Crank Brothers Introduces 9 New MTB Shoes For Flat & Clip-In Pedals

Crank Brothers, the inventor of the iconic Eggbeater clip-in pedal, has had its name positioned underneath the shoes of mountain bikers all around the globe since 2002. Hoping to put its name on top of those pedals (and others), Crank Brothers is now throwing its hat into the mountain bike shoe ring. And we’re not just talking one or two shoes – this is a 9-strong lineup, with options for both flat and clip-in pedal users. That’s a hefty commitment from Crank Brothers indeed. We’ve been razzing about in some of the new shoes for the past couple of weeks, and here we’ll be taking a closer look at what they’re all about, and how they intend to *ahem* stand out in an already busy market.

crank brothers mallet shoes
Crank Brothers has leapt into the MTB footwear market with nine new options for both flat pedal and clip-in pedal users.

Introducing The New Stamp, Mallet & Mallet E Shoes

Crank brothers is launching its mountain bike footwear range with three models. The Stamp is a flat-pedal shoe, while the Mallet and Mallet E are clip-in pedal shoes. All are designed for trail and gravity riding – you won’t find any super-light XC toe-tappers here.

Each model is available in three different options, which are denoted by their closure systems; BOA, Speed Lace & Lace. The soles are actually the same within each model, it’s just the closure system that changes between them. There are many common features shared across the entire shoe lineup too, and the overall aesthetic is clean, with minimal logos, subtle ventilation panels and discreet armouring for the toe box and heel. Crank Brothers has always offered a more minimalist style, though the expertise and influence of its sister brand Fizik is also clear across the new footwear range.

crank brothers mallet shoes
The soles are designed to match up with Crank Brothers pedals, but they’re still compatible with other pedals too.

Matching Shoes To Pedals

On the business side of its new shoes, Crank Brothers claims it has designed the outsole interface to mate up with its own pedals. So the Stamp shoe is designed for the Stamp pedal, the Mallet shoe with the Mallet pedal, and the Mallet E shoe with the Mallet E pedal.

This is a relatively novel concept. There are a lot of shoe and pedal brands out there, but (Shimano being a notable exception), few if any of those brands produce both mountain bike shoes and pedals. Crank Brothers calls the system ‘Match’, and it’s all about optimising the interface between the shoe sole and the pedal body.

Sticky Rubber

In the case of the Stamp shoes, Crank Brothers has employed a new rubber compound it calls MC1. The sticky low-rebound rubber is moulded into a specific pattern that mimics the shape and size of a Stamp flat pedal to deliver maximum surface area contact. The lug size and depth have also been profiled to line up with the pedal pins, so they can latch on cleanly for a stronger hold. On either side of the pedal zone, the lugs are angled and slightly deeper to provide more grip when walking around off the bike.

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Stamp shoe features a sticky rubber compound called MC2, and the outsole pattern mimics the shape of the Stamp flat pedals.

Clever Clip-Ins

Likewise, both the Mallet and Mallet E shoes are optimised for their respective clip-in pedals. These shoes employ a firmer MC1 rubber compound, and the cleat box is also ramped fore and aft, to reduce the chance of the pedal grabbing during entry and exit.

With the Mallet E pitched as more of an trail/enduro shoe, it gets slightly deeper tread blocks for more versatile hike-a-bike traction. The nylon shank is slightly stiffer than the regular Mallet shoe, and the the outsole is also designed to pair up with the slightly smaller profile of the Mallet E pedal.

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Mallet and Mallet E have a long cleat channel with chamfered ends front and back to help ease entry and exit.

In comparison, the tread pattern is a little more neutral on the DH-focussed Mallet shoe, and the cleat positioning is also slightly different. With the addition of the ‘Race Zone’, riders can run their cleats further back for improved descending balance and stability.

Both shoes will come supplied with a shim specifically for use with Crank Brothers cleats. As the rubber around the pedal body wears down over time, this shim can be removed in order to tighten up any slop that develops between the shoe and pedal. This shim can also be removed in the first place to allow for SPD-style cleats to be mounted to the Mallet and Mallet E shoes. While these shoes are optimised for Crank Brothers pedals, they are compatible with the Shimano SPD system, and other brands of clip-in pedals too.

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Mallet shoe allows you to achieve a more rearward cleat position thanks to the excitingly-labelled Race Zone.

Initial Impressions

Mick’s been using a pair of the Mallet Lace shoes for the past fortnight, and so far has been really impressed. Fit isn’t dissimilar to the ION Rascal and Specialized 2FO Roost shoes – the Crank Brothers Mallet Lace are a touch closer fitting around the toe, but they’re otherwise pretty neutral in terms of volume and width.

In comparison to those aforementioned shoes, the Mallet Lace sits somewhere in the middle in terms of chassis stability – the shank is stiffer than the 2FO Roost, so power transfer is more direct, but they’re not as stiff and racy as the IONs. There’s a good dose of cushioning throughout the sole, and the upper is quite supple and flexible, so they’re really comfortable and well-damped both on and off the bike. Breathability is good, but they’re not as breezy as the 2FO Roost.

crank brothers mallet shoes
We’ve been using the Mallet Lace shoe for the past fortnight, and early impressions are very good.

Despite being used with Shimano XTR Trail pedals, the Mallet Lace shoes have proven to be easy to clip in and out of thanks to that roomy and smoothly tapered cleat channel. Mick has set his cleats up a little further forward of the ‘Race Zone’, but new-school gravity riders will no doubt make use of the more rearward mounting position.

While we’ll want plenty more miles with them before we can make a conclusion on their long-term durability, early signs are promising. With the comfortable fit and well-tuned sole, the Mallet Lace shoes offer a nice balance between power transmission and cushy comfort. We also dig the subtle styling, particularly with the Lace models that skip the funky BOA dial and Speed laces of the more expensive models. That said, it’s nice to see options for riders to choose from, and it’s also worth noting that there aren’t a lot of flat pedal options out there with high-tech closure systems like the Stamp BOA.

There’s good power transfer here, but the Mallet Lace is still supple enough allow you more freedom and flexibility when pushing the bike through the pedals.

What’s Coming To Oz?

We’ll see the new Crank Brothers Stamp and Mallet shoes arriving in early 2021, with Mallet E’s arriving a little later on. Sizes will range from EU37 through to EU48, and while the top-end BOA models only come in a Black/Gold finish, the cheaper Speed Lace and Lace shoes will be available in some nice understated colour options.

Read on for a closer look at the specs and pricing for the nine different options in the Crank Brothers mountain bike shoe range.

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Mallet shoe is designed for clip-in pedals, and comes in three options: BOA, Speed Lace and Lace.

Crank Brothers Mallet Shoes

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Mallet E is pitched towards trail and enduro riding, and also comes in BOA, Speed Lace and Lace options.

Crank Brothers Mallet E Shoes

crank brothers mallet shoes
The Stamp is the flat pedal shoe, which Crank Brothers offers in BOA, Speed Lace and Lace versions.

Crank Brothers Stamp Shoes

crank brothers mallet stamp shoes
There’ll be a limited edition Fabio Wibmer model in a White/Gum finish too. Fresh indeed!

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