The new Crossmax Enduro shoe from Mavic is designed for out-and-out enduro race performance. It is the team riders' cut-and-shut job from Mavic's top off-road performance shoes – the trail-based Alpine XL and the super light Fury XC.
The Alpine XL is a great shoe, but its sole has too much flex for high-end performance, and the upper lacks ventilation. The foot retention is also more focussed on comfort than pedalling efficiency. That's where the Crossmax Enduro steps in – it combines the best of the Alpine XL and the Fury XC. The shoes screams 'race' in its aggressive yellow colourway, and from the moment you slip your foot into it, it makes you want to get out there and hammer.
The wrap-around tongue design envelops your foot securely, and the fore foot quick-lace system can be tightened fully without pinching. A handy velcro flap covers the laces, and has a neat lycra cut-out to stretch over the lace toggle. The Ergolite ratchet strap from the Fury shoe secures the upper foot in to the shoe, and can be tightened right up without restricting movement.
A sturdy heel cup offers good support and has the same neoprene cuff as the Alpine, but with a more secure fit to stop trail debris getting into the shoe. Up front, a ventilated toe helps cool things down, and a reinforced rubber toe bumper fends off flying rocks and the odd unintentional toe punt.
Walking in the Crossmax Enduro isn't as comfortable as the Alpine, because the sole features 50 percent fibreglass rather than 30 percent in order to aid pedalling efficiency. However, the Contagrip outsole is very good off the bike, and despite a small amount of heel lift in our shoes even when tightened fully, they are more than adequate for hiking sections.
On the pedals though, the Crossmax Enduro really comes to life. Your foot doesn't move at all inside the shoe, and thanks to the well supported uppers, every bit of movement your feet make has a direct input on the pedals, be that on the downstroke through the stiff sole, or when pulling up hard on the upstroke.
Performance wise, the Crossmax Enduro is better than the Alpine, and virtually as comfortable. We did find our toes got a bit numb on a few particularly long stints due to the lack of movement inside the shoe, but loosening the quick-lace system slightly remedies this at the cost of a marginally looser fit.