The Switchback was one of the first trail shoes to come from the French wheel system masters at Mavic. Taking tips from its sister brand, Salomon, the Switchback appeals on technical and aesthetic levels.
It’s been a favourite of big mileage, rough riders like our tester Guy Kesteven, who likes the balance between power delivery for long grinding climbs and the easy-to-wear feel, allowing you to wear it on a full 12-hour epic without it irritating toes or cramping the arches.
The signature Mavic Quick Lace pull cord works without the aid of the broad crossover strap found on its big brother, the Mantra. Even alone, it works well enough to keep feet planted inside the shoe, wet or dry, hiking or biking.
The reinforced toe area is robust but the rear of the midsole is a bit under supported for our tastes. The ContaGrip outsole uses natural feeling rubber that hunts out traction without wearing out too fast.
Pedal access is perfect with no entry or exit issues. The uppers are almost seam-free and use a water resistant fabric. The Switchback’s got the performance but not at the expense of looking out of place if you like to present a sober and considered riding image.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.