Industries