These past two weeks have seen us out on the trails testing the all-new Crankbrothers Stamp flat pedal MTB shoes (there are new Mallet clipless shoes, too.) To our delight, we got the top-of-the-range model with fancy BOA fit system in the post. Conditions in the Tweed Valley have been wetter than an otter’s pocket, so please don’t ask me how they perform in the dry; I haven’t the foggiest.
Review: Crankbrothers Stamp Shoe
The new range of MTB shoes from Crankbrothers is largely based around their Match System concept, whereby each shoe is optimized to marry perfectly with its respective pedal partner. It’s simple; the Crankbrothers Stamp Shoe is designed for optimal surface area contact at the shoe-pedal interface with the Stamp pedal.
Thus, in a perfect World we would have spent the majority of our time testing the shoe with Stamp pedals. However, those guys were posted out later than the shoes, so we spent most of our time on Look’s new Trail Roc flat pedals.
First impressions of the shoe were good. In particular, the fit was very good; the tongue is well-padded providing comfort to the top of the foot, the heel cup is deep enough for the heel to feel secure in the shoe, aided by little rubber dots on the inside for added friction. The BOA dial and velcro strap is a winning combination; biblical amounts have mud have tried and failed to trouble the fit system.
Stamp Shoe x Look Trail Roc
Out on the trails, things were a little less straight forward. The first thing I noticed was the stiffness of the shank. These are much stiffer than the Specialized 2FOs I’m familiar with, but slightly less stiff than Ride Concept’s Hellion flats. The extra stiffness alerted me to the fact that I was running my shock a little too hard; my feet were frequently bouncing off the pedals.
This setup error was previously masked by the very flexible shank of the 2FOs. It is also possible that the 2FO rubber has lower rebound properties than Crankbrothers’ proprietary MC2 compound. Resetting the shock SAG, I continued testing the shoe. The situation was markedly improved and my feet remained planted on the pedals, bouncing off only a few times per ride on the rougher trails of the valley.
The grip offered by the MC2 compound was acceptable. It wasn’t so sticky that I felt “locked-in” and couldn’t shuffle my foot placement.
Crankbrothers Match: Stamp Shoe x Stamp Pedal
Latterly, I have tested the Crankbrothers Stamp shoe with their intended pedal pairing; the Stamp 3 Flats (the smaller platform, to match a UK 5). Pleasingly, this is a combination that just… works. Grip on the Stamp 3 pedals is significantly better than the grip offered with the Look Trail Roc pedals.
It’s an interesting observation because the Trail Roc pedal has 12 pins, whereas the Stamp pedals have just ten. That said, the Stamp 3 platform is significantly smaller, undeniably facilitating better contact with each pin. It could of course also be down to the fresh pins on the new Stamp 3 pedal, and/or the fact that the pins are consistently taller.
Either way, the grip is very good. We shan’t over analyse it. We’ll simply continue to enjoy the bike-handling benefits from the secure “locked-in” ride feel.
The Bottom Line
We’re very happy to recommend the Crankbrothers Stamp shoe as a comfortable and grippy flat pedal mountain bike shoe. The intended Stamp Shoe-Stamp Pedal pairing is a winning combination. We’d advise taking full advantage of the fact that Crankbrothers offer the Stamp in two platform sizes, as we noticed enhanced grip with a smaller platform. Crankbrothers recommend the smaller platform for sizes <10 (US), and the larger platform for sizes >10 (US).
The shoe is not waterproof (nor does it profess to be) but it is very quick-drying. The BOA fit system is robust enough to withstand copious amounts of mud. Personally, we prefer a slightly more flexible shank, as it provides more feedback from the trail. However, this is a quality, well thought-through MTB shoe that will perform all day long in some pretty tough trail conditions.
Pricing & Availability
The Crankbrothers Stamp shoe is available at three price points. We tested the top-end model with the BOA fit system, priced at $179.99. For info and pricing on the eight other Crankbrothers Shoes released today (including clipless options), see our tech post here.