The Five Ten Freerider Contacts feature Stealth MI6 rubber, the stickiest (but least durable) rubber Five Ten offers. These shoes set themselves apart with the style of tread on the bottom. There is no tread on the ball of your foot. Because of this smooth, treadless spot, there is a break-in period, and we found that the grip started to become slightly better after the third use because of the scarring from our pedal pegs adding some grip. Five Ten intended to make a shoe that wasn't so velcro-like, and they succeeded. The Contacts are also very rigid compared to others, and it was difficult to feel our foot on the pedal.
Five Ten Freerider Contact - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Breathable, Stealth rubber
Cons: No elastic strap for laces, long break-in period, scarred easily
Manufacturer: Adidas Five Ten
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Our Analysis and Test Results
What makes Five Ten Freerider Contacts stand out from other mountain biking shoes is the area of smooth tread on the ball of the foot. We were very excited to try out this different type of tread!
What makes these shoes super unique is the tread on the bottom.
Only part of the shoe has Five Ten usual dot pattern. On the ball of your foot (the part of your foot you want on the pedal) is a smooth rubber. We were skeptical about its effectiveness because that part of your foot is where you want most of your grip — our skepticism was not unwarranted. We found that our foot consistently slipped off the pedal the first few rides. After that, the scarring in the sole helped create some texture, so our foot did not move as often. Why wouldn't Five Ten add that texture themselves? Five Ten aimed to make this shoe for someone who wants more room for movement on their pedal. However, in comparison to the Bontrager Flatline, we found that Contacts scarred much more quickly, making the tread for you. We also found the slick bottom side to be pretty slippery in wet weather and when we had to hike our bike. But if you are looking for a middle grip shoe so that maybe you can graduate to something more grippy, this is perhaps the shoe for you.
Comfort and Protection
On the toe, the rubber on the bottom of the shoe is sewn to the upper. We could feel that seam on our toes when the shoe was on. The seam on the inside was so large that when our toe moved forward in the shoe, it hurt. On other shoes we tested with seams, this was not a problem.
We did find there is a lot of protection on the toe of the shoe to protect your foot from rocks, trees, or even your pedal. This protective layer did a great job of shielding our foot!
We found that these shoes run a half size small compared to the other Five Ten's we tried in the same size. The fit is also narrow with a low profile. So if you do order this shoe, keep that in mind so you do not have to buy twice.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
The Contacts feature a very stiff toe and mid-sole, so rigid that we found it challenging to feel the pedal underfoot. We think that because of the stiffness this is not a good option if you have to hike your bike. If you are looking for something with a little more flexibility, we recommend Ride Concepts Livewire.
The upper is mostly synthetic mesh, and on the part of the shoe, there is a waterproof overlay on the mesh. Thus Five Ten was able to make a waterproof shoe while also maintaining breathability.
Just like on the other Five Ten shoes we tried, the stealth rubber scarred easily from the pegs on our pedal. Also, the stitching on the front of the shoe started to become frayed only after a few uses. Lastly, the laces are also quite large, and there is no elastic loop to keep them in place, making them an easy target for our chainrings to catch.
Of all the shoes we tried, the Freerider Contacts fell right in the middle weighing in at 713 grams. The weight helped keep us on the pedal and made up for the smooth tread a little. However, we think the Five Ten Freerider Pros are a lighter and better option.
After the break-in period, these shoes did get a bit better, but we still do not think they are worth the price tag compared to the other Five Ten shoes. These do not have an elastic strap to keep the laces out of the way. We think Freerider Pros are a better option even though they are slightly more expensive.
Breathability is where the Freerider Contacts stand out. Otherwise, we found this shoe to pale in comparison to its other Five Ten family members. It did not have the elastic strap to hold our laces, and the seam on the front dug into our toes on the inside of the shoe.
— Bo Outland