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Crankbrothers Stamp Boa Review

A clean and sleek-looking pair of shoes that offer decent grip and a lower volume fit
Crankbrothers Stamp Boa
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Price:  $180 List | $153.89 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  BOA system, clean looks, good hiking abilities
Cons:  Mediocre grip, low-mid volume fit may not work for everyone
Manufacturer:   Crankbrothers
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2021
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Grip - 30% 8
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 7
  • Rigidity and Power Transfer - 20% 8
  • Breathability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Weight - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Crank Brothers Stamp BOA are slick-looking flat pedal shoes with a BOA closure system. The BOA dial and Velcro strap are user-friendly, and we found the fit to be relatively comfortable but slightly lower volume. The tread design and Match MC2 rubber are optimized to work with Crankbrothers Stamp pedals, and we found it hooked up reasonably well with non-Stamp pedals, although we think it is a clear step below the grip of our favorite shoes. The relatively stiff soles provide good power transfer with flex through the toe and tread optimized to facilitate walking. The Stamp BOA shoes are also fairly lightweight and quick drying. While they look good and are generally comfortable, they can't match the pedal connection of our top-rated models.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros BOA system, clean looks, good hiking abilitiesExcellent pedal grip, comfortable, true all-mountain performanceTall ankle cuff with extra medial ankle padding, fantastic grip, good power transferGreat pedal grip, sturdy construction, protective features, comfortableImpressive grip, protective, reasonable price
Cons Mediocre grip, low-mid volume fit may not work for everyoneOn the expensive side of the spectrum, Stealth rubber wears more quicklyHeavier weight, polarizing looks, not the most breathableHeavier weight, sizing runs a little smallHeavier weight, limited breathability
Bottom Line A clean and sleek-looking pair of shoes that offer decent grip and a lower volume fitThe benchmark for flat pedal shoes, a true all-arounder that looks as good as it performsA shoe that blends tremendous grip with a bit of extended ankle coverage and protectionA comfortable, beefy shoe with loads of protection well suited to gravity ridingA reasonably priced, versatile flat pedal shoe that offers strong performance and even stronger value
Rating Categories Crankbrothers Stamp... Five Ten Freerider Pro Five Ten Freerider... Ride Concepts Power... Ride Concepts Livewire
Grip (30%)
8.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Fit And Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
Rigidity And Power Transfer (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Breathability (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Weight (5%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
Specs Crankbrothers Stamp... Five Ten Freerider Pro Five Ten Freerider... Ride Concepts Power... Ride Concepts Livewire
Rubber Type MC2 High-friction rubber Stealth S1 Stealth S1 DST 4.0 MAX GRIP Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip
Tread Pattern Match sole optimized to work with Stamp pedal Full Dot Full Dot Full Hexagon Dot Full Hexagon Dot
Weight per Shoe (ounces) 14.67 (size 11) 14.11 (size 11) 16.57 (size 11) 16.97 (size 11) 16.15 (size 11)
Weight per Shoe (grams) 416 (size 11) 399 (size 11) 470 (size 11) 467 (size 11) 458 (size 11)
Closure Boa and Velcro strap Laces Velcro straps Laces Laces
Lace Keeper N/A Yes N/A Yes Yes
Volume Low-Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Upper Materials Mesh, synthetic Synthetic Leather Synthetic with Ortholite sockliner Welded microfiber Synthetic/mesh
Midsole EVA EVA Compression molded EVA
Insole AM/MT insole

Our Analysis and Test Results

Crankbrothers recently entered the mountain bike shoe market with their Stamp flat pedal shoes and Mallet clip-in shoes. Both models come in three different closure styles; Lace, Speed Lace, and BOA, at varying price points. The Stamp BOA shoes are the top-of-the-line flat pedal model, with a sleek appearance and a fancy BOA closure system (a bit of a novelty among flat pedal shoes). We found them to be relatively comfortable with good power transfer, but they never stood out from the competition, particularly when it came to their pedal grip.

