Crankbrothers Stamp Lace NSMB AndrewM.JPG
FIRST IMPRESSIONS | PRODUCT LAUNCH

Crankbrothers Stamp Flat Pedal Shoes

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Dec 14, 2020
Reading time

Stamp & Mallet

Today the mountain-bike-internet will be well saturated with information about Crankbrothers' new footwear program. It's a tidy release consisting of three flat-pedal shoes in the 'Stamp' line and three clip-in pedal shoes in the 'Mallet' line. Within the two categories, the shoes are differentiated only by their lacing systems. A single BOA adjuster and velcro strap for the premium, a speed-lace setup with a velcro strap for the mid-level, and a lace-system for the least expensive.

I prefer laces over any other retention system, so the fact that I can get the same premium rubber compound - the high-friction, low rebound MC2 Match rubber in the case of all the flat pedal shoes - rather than a cheaper overall package is a big win for me. I'm currently testing the basic Stamp Lace and it's excellent.

Crankbrothers Match Shoes NSMB AndrewM.jpg

Will AJ ever find a frame that is too big? Will I ever find shoes with the cleat pocket back too far? Maybe. I haven't been riding clip-in pedals lately, so for the time being I'm just testing flats.

Crankbrothers Match Shoes NSMB AndrewM (2).jpg

The stickiest rubber I've tried - wet or dry - other than Five Ten Stealth. More than tacky enough for me with more grip than my beloved Shimano GR7 and Leatt DBX 2.0 shoes.

I've been predominantly riding flat pedals on all my bikes for many months now, but when I go back to spending some time clipping-in the Mallet or Mallet E - same shoes, different styles - strike me as clip-in shoes I'd get along with. I always slam my cleats to the very back of the pocket and with Crankbrothers' very-rearward cleat track I may actually have a usable range of adjustment to work with. Likewise, I've had to modify many a shoe to work with my preferred Mallet DH pedals, so it would be interesting to experience a design optimized around their product.

I was surprised, and then not surprised, that Crankbrothers requires a shim under the cleat to use their own pedals with their own shoes. The shoes even come with Crankbrothers cleats pre-installed. But at the end of the day, Crankbrothers recognizes that most riders run Shimano pedals and they have ensured that the SPD compatible crowd can take solid advantage of their footwear.

I'm also curious to check out the rubber compound used with the clip-in shoes - which Crankbrothers calls MATCH MC1. It's a 'mid-friction' compound so that it won't interfere too much with pedal release. The MC2 compound being used with the Stamp flat pedal shoe is the stickiest option I've tried besides Five Ten's Stealth - wet or dry.

Working On Their Fizik

Developing a shoe line is a no-brainer for Crankbrothers. First-off, some SPD-compatible shoes don't work very well with Crankbrothers pedals without some modifications, and I find their pedals work best with a more rearward cleat position compared to where I run Shimano cleats. I also find that their caged pedals, especially my preferred Mallet DH, work best with a shoe that's a bit less stiff. To date, the best clip-in shoe I've found to run with the Mallet is Bontrager's Rally. I've come across plenty of clip-in shoes where I felt extensive modifications were necessary. Hopefully, that isn't the case with Mallet shoes, having been designed and thoroughly tested to provide the ultimate Crankbrothers' pedal interface.

Crankbrothers Match Shoes NSMB AndrewM (7).jpg

The clip-in shoes have a decidedly Fizik look to them. Not surprisingly given they're sister companies.

Crankbrothers Match Shoes NSMB AndrewM (6).jpg

The Mallet and Mallet E are differentiated by appearance. The E could be for Enduro, E~Bike, or Extra-stylish. In any event, it's less casual looking.

Additionally, there's the 'because they can' factor. Crankbrothers' sister brand Fizik makes fantastic footwear with renowned quality. I know plenty of folks who only ride their road shoes. I haven't used them personally, but I've handled enough pairs to remark that the quality of construction and materials is tops. Taking that design and materials expertise as well as the factory connections and applying it to a mountain bike-specific product makes perfect sense.

Crankbrothers Stamp Lace NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Crankbrothers is based in California so it's no surprise that breathability is a key feature. They're happily roomy enough to fit my Showers Pass weatherproof socks.

