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Mavic Crossmax Boa Speed shoe review – trail vibe with XC looks

It looks like an XC shoe and it’s described as an XC shoe, but is Mavic’s Crossmax Boa Speed really a Speedy XC shoe?

Bike Perfect Verdict

Good looking, grippy, lightweight Trail/Gravel shoe at a reasonable price but sole softness and single dial fit mean recreational than racer performance.

Pros

  • +

    Comfortable high volume fit

  • +

    Surefooted, easy walking

  • +

    Fast on and off

  • +

    Subtle reflectivity

Cons

  • -

    Single dial undermines foot hold

  • -

    Sole flex at peak power

  • -

    No micro loosening

Mavic's new CrossMax Boa Speed is styled like an XC shoe but definitely behaves more like a clipless trail shoe. That's because they've added a wider toe fit and stealth reflectivity to the proven high grip tread and pedal/walk balanced sole of its stylish CrossMax Boa shoe. The single dial design still compromises foot grip and fit fine-tuning however and it’s soft underfoot if you’re kicking hard. 

So how do these compare to the best mountain bike shoes? Keep reading to find out what we think.

Mavic CrossMax Boa Speed

Mavic's CrossMax Boa Speed sounds and looks racey but it's definitely more of a trail shoe in performance terms (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and specifications

The CrossMax Boa Speed uses the same perforated one-piece upper design as the Mavic CrossMax Boa but the toe box is now roomier to address squashed pinky complaints from me and others. The thick padded collar, reinforced T heel, Ortholite insole, and single BOA Fit System L6 ratcheting dial with six-point webbing loop are the same.

The carbon-reinforced nylon sole is the same too. This has an Energy Index (stiffness score) of 40 which actually makes it softer than the XA trail shoe (60). it's also much softer than the Mavic Cosmic Boa gravel shoe and the Ultimate XC shoe (both 80). Performance on foot is underlined with the super aggressive ‘Energy Grip Terra’ tread in soft compound ‘Contagrip’ rubber. This even features screw-in plastic toe studs that can be replaced for more ferocious fangs if you need ultimate mud slope grip. 

Mavic Crossmax Boa Speed

The grippy, mobile sole is great when you're off your bike but lacks stiffness when pedalling. (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

That sole unit lets you walk/scramble with comfort and confidence in all conditions. It’s stiff enough to put in long days without hot spots over the short cleat slots or any numbness from getting slapped by a fully rigid shoe shank. The single dial makes it easy to tighten casually and the pull-to-release design makes them easy to get off quickly as well. The wider forefoot is a really welcome change for those of us with wider feet too. Add the subtle black-on-black reflectivity for safety on the way back from Bingo and it ticks all the boxes normally used to sell shoes to pensioners. Most of those are applicable to a versatile, easy life trail shoe too so if you prefer XC race weapon rather than ‘hiking trainer/SK8R pump’ styling for your general riding footwear it’s potentially ideal. It’s also a lot lighter than most trainer/pump-style shoes too.

Trying to get proper race performance out of them will leave you deeply disappointed though. Not only is the sole noticeably soft when you try and pedal hard, but the single dial setup just can’t grip like a multi-tightening point system. That means I could pull my heel up and out of the shoe even with the Boa set tight enough to be an uncomfortable squeeze. There’s no way to fine-tune fit if you go too tight either, as the L6 ratchet is one-directional, so one click too aggressive means releasing and starting again.

Verdict

Mavic’s CrossMax Boa Speed shoe is a lightweight, comfortable, surefooted trail shoe for walking or more relaxed riding. Don’t be deceived by the XC looks or Mavic’s labeling though as it’s too soft and insecure for serious pedallers to be happy with it. 

Tech Specs: Mavic CrossMax Boa Speed shoe

  • Price: $129.99 / £120 / €130
  • Sizes: EU 36 - 48.5
  • Weight 710g (size 44 with SPD cleats)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg