ETNIES JAMESON MID CRANK SHOE REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston
Photos by Adam McGuire
With a roster of athletes that includes Brandon Semenuk, it was no surprise that Etnies made the move in to the bike-specific footwear world a few years back. The Jameson Mid Crank was their first offering, developed in collaboration with the aforementioned god of bike handling. Taking their time-served Jameson profile and tweaking it to perform best on a set of flat pedals, Etnies revamped this classic and gave riders with fond memories of the Etnies classics a serious option for modern bike riding.
Beginning with the shell of the standard Jameson Mid, Etnies cranked it up with the addition of a strobel board in the midsole, a TPU underlay and their Pro foam 1 insole to deliver a more durable and supportive shoe that’ll handle the rigors of aggressive bike riding. A “grippy Geo-Hex tread pattern” is present on the sole of the shoe, providing the all important pedal-foot connection. The Jameson is not so much a fully fledged bike-specific shoe, but instead an improvement on a classic skate style sneak that flies under the radar on the trails.
The look of the Jameson’s is really neat, blending the smarter suede finish with a relatively clean and modest skate look to let you rock them from the office to the trails. It was in fact the office that provided the first testing ground for the Jameson’s, as I felt they were almost too nice to get muddy on the trails right away. There’s really no way of telling that these are packing any level of bike-friendly performance until you first ride in them, where there is a distinct lack of clown-shoe feeling. The finish is also quite durable, much to my surprise. After numerous muddy rides and some sketchy riding on my recently reviewed Wethepeople 22” bmx, I was expecting the classy Jameson’s to look quite haggard, but they cleaned up quite well time after time.
Pedal feel with the Jameson’s is a particularly strong suit. There’s still a good amount of sting-protection, but you also maintain a very tactile feel of what’s happening below your sole. This is some what of a necessity, as the ultimate grip of the Jameson’s is not ultra high, instead relying on the triangular sole pattern to hook up into your pedal pins and keep things in place. Because of this, If the Jameson’s clog with mud, there is a dramatic loss of grip. So, much like the recently tested Etnies Marana Crank Mid, the Jamesons make for a fantastic bmx/dirt jump shoe with their protection and sole feel, but I wouldn’t consider them for anything other than dry and relatively smooth mountain biking.
While they’re not as soft and flimsy as skate shoes of the past, the Jameson’s do need a good cinch of the laces to maintain a sturdy structure around your foot. I’m a quite picky man when it comes to foot-shoe connection, so thankfully the lacing does let you get them nice and tight. Being a mid top, the slightly higher lace position provides extra ankle support and protection, which is particularly handy for those who often dab a foot; or for miscalculated tricks and spins. There’s less technology going on with the Jameson’s than the recently reviewed Maranas, so you do lose the some level of padding and toe protection, but given their lesser price than most dedicated riding shoes and their invisible looks, they did perform better than expected.
Who would buy these? In my head, the Jameson is an incredible shoe for (a lucky) someone looking to escape the office for a lunchtime pump track session, or someone wanting to sneak in a dirt jump or skatepark shred prior to hitting the local watering hole. Combining classy and casual looks with a decent sole and some bike-focused performance additions, Etnies have done a stellar job in creating my new lunch ride shoe of choice.
Price: $99.99 – $114.99 / £79.99;
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