Words: Carsick John
The Crossmax enduro shoe from Mavic is designed to fill a gap between two existing models and to satisfy a growing market. Jerome Clementz – Enduro World Series champion – is of course one of those riders looking for something more befitting to his discipline and style of riding and so became part of the design process.
He’d been flitting between the stiff Fury (very XC) and the Alpine XL (a tad clumpy in my opinion), and felt the world needed something more enduro specific. I’d like to point out that neither the Fury nor the XL seemed to slow him down that much, but anyway the world’s first specific enduro was born, the Crossmax.
The Crossmax shoe borrows the Contagrip tread from the Alpine XL but with more fibreglass to stiffen it up for racing. The lacing is provided by a quick-lace system, which is then covered by a Velcro flap to keep it all clean, then the real secure fixing is a ratchet system similar to that of the Fury or any other road style shoe.
The Crossmax cost €165, they’re bright yellow and weigh 460 grams.
Quick-Lace – the lacing is provided by a quick-lace system, which is a ski-boot style lacing system that just requires one pull and the shoes tighten. The lacing is then covered by a Velcro flap to keep it all clean and tidy.
Ergo Lite ratchet – this is the real secure fixing. It’s a ratchet system similar to that of the Fury or any other road style shoe. It’s basically a top strap and a ratchet that you use to clamp the shoe tight. The release is via a small release tab, this is a bit small and in gloves can be hard to engage.
Contagrip® – This is Mavic’s patented sole compound which is a ‘unique combination of a propriety rubber compound’. It is a good contact surface without doubt, but it offers nowhere near the same surface contact offered by FiveTen shoes for example so do not expect huge grip.
Ergo Fit Ortholite® – is the Crossmax insole or sock liner. These little babies have a mass of technical data attached to them; Eva heel cup, durable open cell structure, cooler, drier, increased cushioning, etc. But when tested I have to say the insoles caused me nothing but pain, aches in the arch of my foot. I removed the insoles and replaced them with some from my favourite riding shoes and viola the aches stopped.
Ergo Tongue – As the catchy marketing title suggests this is an ergonomically fitted tongue. It holds the foot firm in the shoe and adds comfort.
GoFasterYella® – This is a feature that Mavic don’t mention and I took the liberty of patenting it. How it works is simple, GoFasterYella® gives you highly visible bright yellow feet. When riding this makes trail pedestrians stop and stare (at your feet), this gawping effect makes you ride faster, otherwise you look pretty stupid with footwear like this and riding slowly.
When I was sent these shoes to review, I actually thought it was hilarious as I’ve been so keen on flat pedal riding since about six years ago when a descent-loving pal put me onto a set of flats after years of being comically clipped (often upside-down) to push bikes.
Having entered the Enduro World Series finals, I was however drawn to the Crossmax shoes and the possibility of putting in Clementz-style performances in Finale Ligure, which is where I find myself right now writing this review.
Initially the shoes felt weird, switching from my FiveTen shoes to the Crossmax it was noticeable how much stiffer and narrower they were than my usual riding footwear.
The Crossmax aren’t exactly the most comfortable shoes either, I had some aches in the arch of my foot and finally ended up running the insoles from another set of shoes for the most comfort.
In the heel area they also feel shallow and this is really noticeable when off the bike, especially running or walking the bike uphill where the word ‘flip flop’ springs to mind. To counter this I’ve clamped the ratchet up to 11 to get the shoes to feel like they want to stay on my feet.
How do they ride?
I’ve been testing the Crossmax shoes for a couple of months on my local (XC+) trails and I have to say I’ve started to gravitate towards them, once I had them feeling comfy I remembered the benefits of a good SPD shoe (which these clearly are), although I would be more inclined to purchase a full-on ‘dancing shoe’ (slimline SPD shoe) for that style of riding. So arriving in Finale Ligure on Monday I was keen to test these enduro specific shoes on some of last year’s Superenduro trails.
Sadly after two days of riding the more technical ‘real’ enduro tracks these enduro specific shoes are not for me. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with them though, as far as clipless shoes go these work fine, they connect man to bike and are constructed very well, it’s just that you need to be a very confident rider to tackle trails such as those of the Superenduro series, and with the addition of clips, that I am not. Using them has not made me a French Enduro God.
My style of riding is vaguely fast, possibly out of control, loose, ragged feet flying around helping me scuff my way through tech sections, it’s ugly but works for me. Being clipped-in does not help my riding and despite the added efficiency in climbs there are virtually no benefits to me on the downhill sections.
These shoes look good, provide a good, secure connection between foot and bike and have as-yet not shown any signs of degrading. If you want to race enduro clipped-in then these are definitely a good option, but for more general XC riding stick to one of Mavic’s other shoes.
More information: Mavic Crossmax shoes