Stamp v. DBX 2.0

I'm currently finishing up my review of Leatt's DBX 2.0 shoe. Interestingly, like the Stamp Lace, it's the lowest end option in its respective lineup. The DBX 2.0 gives up the waterproof breathable membrane, sole stiffness, and ankle protection of the more expensive DBX 3.0 and in my experience delivers the new perfect flat pedal shoe at the same time.

I quite enjoy the visual juxtaposition of the Stamp Lace, with the smoothest, narrowest laces I've ever had in a pair of shoes, compared to the DBX 2.0 shoes with the biggest and most tactile. What they share is a simple, casual, style, that doesn't look at all out of place off the bike and sticky rubber soles that deliver tonnes of grip pedaling. The DBX 2.0 has surmounted the Shimano GR7 as the flat pedal shoe I'll be using as my baseline for comparisons and Stamp Lace is up against some less-than-stiff competition.

Leatt DBX 2.0 Shoes NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The Leatt DBX 2.0, with an SQLab insole added, is my current baseline for comparing other flat pedal shoes. Review pending.

Stamp Lace

The Crankbrothers Match soles deliver plenty of grip in wet conditions. The materials and construction look and feel excellent. I've already soaked them through and stood in mud up to my ankles, and I've only had them a couple of days, so I'm satisfied that I'll be able to give a full accounting of their durability when it comes time to write the proper review.

For now, I'll be riding a combination of Kona Wah Wah 2 pedals, OneUp composite pedals, and RaceFace Chester composite pedals to give a decent accounting of different sizes and shapes. Those mean OneUp pins are a really good test of sole durability while the less grippy Chester is a great platform to compare different rubber compounds.

Crankbrothers Stamp Lace NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Typical Crankbrothers presentation and attention to visual details. They look great and the little lace pocket in the tongue is effective and looks clean.

Crankbrothers Stamp Lace NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

A proper review will demonstrate how they hold up. I have a high degree of confidence and expectations thanks to products like the Highline Dropper Posts.

The Stamp Lace shoes are 130 USD and come in half sizes from 5-14. Add $20 for the speed-lace version (150 USD) and then another $30 on top of that for the BOA model (180 USD). The clip-in Mallet models add $20 per price point but include a Crankbrothers cleat with the package.

The shoes fit ever-so-slightly big so if you're truly hovering between two options it's probably safest to drop that 1/2 size. They also come in four colours. Well, that is if you count the white-on-white (with a gum sole) Fabio Wibmer model as a mountain bike shoe.

I know a few folks who've been hoping for more technical tightening systems for flat pedal shoes but personally - given that the soles are all the same - the Stamp Lace is the only option on my list. I'll be back with a full review once the shoes are thrashed. In the meantime, there's an abundance of information at Crankbrothers.com and I'd suggest anyone hoping to try a pair on at their local shop plant those seeds now.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - Dec. 14, 2020, 11:06 a.m.

Looks good.  How wide/flexible are they in the toebox?  That's an issue I tend to have with most footwear, as I have duck feet...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 khai
Andrew Major  - Dec. 14, 2020, 12:06 p.m.

I always test a size 43 - though in some shoes with half sizes I’m comfortable in a 42.5. These are roomy - the test for me is always if I can squeeze my Showers Pass socks in, and they fit fine - but the right size.

I wish I had something more helpful to say (I only have semi-duck feet) but I find shoes are super personal in every way.

The rubber is excellent though. Closest thing to Stealth I’ve used, but still no problem repositioning my feet with the Wah Wah 2 or One Up Composite.

Reply

khai
0
khai  - Dec. 14, 2020, 12:58 p.m.

Sweet - I'll be keeping an eye out for these in store.  My current 5.10s are holding "fine" but it's always good to have an idea as to what might replace them...

Thanks!

Reply

velocipedestrian
+2 Andrew Major MuscogeeMasher
Velocipedestrian  - Dec. 14, 2020, 2:23 p.m.

Does 'closest thing' still mean 'less grippy'? As a long time clipper, I want all of the grip when on flats, but would like a stiffer sole than the freerider.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Dec. 14, 2020, 2:45 p.m.

They’re really grippy - zero complaints on Pipeline in the rain today despite standing in the snow awhile grippy.

But, I can still adjust my feet on the bike so my anecdotal assessment is Match is not as sticky as Stealth.

