Imagine this, you're having a wild run with your mates down Hot X Buns, berms are being railed, drops are being dropped. the stoke is high. But, coming hot into the step down at the bottom, your talent runs out and the impact blows your left foot off the pedal. Not ideal. Miraculously your ankle is sore but still fine, unfortunately, your shoes aren't. The whole sole of my faithful Giro Chamber shoes had come completely unbonded from the impact. This accompanied by the complaints from my partner about the odor every time she walked past the shoe rack, meant it was time to invest in a new pair of shoes.
I've been a big fan of the Crankbrothers pedals for a while now and have 3 sets on different bikes, so pairing the pedals with the Crankbrothers Mallet shoes felt like a no-brainer. I went for the same size as my old Giros (EUR 45) and the fit and shape instantly felt comfortable. The first thing I noticed was how good the shape of the sole insert was and seems to match the arc of my foot perfectly. With Gondolas being none existent in Wellington, you've got to get yourself up any hill you want to ride down. The shoes were noticeably stiffer while pedaling uphill, transferring more power to the pedals making climbs not only easier but faster(don't worry your climbing KOM's are still safe). For me a stiffer sole seems to make a much more comfortable ride for the longer days, with the sole not flexing to the same degree, resulting in my feet seeming to ache a lot less. I also find that the feel between my shoe and pedals is improved and clipping in seems easier, with the stiffer sole.
These shoes came with Crankbrothers Cleats attached out the box which was an added bonus. They have a handy cleat chart printed on the bottom which makes getting both cleats in the same area a breeze, they also have a DH race zone for the cleats which gets them as far back for better descending.
A few features that stood out to me was the added stiffness to the heel which stops the heels from folding down when stuffing your feet into the shoes as you rush out to hit the trails. Another nice little addition is the pocket on top of the tongue which stores the laces and keeps them out the way so no nasty snags catch you out.
All in all, these are a cracking (British for great) set of shoes, with heaps of features. If you're in the market for a new set of riding shoes then definitely take a glance at these.