The budget choice in the Crankbrothers Mallet E shoe line up, this lace-up clipless mountain bike shoe still offers great performance for a lower price
Crankbrothers wants to get riders on the right pedals, so uses common names for both its clipless pedals and shoes. The Mallet E Lace, tested here, is built for trail riding and is meant to be used with the Mallet E pedal – it even comes with a Crankbrothers brass cleat pre-installed to make the process even easier. The cleats are not tight out of the box, but they have the metal packing shims fitted, so a quick tighten with an Allen key and you’re ready to roll.
If you look on the Crankbrothers website, you’ll see there are three Mallet E shoes – this one is the cheapest because it only uses laces. For an extra £15, you can get this shoe with an additional velcro strap, while £45 more sees the addition of a BOA dial. When we say laces, it’s more like a piece of string, which you have to pull pretty tight to stop your foot from moving too much, and even with the heavily padded tongue we could feel it pinching on the top of our foot.
However, the Mallet E Lace is well-padded around the heel cup and ankle and there’s a cushioned EVA midsole and plenty of space in the toe area to spread out. To say it fits like a glove is an understatement.
The cleat box is offset to the inside, so there is a load of heel clearance and zero crank arm rub. It’s also quite open, allowing compacted debris and mud to evacuate easily. The curve to the sole means this shoe clips in easily, and off-the-bike traction is good. The sole is stiff but with just the right amount of resilience to take the sting out of bigger impacts.
Looking for alternatives? We’ve tried and tested loads of MTB shoes so you can find the best mountain bike shoe for your needs. And while you’re at it, you probably want to make sure your head is protected by the best mountain bike helmet you can get.
We’re not fans of this tan colourway (black is an option), but the Mallet E Lace is cracking value, comes in a ton of sizes and is superbly comfortable. What stops it from winning this test is that it just isn’t stable enough, which is why we’d definitely front up £15 for the Mallet E Speedlace with the extra strap.