I have a strong gut feeling that if a lot of life-time FiveTeners tried these Stamps or maybe the DBX 2.0 or maybe even the GR7 they would appreciate the combination of tonnes of grip and being able to move around a bit more. But I don’t have anything but my experience to back that up.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Dec. 16, 2020, 9:33 p.m.

Thanks for the details.

Reply

stinhambo
0
Steven Hambleton  - Dec. 14, 2020, 10:17 p.m.

I just bought a pair of Specialized 2FO Roost flats in size 48. They seem to be a quarter size bigger than Shimano and as such feel really nice and roomy up top.

I haven't ridden them yet but they can't be any worse than Shimano's Vibram rubber compound.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Steven Hambleton
Andrew Major  - Dec. 14, 2020, 10:22 p.m.

I haven't ridden the 2FO but I do hear good things. 

Just as point to information, the Shimano shoes I reference are the GR7 which use a Michelin rubber sole. They're excellent. Vibram is weird to me as they make very impressive climbing shoe rubber but the mountain bike options are always of the less-grippy variety - even when the shoes are excellent. 

Reply

stinhambo
+2 Pete Roggeman Dan
Steven Hambleton  - Dec. 14, 2020, 10:32 p.m.

I heard they'd changed material but no one seems to have my size in stock and being in regional Australia (Cairns), there are very few opportunities to try on something at a local bike shop. Props to my local Specialized dealer for carrying a size 48!

PS. As an aside, it's really refreshing to see the author of an article being active in the comments section. It frustrates me when you have some feedback or want more info only for your comment to sit there in solitude for all eternity.. Bravo!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Dan
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

Cheers! The comments are my favourite part. I enjoy the level on interaction on NSMB and the way comments will often flush out details overlooked in the main piece & I think the interactions help improve my approach to reviews/editorial & I tend to score a few good article/test ideas a year.

Reply

Dano
+1 Andrew Major
Dano  - Dec. 16, 2020, 5:53 a.m.

Oh wow, you and I have had very different experiences with those gr7’s. I love mine and they fit great, but my soles got absolutely torn up after a few months on Wah Wah 2’s. Those long, spaced out pins gave my foot just enough play to tear long grooves into the soles. Great shoes otherwise, but that combo really sucked for me.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

I’ve found the Michelin sole has held up well v. Wah Wah II and the OneUp Composite. And the OneUp pedal is mean!

Reply

woodyak
+1 Andrew Major
woodyak  - Dec. 16, 2020, 8:56 a.m.

I had high hopes for the GR7 but it lasted about 10 rides on my feet before being sent to the back of the closet. I'm a long time FiveTen rider, but am annoyed by how short they last and how little they do to shed the elements. So, I picked up the GR7 and on my first ride the uppers got a couple holes in them from the pedal spikes when I slipped a pedal. Over the next week or so I slipped many pedals. The compound feel sticky enough, but the soles were so stiff that I kept slipping pedals. They definitely don't have that same wrap around the pedal feeling that the FiveTens have. Would you say the CB's are more similar to the GR7's? I have a hard time buying CB products from back in the days of my constantly exploding EggBeaters.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

Crankbrothers products have l, in general, been awesome for years now.

The shoes are more like FiveTen rather than GR7 - it’s rubber compound providing grip as opposed to the GR7’s combo of rubber + pattern.

Reply

mrbrett
+1 Andrew Major
mrbrett  - Dec. 14, 2020, 2:34 p.m.

Andrew - if in the review you could comment on how many pebbles and pine needles end up in the shoe, that would be great. Some shoes I have owned are like magnets for collecting trail debris. The neoprene ankle sleeve on the GR-7 is one of the things that draws me to it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 14, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

Hahahaha, I’ll keep a pebble logbook!

I find I get more stuff in my shoes when it’s dry and dusty; certainly agree the neoprene cuff on the GR7 helps keep stuff out.

Reply

DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - Dec. 15, 2020, 8:09 a.m.

Only Wah-Wahs, Chesters and OneUps ? So you didn't get the chance to stamp your Stamps on a set of Stamps ?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2020, 9:19 a.m.

Hahaha. I don’t currently have a pair of Stamp pedals. I do quite like the large body version.

Reply

DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - Dec. 15, 2020, 10:56 a.m.

