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Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace shoe review

Pedal specialist Crankbrothers recently made the move into the MTB shoe market. We have been putting its mid-range Stamp Speedlace flat pedal shoe to the test

Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace
(Image: © Aoife Glass)

Our Verdict

Considered design and an eye for detail makes these some of the most comfortable bike shoes we’ve tested, although the grip isn’t quite up there with the category leader Five Ten

For

  • Quick, secure lacing system
  • Very comfortable fit
  • Quick-drying

Against

  • Not quite as tacky as FiveTens

The Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace shoes are part of the recently-released range from the brand that’s known for its pedals and components, as used by some of the best-known downhill and enduro racers in the world. 

The extensive range is designed to work with Crankbrothers pedals, comes in a clipless version (Mallet) as well as flat (Stamp), with a uniform upper across all models. 

Each version comes at three price points; the entry-level Lace version, the mid-level Speedlace version tested here, and the range-topper with a Boa-dial closure system. 

Construction and fit

The Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace shoes feature pull-tab system which allows you to quickly tighten the lacing and a sliding clasp that locks the laces into place. There’s a handy mesh pouch on the tongue you can then tuck the tabs into so they’re neatly out of the way, and a velcro strap that adds another layer of security to the fit. 

While the sizing on the Crankbrothers website is listed in US Men’s shoe sizes, the shoes themselves are not gendered and size up true. UK shoe sizes are one number lower than US sizes, so we take a UK7, tested the US8/EU41/UK7 size and found it sized up well. That said, they did feel a little bit too snug when we first put them on, but then stretched out over a couple of rides and now have a close, supportive but supremely comfortable fit. That said, for winter riding we’d consider going up a half size to fit in thicker socks.  

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Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace

Quick lace system lives up to its name using pull-tabs to tension the shoes (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace

Silicon grippers in the heel help hold the foot securely (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace

Crankbrothers has designed the sole to pair best with its own range of flat pedals (Image credit: Aoife Glass)

The synthetic upper packs in a good list of features; a reinforced toe box offers protection from hits and rock strikes, and venting on the sides and toes helps the shoes feel airy and breathable despite a well-padded tongue. The tongue is also attached to the insole with elastic on either side which prevents it slipping off to one side during wear while also helping to keep the foot feeling secure in the shoe around the midfoot area.

Extra fit security is provided in the form of silicone gripper dots on the padded inner heel area which help prevent heel lift.

Performance

When it comes to bike shoes, there are two parts to the perfection equation; a good, well-fitting upper that stays in place, feels comfortable and doesn’t take two weeks to dry out if they get wet, plus excellent flat-pedal grip. 

The Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlance shoes excel at the first part. These are far and away the most comfortable, well-fitting pair of mountain bike shoes I’ve tried, combining breathability in hot conditions with enough weather protection to keep your feet at operating temperature in bad weather. While they aren’t waterproof, they don’t let in floods of water and crucially they dry quickly. 

The fit around the foot is supportive and secure, with no pressure points on top and enough wiggle room at the toes to be comfortable. The lacing system is quick and allows you to get a nice equal distribution of pressure without messing about with laces, while the clasp keeps the lacing secure. 

When it comes to the grip side of the equation, the Stamps are very good, but still not quite up to the levels of sticky, tackiness that Five Ten offer - but this may not be an issue for most riders. 

Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace

The sole isn't as grippy as the stickiest shoes, but this helps with trail foot adjustments  (Image credit: Aoife Glass)

For the vast majority of trail riding, they’re great, with no unexpected loss of contact. The sole does its job of locking into place on the pedal pins, and it was only on a few minor occasions where the lack of inherent tackiness in the rubber became apparent. For anyone who finds the sticky nature of FiveTens a bit too much, particularly when it comes to repositioning the foot, then the Crankbrothers Stamps hit the grip sweet spot; if you like to feel glued to the pedals, they may not be quite enough for rougher terrain.

It may be that pairing them with the corresponding Crankbrothers Stamp pedals solves this issue, as the sole tread has been designed to work with them: we tested them with Hope F20 pedals and Burgtec Penthouse Flat Mk5 pedals.

The sole blends a stiff-enough platform to keep feet feeling fresh and allow a good power transfer while pedaling but flexible enough to dig into pedals and provide good feedback.

Verdict

These are a supremely comfortable, well-thought-out set of shoes that provide a range of useful features as well as a supportive fit. The slight grip deficit is a small price to pay for an otherwise excellent fit and performance, particularly if you need a pair of flat pedal shoes that have a performance upper. 

While Five Ten still holds the category leader crown for sole grip, they are falling by the wayside when it comes to overall shoe performance. For comfort, support, secure lacing, breathability and quickness of drying, the Crankbrothers Stamp pedals win hands down. 

Tech Specs: Crankbrothers Speed Lace shoe

  • Colors: Green/orange or grey/red
  • Sizing: US Men’s 5 - 14 (Equates to UK 4 - 13, and EUR 37 - 48)
  • Price:  $149.99 / £114.99 / €149.99