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Interbike Bits: Mavic MTB Shoes

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When it comes to wheels Mavic is a well-known industry standard. But the French company has branched out over the years with a variety of soft goods ranging from shoes and clothing, like the Stratos baggies.

One of the most recognizable items from Mavic is the Fury, the blazing yellow shoes seen by and large on the feet of hardcore cross-country racers. At Interbike we came across Mavic’s mountain bike shoes that looked like great alternatives to the carbon-soled, weight-weenie kicks made for racing.

What Mavic’s Mantra, Switchback and the Alpine XL promise to deliver is a high performance compromise between support, comfort, tuned stiffness, breathability with reliable mud, root and rock traction. It’s called an “all-mountain” or “cross-mountain” shoe, said Glen Mckibben, Mavic’s softgoods marketing manager. The Mantra, Switchback and Alpine XL — in a line up of six various cross-mountain models — look to be best suited for on-and-off the bike usage during long rides without sacrificing pedaling efficiency.

“We divided up the cycling world,” Mckibben said of the decision to split carbon-soled, race-type shoes from the cross-mountain type shoe. “We’re trying to create a market. Some retailers are starting to take a chance on them.”

The Mantra and Switchback both offer “soft shell” outers that are water resistant but aren’t fully waterproof, which allows feet to breath yet stay mostly dry. And they are easy to rinse mud from as well, Mckibben said.

The Mantra has a carbon sole for more stiffness and a hook-and-loop, wide-strap across the upper foot with and “Ergo Strap” on the lower foot. The Switchback uses a “quick lace” closure without straps.

The Alpine XL is a newly designed three-quarter height shoe with neoprene ankle guard with a lace cover. Mavic has partnered with Merrell footware to incorporate the latter’s Contragrip sole’s for all-terrrain traction, Mckibben said.

For all the added sole for walking comfort , as well as lacing and abrasion resistance, the shoes don’t weigh a ton. The Alpine LX is 410 grams (size 8.5) at $170 while the Mantra ($220) and Switchback ($160) weigh in at 415 grams each compared to the 350 grams for the World Cup XC racer Fury.

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