crankbrothers trail boa shoes
First Impressions | Product Launch

New Crankbrothers Clip and Flat Trail Shoes

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Crankbrothers Stamp/Mallet Trail BOA

It isn't made clear in the press release we received from Crankbrothers, but these are very different than any other Stamps I have worn. Whether those differences are positive or negative will depend a little upon your perspective and on how they last over time. To the naked eye they don't look dramatically different from the Stamp Boas (as opposed to Stamp TRAIL BOAs) I've been wearing for a year or so but they fit a little larger and the uppers consist of a material that is new to the Stamp and Mallet lines.

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They even look good muddy.

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That is a brand new tread pattern.

Instead of a conventional upper, these are made from a ripstop material that has less volume than conventional shoe uppers, and it feels more like what you might find on a shoe designed for clipping in. In my experience this has also changed the fit a little. Because the upper has less volume, while the shoes are the same length on the outside, there is a little more room inside. In the non-trail Stamp BOAs, and other Stamp shoes, 44.5s fit me like they were custom made. They are a little snug with a heavier sock and incredible with a slightly thinner sock, but both work great. Wearing the new shoes, the 44.5s feel a little loose, even with heavy socks, but the 44s are a little snug with thin socks. Both of these options work, and I expect the 44s will fit perfectly after some time, but neither is as comfortable as the 44.5 regular Stamp BOAs are for me. I have spoken to other riders who notice the size difference as well as those who don't, so your results may vary.

The goals for the new material were greater durability and lighter weight, which was achieved with the new shoes weighing 342g vs the Stamp BOAs coming in at 424g.

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Tread depth at the toe is twice as deep as elsewhere on the shoe, and compared to the same area on previous Stamp shoes.

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The heel as well. These are an improvement for hiking.

There are other differences as well, and these are more positive for me. From the beginning I've noticed the grip on the pedals has been significantly greater than previous Stamps. I wondered if the chemical makeup of the rubber in the sole had been altered or if the difference was related to these having gum rubber soles rather than dyed black or some other colour.

I turns out my deductions were off base and the increased grip is related to three factors, according to Brandon Turman (formerly of Vital MTB and now working in the product department at Crankbrothers). Brandon told me the new shoes have more flex in the midsole, making them curl over the pedals more effectively. I haven't ridden in the previous Stamps for some time so I failed to notice this but when I bend them in my hands, the difference in forefoot flex is noticeable but not massive.

crankbrothers stamp trail boa shoes 1

The new lug pattern on the left is designed to be compatible with more pedals. Another difference that should improve those moments when you need to hike up some sloppy slope in the rain, is increased lug depth in the toe and heel sections.

The other differences contributing to the increased grip were probably a little more subtle. The first was the lug pattern on the bottom of the sole. If you look closely at the pattern on the previous shoe, you can see that the pattern matches the outline of a Crankbrothers Stamp pedal. The new pattern is designed to provide good grip with more pedals.

The last factor is the most subtle of all and it has to do with the mould the soles come out of. Crankbrothers discovered that the slight texture the inside of the previous mould left on the soles impeded grip slightly. These three efforts bore fruit and I find the grip much more to my liking.

The jury is out for me on the upper, mostly because I find it less comfortable. The previous design felt like it hugged my foot with no hotspots while the ripstop material feels a little stiffer. This should improve over time and, considering durability was one of the justifications for the new upper, I'm cautiously optimistic.

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I try many flat pedal shoes and some of them don't see the hardest trails I regularly ride. I wasn't afraid to get dark wearing the Stamp Trail BOAs.

BOA and Velcro Closures

I admit, a little sheepishly, that I appreciate the speed and convenience of this closure combo. I'm often in a hurry on the way to a ride and at the end of a ride, particularly if I'm changing in a parking lot, it's nice to get out quickly as well. Beyond that, these do a nice job of providing the right amount of pressure, evenly spread, on my feet.

The neoprene cuff fits quite snugly at the ankle and does a good job of keeping detritus out of your shoes.

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They even look good clean. Image - Crankbrothers


Overall the grip is still a touch lower than Specialized's 2FOs but it's still well within the rideable range for me and I'm quite happy in these shoes, even riding pedals with 4mm pins. Previous Stamps weren't grippy enough for me unless I was one 3mm pins, which tend to destroy shoes and shins.

I've noticed a shoe rubber quirk comparing the 2FOs and these Stamp Trails regarding repositioning. While the weighted grip of the Stamps feels just slightly lower than the 2FOs to me, the Stamps paradoxically feel a little more difficult to reposition while riding. Thus far the pin marks in the Stamp soles are too subtle for me to determine where they pins are interfacing but it could be that the pins find more spaces between the lugs on Stamps, while the 2FOs are worn enough that the lugs have very little remaining depth. After the first few rides I got better at repositioning these shoes and it's now become a non-issue.