Performance Comparison


The Crankbrothers Stamp Boa is one of only a few flat pedal shoes...
The Crankbrothers Stamp Boa is one of only a few flat pedal shoes that use a Boa dial for the closure. While they are functional, they can't match the pedal grip of our favorite models.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Grip


Let’s get something out of the way. CrankBrothers markets these shoes as being “optimized” for use with the CrankBrothers Stamp pedals. The marketing copy goes on to say the shoes are “designed to work flawlessly with any flat pedal”. We tested these shoes with Spank Oozy and Shimano Saint pedals. While the Stamp pedals are reasonably popular, it is safe to say that far more people use other pedals on their bikes. As a result, we tested the shoes with the Spank and Shimano pedals.

CrankBrothers uses their Match MC2 rubber compound for the sole of the Stamp BOA. According to CrankBrothers, this is a high-friction material for maximum grip that also has dampening properties. We found this compound to work well-enough. Make no mistake, this rubber can’t match our favorite shoes in this review. It provides adequate grip, but can't match Five Ten's Stealth, Specialized's SlipNot, or Ride Concepts' Rubber Kinetics compounds. The Match MC2 does seem to have some vibration dampening properties, but we still felt a bit more prone to being bounced off the pedals than in some other shoes.

The sole tread has been designed to match the shape of a Stamp pedal...
The sole tread has been designed to match the shape of a Stamp pedal platform. Deeper horizontal lugs at the toe and heel help when walking or hiking off the bike.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Examining the sole of the shoe, the majority of it is comprised of raised parallelograms that match the shape of the Stamp pedal body. These parallelograms have small channels between them approximately the depth of a pedal pin. We didn't have the chance to test the Stamp shoe and Stamp pedal combo, but it stands to reason that this tread design should engage the pins of that pedal very well. We have also read other reviews that state the Stamp shoes work best with Stamp pedals. We found the pins on our non-Stamp pedals engaged this design fairly well, particularly the smaller-diameter pins on our Spank Oozy pedals. We also found it to be relatively easy to reposition our feet on the pedals. Riders who enjoy a bit of foot mobility may actually like the less locked-in feel of the Stamp shoes with non-Stamp pedals.

Off the bike, the Stamp shoes offer a relatively good walking and hiking experience and traction. The toe of the shoe is slightly rockered and has a good amount of flex to allow for a relatively normal gait. Both the toe and heel of the sole have ramped lugs to dig into the soil. No matter how steep or loose the situation, we found these shoes to handle it quite well.

The BOA dial allows you to fine-tune the fit and a Velcro strap...
The BOA dial allows you to fine-tune the fit and a Velcro strap across the top locks your heel in place.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Fit and Comfort


The Stamp BOA shoes have a relatively comfortable fit with one notable quirk. We found them to have a relatively average fit, though with a tight squeeze under the ball of the foot. The BOA dial and Velcro strap are easily adjustable and keep the feet securely positioned in the shoes, and mesh panels on the sides provide decent ventilation.

Mesh windows on the side of the shoe and a heavily perforated tongue...
Mesh windows on the side of the shoe and a heavily perforated tongue allow decent airflow.
Photo: Pat Donahue

The Stamp BOA have a cushioned, skate-style appearance. As a result, they have a pillowy and plush feel on the foot. There is a good amount of cushioning around the ankles and heel and down the tongue. They have an average width and length, but one obvious fit quirk is the tight fit through the ball of the foot. Even with extremely thin socks on, our tester with a very average size foot found there to be tightness/pressure under the ball of the foot. It is interesting as the rest of the fit is dialed, but they have one distinctive choke point. It was noticeable each time we put the shoes on, that said once we were on the bike, it was mostly a non-issue. This could improve a bit as the insole packs out, but remained noticeable during our entire test period.

The BOA system works very well. Aside from the clean looks, it is highly functional and intuitive. It is easy to cinch the shoes down and really fine-tune the tension. The Velcro strap across the top of the tongue does a wonderful job of locking the heel down in the shoe. Small raised gripper dots inside the heel of the shoe also help to keep it in place. We experienced no heel lift while wearing these shoes, even while hiking up steep slopes.

These shoes strike a nice balance in terms of stiffness. They...
These shoes strike a nice balance in terms of stiffness. They provide decent power transfer while still offering a natural walking motion.