In the absence of WahWahs the composite stamps in large have been doing great service for me, especially now my BB height is a little bit lower...multiple rock strikes on pins each ride some days and they're solid
I was worried about the pronounced feel of the spindle after using straightlines but I now use that to place my foot and I've had no issues with slippage. My daughter's bike has the WahWahs and I'm thinking about a bit of swappage to compare

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Dec. 15, 2020, 10:24 a.m.

Any word from Crank Brothers on more specific differences between the Mallet clip in and Mallet-e clip in?  There are some obvious differences in terms of looks and sole, but I'm more wondering about stiffness/flexibility, protection and weather resistance differences.  The Mallets look to be approx 100 grams heavier than the E's (based on the specs on the website)... what is that attributed to?

And the clip position does look like it can will go further back on the Mallets (vs the E's)... why didn't they include that on the E's??  What's the downside of a longer cleat channel??!

And why no strap on the "lace" versions??!!

My Giro Chamber II's are my favorite shoes so far, but are getting a little worn/old after two hard and wonderful years of service.  I might just get another pair... but these have me interested.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2020, 8:41 p.m.

I apologize for the lack of details on the clip-in shoes, I should have dug deeper into it but honestly have only been riding flats myself and those are the shoes I'm testing so that was my focus. 

The Mallet E gives you a much stiffer sole considered more suitable for longer trail rides (and I'd suggest also more suitable for less supportive XC pedals) where the Mallet pedals have the reward cleat position that their gravity riders wanted along with a less-stiff sole (that I'd suggest would be best paired with Trail/DH pedals). 

Global company and a lot of riders, for whatever reason, still prefer the very forward cleat position, particularly for more XC trail riding for which the E is more suited. It's probably cheeky to suggest that the E stands for European-market so I won't. 

The speed lace options have the velcro strap, and - in my shop experience - many riders prefer the more casual appearance of a flat pedal shoe sans strap so I'm certain it's a combination of differentiation and price point. 

I prefer the basic lace-up setup for the flat pedal shoe but agree it's surprising not to see the velcro strap on all the clip-in versions.

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Dec. 16, 2020, 8:59 a.m.

Thanks Andrew... I'm a fan of a flat-pedal-feeling-shoe-that-clips-in... so sounds like the Mallet would be for me.  Then, I also get that further back cleat position.  

Couple other wishlist-y thoughts if you're ever chatting with the product managers - let us customize which cleats come with the shoe because I'm also a fan of the easy release cleats, so the "normals" are useless to me.  And/or let us delete the cleats if we don't need them for maybe a $10 discount?  Lastly, more colour choices would be nice in the Mallet clip in... but I get they just launched 9 (wow?!) different shoe options so that might be wishful thinking!!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

The Mallet would be my shoe for sure for clipping in.

I don’t know if the cleat thing is just an early promotion but either way you can probably sell them for $10!

Reply

slyfink
+1 Andrew Major
slyfink  - Dec. 16, 2020, 8:18 a.m.

I really like the look of these shoes, and they are at the top of the list to replace my Shimano AM7s when they eventually die. They tick what I'm after: not disco slippers, a cleat that goes far back, available without BOA, and (apparently) stiff enough to be good to pedal in. 

But good God, does it ever bother me to read "optimized for all [pedals, cleats, engagement]"... Like, it really irritates me. By definition, optimized is not universal. Try harder, words matter.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

To be fair, they’re trying to say that the shoes have been optimized to work with Crankbrothers pedals (which most aren’t) but also work great with SPD since that’s most the market.

Reply

slyfink
0
slyfink  - Dec. 16, 2020, 10:48 a.m.

I agree. I know what they're trying to say. But the way they are actually saying it is like nails across a blackboard for me! (first world problems, I know...)

Reply

kmag76
0
kmag76  - Jan. 20, 2021, 7:31 a.m.

These shoes will be available in a couple of days, and im convinced I need a pair of Mallets and Stamps!

Buying sight unseen sizing has been on my mind. I normally always wear a 44, but using the crank brothers sizing guide and measuring my feet, it says im 270mm which is a 42. Im kinda convinced from one of your comments above to just size down 1/2 size from my regular 44 and call it a day.

I bought some Fizik Climba X2 all weather shoes a few months ago sight unseen in 44 and when they arrived I found they fit very big, which was ok in this situation because I was able to run a thick wool sock for cold weather. 

I guess my brain is turning with Fizik and CB being sister companies, and im not wanting to have 2 pairs of shoes show up that don't fit. 

Any fit recommendations would be a help.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.