Crankbrothers Stamp Street Fabio Shoe REVIEW
Review by Ben Travis | Photos by Adam McGuire
If you’re into enduro or DH racing, you likely don’t think about flat shoes or pedals anymore since they stopped winning medals. However, for dirt jumpers and street or trials riders, flat pedals are a given, and as such getting the right combo is a must. There is a lot of choice for flat shoes, but the market for performance mtb shoes styled like casual trainers has only really come into existence in recent years. Now CrankBrothers have released their Stamp Street Fabio shoe, designed alongside YouTube trials and mtb sensation Fabio Wibmer to compete with the rest of the field. But how does it stack up? To find out, we gave Scottish street trials legend Ben Travis our pair to put to a proper test on the streets of Aberdeen.
As you may expect from a shoe developed with Fabio Wibmer, the Crankbrothers Stamp Street Fabio shoes are designed to offer stylish and high performance footwear for riding street trials, dirt jumping and bmx. As is the preference by most riders in these disciplines, the foundation of the Stamp Street Fabio shoes is a low profile upper, utilizing a “bootie” construction absent of a separate tongue, with an elasticated sock around the ankle. The upper is synthetic, with perforations and a mesh underlay to promote good ventilation. To offer low-profile protection, there’s a reinforced inner panel to offer some cushion from the crank arms, and a TPU layer in the toe to resist abrasions. The shoes are secured to the foot with standard flat laces, and there’s an elastic lace lock to tuck them out of the way of the front sprocket. Tongue and heel pull tabs are added to aid entry and exit from the shoe.
The sole features the Crankbrothers MATCH design approach, with an outsole lug pattern designed to provide the optimum interface with the Crankbrothers Stamp pedals. The lugs on the Stamp Street Fabio shoes are tighter spaced than on their gravity offerings, to give easier foot repositioning. This outsole uses the MC2 high friction rubber compound to give the desired grip and durability. The EVA midsole provides cushioning against the hard impacts faced during street trials, with some flex designed in to give the best control on the pedals.
Crankbrothers offers the Stamp Street Fabio shoes in a choice of four colorways, in sizes US 3-14/ EU 35-48, with a retail price of $129.99/£124.99/€129.99
The upper body of the Crankbrothers Stamp Street Fabio shoes looks a bit futuristic, like a modern football (soccer) boot. Though the material may not be quite as nice as suede or leather, it does return to shape nicely leaving the shoe looking fresh after multiple weeks riding. The shoe comes in four color options, and though the sage/ gray/ gum colorway tested wasn’t my personal preference, it did grow on me. The elastic lace lock system that clamps the laces into place is definitely a good feature as the laces are really long. It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing but it works and the laces don’t move once they’re in place.
Having quite wide feet, the slim profile threw me a little as I thought it’d be too tight , but somewhat deceivingly the shoe size was a perfect match for my usual shoe size and is a comfortable fit. When riding I always use braces on both ankles and was worried that this would impact the comfort, but my concern was misplaced and the shoes are really comfortable straight out of the box both with and without braces. The inner has a bootie construction which is a nice fit and really comfortable. It’s easy to get your foot in and out of and appears to be really durable.
As with most modern flat pedal shoes, the soles are initially a bit stiff to use as daily footwear, but they did become flexible enough within a couple of wears and I don’t hesitate to put them on for everyday use. The shoes have a slim style and aren’t overly cumbersome. They’re more than suitable for both on and off the bike, which is definitely a key feature of a flat pedal shoe design specifically for street riding.
The MATCH sole on the Stamp Street Fabio shoes is specifically designed to match the Stamp pedal – the grooves on the sole align with the pins on the pedal, which Crankbrothers say is optimised for contact surface and compatibility, but does it work?
Initially the grip wasn’t as good as some of the rival bike-specific shoes. Additionally, when worn in wet or damp conditions, even with a set of Crankbrothers Stamp pedals, the shoes didnt inspire confidence. However, after a couple of rides the sole really started to bed in and the grip improved significantly. If you live in a warmer and drier climate than the north east of Scotland, I would expect that the grip would be more than satisfactory straight out of the box, but I did have some nerves whenever it was wet. Once they had bedded in, the pedal feel was excellent and there was ample cushioning in the midsole for shock absorption when landing both on and off the pedals. You can tell Crankbrothers has designed the Stamp Street Fabio shoes for aggressive riding, they’re not just a “fashion” shoe.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Crankbrothers Stamp Street Fabio shoes really grew on me after a couple of weeks of testing. Initially the grip and aesthetics weren’t to my liking, but they’re comfortable and they still looked in decent condition after several rides. The pedal grip was improving though might not be the most confidence inspiring if you regularly ride in wet or damp conditions, at least out the box. With that said the Stamp street shoes are definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a durable and low profile flat pedal shoe with good grip in dry conditions.