Rigidity and Power Transfer


The Stamp BOA shoes are just above average in terms of rigidity. They aren’t in the top of our test class in terms of stiffness, but they also aren’t flimsy and flexy. We found part of the reason that these shoes work so well off of the bike is the fact that they have a more natural flex to them. This aids the walking motion and is far more pleasant.

On the bike, the shoes are stiff enough without being overly stiff. When you get up and out of the saddle to put the power down, it feels like virtually all of your energy is transferring into the pedals. We would have no hesitation bringing these shoes along for a big, pedal-y all-day ride.

The perforated tongue and small mech panels on the sides of the shoe...
The perforated tongue and small mech panels on the sides of the shoe allow for decent breathability. These shoes dry quickly as well.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Breathability


The Stamp BOA shoes, once again, slot in the middle of the pack in terms of breathability. There are mesh “windows” on each side of the shoe designed to let air pass through and escape. The toe has small perforations to allow for some additional airflow. We found the mesh windows to function as intended. The small perforations on the toe were not noticeable.

The relatively thin and heavily perforated tongue was a nice touch. This area of the shoe sees a lot of wind and generates a lot of heat. The tongue certainly promoted airflow and more importantly, dried quickly after some of our wet rides. These shoes are far from the warmest shoes we tested, but we wouldn't necessarily describe them as particularly airy either. We found they slot into the middle ground where they should work relatively well in a wide range of temperatures and conditions.

The firmer rubber on the soles of the Stamp Boa should last a long...
The firmer rubber on the soles of the Stamp Boa should last a long time. We didn't experience excessive pin scarring during testing with this pair.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Durability


Throughout testing, we observed no signs of premature wear or material breakdown. The stitches, bonds, and materials all look nearly new other than a healthy coating of dust and some sweat droplets. Both the Velcro strap and the BOA dial and cable are still functioning perfectly. Crankbrothers even went out of their way to hide the BOA cable eyelets under the sides of the tongue for added protection. The location of the Boa dial on the side of the shoe does leave it somewhat prone to damage should you scrape your shoe on something while riding.

The BOA closure system is a bit of a polarizing topic. Some flat pedal riders have been asking for them for years, while others would rather stick with the simplicity of laces. As well as it worked on these test shoes, the system is a bit more complicated than a simple set of laces. In the past, this tester has owned shoes where the BOA dial failed. Replacement parts are available, but they can be tricky to install and it's simply a hassle. Again, the BOA system on these shoes is still functioning flawlessly. If riders are particularly concerned with maximum durability or ease of replacement, however, laces may be a better choice.

With a mid-pack weight, the Stamp Boa shoes are good for just about...
With a mid-pack weight, the Stamp Boa shoes are good for just about any style of riding.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Weight


At 416-grams, the Stamp BOA shoes are in the middle of the pack in terms of weight. If we are splitting hairs, they trend towards the lighter side of our test class. When you are handling the shoe, they feel about average.

On the bike, the weight isn’t much of a story. They don’t feel like big, bruising gravity shoes or lightweight trail shoes. As a result, they work very well in a large number of situations. Long rides, enduro-y shuttles, bike park, these shoes will handle any situation.

With a tread design "optimized" to work with the Stamp pedals, these...
With a tread design "optimized" to work with the Stamp pedals, these shoes might work best in that configuration.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Value


The Stamp BOA shoes represent an average value. They deliver relatively solid performance on the trail, although they never stand out as particularly good or bad. Instead, they get things done in a business-like manner. If you already happen to own a pair of Stamp pedals, then perhaps it would make more sense since they are optimized to work together.

Conclusion


The CrankBrothers Stamp BOA are understated and functional flat pedal shoes. They offer clean looks and well-rounded but relatively average performance on the trail. While they don't necessarily stand out from the competition we feel they are still a good option for many riders to consider. They also come in three closure styles and price points to suit varying preferences and budgets.

The Stamp Boa shoes work well enough but didn't stand out from the...
The Stamp Boa shoes work well enough but didn't stand out from the competition.
Photo: Pat Donahue

Pat Donahue

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