Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Crankbrothers Mallet Clip-In Shoes And Pedals
Clip-In Shoes & Pedals
Crankbrothers has spent decades researching how to create a pedal that harmonizes well with shoes. Now, the well-known pedal brand has stepped up to the plate to take control over development and deliver its very own shoes. To test designs, Crankbrothers used its star athletes, ran lab tests and even took feedback from weekend warriors.
The goal was to produce shoes that have an optimized interface with the company’s pedals and to solve the issue of inconsistent cleat boxes. While the shoes are intended for Crankbrothers pedals, they could work with any other mountain bike pedal system. We will discuss the new product lineup, as well as our thoughts on the Mallet shoes used with the Mallet DH clipless pedals.
Shoe tech features:
Each model of shoe is identified after the pedal it is intended to be used with: Mallet, Mallet E and Stamp. The range is intended for downhill, enduro, all-mountain and trail mountain biking. Each model comes in three closure options: BOA and strap, speed lace and strap, and just straight laces.
All three models have a familiar skate shoe feel. Noteworthy is that both the speed lace and lace options come with a lace pocket to safely prevent entanglement. Each model employs large mesh panels accompanied by a perforated tongue for ventilation. For protection, there are TPU panels at the toe and heel. The heel cup is well-padded, and the gripper dots keep the rider’s heel from lifting out.
The Stamp flat shoe MC2 outsole is a high-friction rubber to help the shoe stick to the pedal and has low rebound traits that help damp trail feedback. The Mallet and Mallet E use MC1 outsoles that are a mid-friction rubber compound to help provide a more solid platform for power transfer.
Shoe test results:
Out of the box, our Mallet Speed Lace model came with preinstalled cleats in the neutral position. While we are typically fans of Shimano and HT pedals, we, of course, had to put the Match System to the test. The Mallet’s outsole was comfortable when absorbing trail features in comparison to the similar style seen on the latest Specialized 2FO Roost. On top of that, the Mallet Speed Lace shoes are well-supported for pedal performance; however, they are a very flat skate shoe. Some riders may want to replace the stock insert with something with more arch support. Once clipped in, the Mallet shoes proved to have a durable sole that gripped the pins on our Mallet pedals confidently.
There is no doubt that the coordination and contact on the Match System works, but riders should keep in mind that it is not a proprietary thing. Swapping over to the SPD cleats required no shim at all, as Crankbrothers intended. Using Shimano pedals, our test rider still enjoyed every trail session. While there might be some space between the shoe and pedal base when using other brands or models of pedals, the shoes still function as intended; however, the idea of the Match System is to avoid any modification whatsoever so riders can go out and ride more. Overall, Crankbrothers has launched some top-of-the-line shoes that should be on your list if you are in the market for some fresh kicks.