I rode these shoes on three different pedals: Crankbrothers Stamp 7 (small), Canfield Crampon Mountains, and Yoshimura Chilaos (small) which I have just started testing. The Crampons are convex which poses a problem for some pedals but theses shoes were right at home. There are some similarities in both shape and size between the Chilaos and the Stamps but they both felt great underfoot.

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The Stamp pedals shown above is a size large. Image - Crankbrothers


These are the first shoes I've tested in a long time that I'm going to put into my regular rotation and I've ridden with them almost every ride since they arrived. Thanks to a new tread pattern, more flex and a new mould texture, the grip is great (and I am one fussy mojo in this regard). I appreciate the BOA/velcro combo, there is decent protection front and rear and the gusseted tongue is a nice touch. They are getting more comfortable, which I hope will continue. Unsurprisingly the comfort factor is personal because my son wore them for a ride and loved how they felt. This also explains why they have gone missing.

Stamp Trail BOA - 200 USD

Cam McRae

Crankbrothers Mallet Trail BOA

These are new shoes from Crankbrothers and the changes are noticeable. I have been quite fond of the Mallet DH and Mallet E shoes from Crankbrothers. The Mallet DH is the softer of the two, with the pedalling performance taking a back seat to impact management. It's an excellent all-day shoe you can ride hard and hike a bike in. The Mallet E is stiffer and stouter with more aggressive lugs at the toe and heel. Pedalling performance is quite important on the Enduro-focused shoe.

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Crankbrother Mallet Trail BOA under the spotlight.

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The Mallet TRAIL BOA is similar looking but it diverges from the heavily-padded construction of the existing shoes. A thinner, rip-stop material clads the outer shell and makes for a more technical appearance.

At 457g in size 42, these weigh more than the 445g Mallet DH. The sleek look of the new shoes paints an opposing picture. The fit is similar in volume with a slight reduction over the top of the foot. The BOA Li2 and the newer and improved Velcro strap make quick work of the adjustments.

It has been soggy for the last couple of rides I wore the new Mallet Trails on. With the Time cleats and Speciale 12 pedals, there have been no issues getting in and out. I employed a thin plastic spacer under the cleat to raise it a millimetre and I had to remove the traction pins from the pedals because the sticky soles caused exit problems. Water got in and got back out just as easily and these shoes took no time to dry on the boot dryer compared to the other Mallets with more padding. If the shoes are not going to be waterproof, you might as well make them quick drying. I approve of this design.

I think the new Mallet Trails are an excellent option for long rides and occasional hikes or walk alongs. According to Jesse Melamed, they race well too as he podiumed twice wearing these last year.

Crankbrothers Mallet Trail BOA - 220 USD

Deniz Merdano

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My main complaint about my stamps is that there is (was) SO. MUCH  FOAM. Inside them. It gave me a hot spot around my Achilles area and absorbed and held onto enough water you could refill a water bottle with it. 

I actually cut around the bottom of the inside of the heels, flipped up the lining, ripped out the foam,  and glued the lining back down. Much better. Sounds like these solve that issue.

I feel like moisture management and materials that don't hold onto tons of water often take a back seat on mtb flat shoes especially,  everyone emulating the big puffy old school 510 vibe. It's nice to see brand diverge from that. 

I am currently on leatt pro 3.0 and they are awesome. Hopefully they last a while but come replacement time these will be on the radar. I think their shoes are made by fizik who seem to have great construction techniques.


These meet your needs then - as you noted. There is very little foam and nothing else to absorb water. And Fizik was indeed involved here - spot on.



@Kenny you might like the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch. Good sole and hardly any padding at all. I use them as my summer kicks and they work well with my Chromag Contact on my DJ/ pump track bike. Also very comfortable for walking around.



My one beef here is that I'm not sure I can bring myself to trust a flat shoe with BOA after the PI X-Alp Launch. Flipped a pedal on a tech climb and cut the cord at pretty much the worse time possible (maybe ride 5 on the shoes), and there was no way to get the tiny slippery cord tied back together in a way that made the closure still work.



I think if you're going to have boa shoes it's best to accept that you need to stash a repair kit somewhere in your gear or bike. Small price to pay for the convenience of the little guys, IMO.



I have the tools to be able to fix a BOA dial but they stay at home. Gear Strap and Zip ties are used if a BOA was to every break on the trail, especially since they are a solution to a plethora of issues that could arise. The line in the sand for me was that I didn't want to faff around with the BOA, T6 torx is tiny, and at least at the moment it takes me ~20 mins to replace a BOA but maybe if I was faster I wouldn't mind doing it on the trail.



That's fair, I was thinking more in the context of a multi day ride like a chilcotins trip where you needed the shoe to be totally functional again. For just getting through a single local ride, agreed, a trail repair wouldn't make sense in that case. Zip tie and fix at home. 

My original point still  stands though - with a little preparedness it's not really an issue.



I am pretty sure BOA have a great them and get a new one sent out.



Big Fan of the V1s. Even though they retained water I found the fit and channel for the cleat to be just about perfect.


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