Photos by Scott Windsor
For years there has been one brand to seemingly dominate the mountain bike shoe market. With a vice-like monopoly hold, it’s taken some time for new brands to emerge and break through the noise offering more variety and features. Along with new shoe-specific brands entering the market, we’ve also seen long-standing MTB brands diversify and dip their toe into the mud. One such brand to make the bold leap is components manufacturer, crankbrothers. While this may seem like a strange area to move into, it actually makes a great deal of sense given the brand’s extensive experience in producing both flat and clip pedals. Making their debut launch at the end of 2020, suffice to say crankbrothers don’t do things by halves as their new line of mountain bike shoes offers lace, BOA, flat, clips and in a heap of eye-catching colours. From the new range, I’ve been testing out the crankbrothers Stamp Lace MTB shoes, and with a little help from social media, here’s my tried and tested review.
So let’s start with the technical stuff first! So these are crankbrothers’ “does it all, whether on street or trail” shoes, which means they’re described as being suitable for downhill, enduro and everything in between. Arguably, one of the most important areas to consider is the sole of a mountain bike shoe, after all, it’s what helps grip your pedals to keep you feeling planted and in control. The Stamp Lace shoes use MC2 which is a flat rubber compound that has been optimised for grip and durability. With low rebound properties, this compound actually helps to dampen vibrations felt through the pedal, which can help reduce muscle fatigue. So, what does this mean for grip? With strategically angled and spaced toe and heel lugs, the compound and tread pattern offers traction for hiking up or down steep terrain. While on the bike, the tread is designed for maximum contact surface with the pedal platform with sufficient spacing to accommodate pedal pins.
The upper part of the shoe feature mesh panels and perforated areas to aid breathability, while the reinforced toe protects the front of your foot from strikes. What’s really great about these shoes are the more subtle features, like the hidden lace eyelets which are covered over for protection and a clean atheistic. In addition to this seamless touch, crankbrothers have incorporated a small mesh pocket on the front of the tongue which acts as a handy laces stash. So not only does your shoe look neat and tidy, but you don’t need to worry about laces coming undone or being uncomfortably stuffed inside your shoe.
I’ve been wearing these shoes for a couple of months now and after some bedding in, I’ve got to say, I really like them. Aside from the lush gum/black combo and the sleek lace system, the crankbrothers Stamp Lace shoes are stiff enough to provide support on the bike but flexible enough to be comfortable to walk in, or push your bike in! At first, I did think the ankle profile was too low for my liking, leaving my boney bits feeling a little vulnerable. However, that thought doesn’t enter my mind now, and my ankles remain unscathed. Because crankbrothers manufacture flat pedals, the Stamps, these shoes have been optimised for that shape. However, crankbrothers assure these shoes are ideal for all flat pedals which I’ve been testing with the DMR Vault Midis. For me, this shoe and pedal combo is working great, and other than times of human error, I’ve not experienced an issue with pedal-slips or flex.
Your questions: crankbrothers Stamp Lace
So that I can better review products and ensure I’m covering the key areas, I took to social media to see what questions you had about the crankbrothers Stamp Lace mountain bike shoes.
Are they as grippy as Five Ten?
This has been asked a lot, and it does depend on what rubber compound is used in the Five Ten shoe. I used to love Stealth rubber soles on some old Five Tens that I had, however, they were prone to cracking and the durability wasn’t top-quality. The Stamp Lace shoes don’t have a super soft or tacky feel to the touch, unlike some compounds, but when on the bike, I found the grip to be good and just from the quality and feel of the shoe, I expect the Stamp Laces’ will last me a good while.
What is the smallest size?
“The smallest UK size is a size 4. Our sizes run from UK 4 through to UK 13. There’s also ½ sizes available from 5.5 to 11.5” – Hannah Wilson, brand expert for crankbrothers
Are they waterproof?
No, and most mountain bike shoes today aren’t unless you get specific winter/water boots or shoes. If it’s raining, I wear waterproof socks which fit well with these shoes.
What’s the sizing like compared to Five Ten?
“I’d recommend going for your normal shoe size in regular footwear. Older FiveTen sizing (before they changed it) is comparable. If you have wider feet you can go up a ½ size but the fit is not overly narrow so your toes have plenty of room.” – Hannah Wilson.
How supportive are they?
As I mentioned above, these shoes are stiff but with enough flex to walk comfortably in them. When riding my bike, my foot feels comfortable, protective and supported.
Are they vegan?
“The shoes are made from man-made materials and although there are no obvious animal products used in their manufacture we cannot guarantee that the entire production process from all suppliers is vegan compliant, therefore, they’re not vegan certified.” – Hannah Wilson
Will they make me faster and jump higher?
Bearing in mind that I’ve been riding in these for a couple of months, I can confidently say that I’ll be riding in these here on. The crankbrothers Stamp Lace MTB shoes work for me both on and off the bike, they look great and once they’re on my feet, I don’t give them a second thought – the sign of something good.
For more information on the crankbrothers Stamp Lace mountain bike shoes, head over to their website where you can also purchase a pair for €130.
You may also enjoy: