A bit of a departure from the normal type of footwear review on GearWeAre, but Teva sent across the intriguing Crank Mid shoes which they say have been designed to mesh as securely as possible with bike pedals to limit your foot slipping off and ending in a loss of control and bloodied shin.
Many moons ago I bought a bike with SPD pedals (the type where a cleat on your foot clicks in to the pedal), and fell off a lot. I just don’t work very well with SPDs at all, so I downgraded to old-school toe straps and get on much better with them, except when it comes to the more on-off stuff where I like a bit of freedom of foot, and tend to balls-up the toe strap insertion as often as I don’t. So I can appreciate the need for and love of big flat platform pedals which just work like a gnarly step to kick down on and power along. And since I’m far less fit than I might outwardly appear, I’m also a big fan of a shoe which is actually designed to work when you’re pushing your bike up embarrassingly shallow hills.
The Teva Crank Mid is designed exactly for that. The combination of locking itself in to big platform pedals with a flat, forgiving pedalling surface, and a bit of grip at the toe and heel for when you’re wandering about on light mud.
Styled in a black suede with fat blue laces, the Crank is a shoe for youthful types and those 30 something who really should know better and use the word dude too much. It’s got the genetic makeup of an early basketball shoe and wouldn’t look too out of place amongst the Converse crowd. And it’s surprisingly comfortable, with a load of fat padding around the ankle and tongue which keeps your foot snug and quite warm (I’ve been wearing them casually for the last week of snow and they’ve been fine).
The build up of sweat is reduced by holes in the toe and a meshy side panel.
Now, there’s something to be said for a shoe which doesn’t provide a huge amount of support. Teva say that they’ve integrated a Mush insole (moulded for comfort) but the feel of the Crank is minimalist in terms of snugging your foot and the result is a natural feeling walk. They’re all-day comfortable and to my mind would be as good at being a travel shoe as they would be a biking shoe… if you don’t mind the looks.
At £60 they’re not the cheapest shoes in the world, but you’re paying for a bit of brand here, and a sole which is undoubtedly very grippy on the nobbles of a pedal. Teva’s Spider Rubber compound is soft and grippy, and coupled with the inverse pyramid pattern they seem to line up with pedal prongs pretty well and lock in to place with your body weight.
SUMMARY: Grippy shoes for bikers which have a nod towards being able to walk in too. Very grippy on a pedal and not too bad on looser ground. Styled like a basketball boot, and the black suede with blue laces won’t be to everyone’s taste, but they’re comfy and warm.