Five Ten Freerider Pro - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, fantastic grip, great power transfer, durable
Cons: Breathability is not the best in hot conditions
Manufacturer: Adidas Five Ten
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Five Ten has long been considered the standard by which all-mountain bike shoes are judged. However, the acquisition of Five Ten by Adidas Outdoor and the rise of new competitors, such as Ride Concepts, has brought new scrutiny to Five Ten shoes. Despite this, the Five Ten Freerider Pro proved itself to be the most balanced and overall best-performing shoe we tested.
A refined fit with a decreased volume allowed our testers to not only have better power transfer, it also allowed us better control over the pedals. The Stealth® Dotty rubber outsole provides excellent grip on the pins of the pedal, while still having enough give to allow for micro-adjustments of the foot. This combined with the EVA midsole, allows the rider to really push into the pedals, without fear of losing traction. Small features such as a padded tongue, flat laces, an elastic lace retainer, and reinforced eyelets help to add to the shoe's comfort and durability, making the Freerider Pro a great choice for the rider looking for an all-round shoe.
Five Ten uses their Stealth® Dotty rubber on the outsole of the Freerider Pro. This rubber is one of the most popular on Five Ten bike shoes and for good reason, it combines the stickiness of the Stealth rubber with a dot pattern that provides a secure grip between the pedal and shoe. Our testers found this surface combination to provide the right amount of grip, without feeling like velcro, and allowed us to make micro adjustments on the pedal without having to lift up our foot. However, some riders may find the surface of the Stealth® Dotty rubber to be a bit too grippy for their individual liking, in which case we recommend looking at other models that utilize a less grippy compound.
Throughout testing we never lost a pedal while wearing the Freerider Pros. The grippy rubber outsole provided ample grip between our shoe's outsole and our pedal pins, giving us increased confidence as we weighted our pedals through corners and descended rocky terrain which tested the soles grip. We also noticed while climbing steep slopes that our feet stayed positioned on the pedal and did not slip due to the interface between the shoe's outsole and our pedal.
We found the dot pattern on the outsole of the Freerider Pro to be shallow enough to hold pedal pins that are worn or broken off. While this may seem trivial, we did find that not all shoes tested were able to interface so well with worn or broken pins because the depth of the tread pattern was deeper. We were also impressed with the durability of the shoe's outsole. Unlike other models of shoes we have worn over the years, the outsole of the Freerider Pro held up incredibly well throughout product testing and had no visible marking from our pedal pins after two months of use helping it to earn high marks in this metric.
Comfort and Protection
To begin with we, we want to acknowledge that the sizing on the Freerider Pro is different from past Five Ten shoes, something that many consumers have noticed since the Adidas Outdoor acquisition. Our lead tester has worn Five Ten's for years in a US8.5 women's, however when she received the Freerider Pro she found it to be much too long and exchanged for a US8 women's and found the sizing perfect. We recommend trying on the shoe when possible for fit, and keeping in mind that you will likely need to size down one-half size.
Comfort is highly subjective when it comes to shoes, as the length, width, volume, and arch of our feet varies so much. Our testers found the Freerider Pro to be very comfortable thanks to a fit which was neither too wide, nor too voluminous. The Freerider Pro features a shallower volume and narrower toebox than other Five Ten models, enveloping the foot and giving it a more supportive fit. Our testers found better power transfer and pedal control thanks to the fit, as our foot was secure and not moving around inside the shoe.
Adding to the shoe's comfort is the EVA foam midsole. This layer helps to dissipate trail impacts before they reach the rider's foot, preventing sore feet and helping prevent foot fatigue. During testing we never felt soreness or fatigue in our feet from trail chatter or impacts. The footbed of the Freerider Pro is made of Ortholite foam and fits our testers flat feet quite well, however we do know many people have higher arches and may need more arch support. Luckily the footbed is easily removable, allowing for custom footbeds to be put in. However, given the overall volume of the shoe, those with a high volume foot or high arch may find the fit to be too snug, as we would describe its volume and width to be medium.
In fact, our testers found the Freerider Pro to offer quite a bit of protection despite its sleek design. The Freerider Pro has a highly padded tongue that serves two purposes; first, it prevents pressure points or hot spots that could be caused by laces on the top of the foot, and second, it gives the top of the foot added protection in case of impact. As previously mentioned, the Freerider Pro has a double layer of protection at the midfoot, which wraps around the heel, protecting the rider's foot and heel. At the front of the tox box, you will find a layer of Poron, a material that is impact resistant, and strategically placed in the area most prone to rock strikes. Lastly, the Freerider Pros uppers are made from a thick synthetic material. This material has a rigidity to it that allows rocks and other small debris to bounce off instead of impacting the rider's foot.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
The Freerider Pro features medium-flex molded EVA midsole, which our testers found to be rigid enough to be able to push into the pedals, while still being able to know where the pedal is underfoot, without feeling the pedal through the sole of the shoe. While not the stiffest shoe we tested, we think the Freerider Pro strikes the perfect balance between the two earning it high marks in this metric.
During testing we were able to push hard into the pedals on fast cross-country laps and found the power transfer to be very good. While climbing steep or technical terrain, we could comfortably push into the pedals to power up and over roots and logs.
In addition to helping with power transfer, the EVA midsole does a fantastic job absorbing trail impacts from rock gardens, jumps, and drops. We found the Freerider Pro to outperform other shoes we tested in this metric.
The Freerider Pro earned slightly above average marks for their breathability in part due to the reinforced uppers and materials used to repel moisture and dirt. Our testers found that the upper on the Freerider Pro repealed moisture very well, unlike other models that leave one with a soggy foot after riding through a puddle.
The perforations in the toe box allow some airflow into the forefoot, but the reinforced mid-foot lacks any perforations to aid air circulation. Our testers found that in temps in the mid-70's and below that, this was not much of an issues, but hot and humid Midwest riding in the summer frequently means temps in the upper 80's and 90's and high dew points, making for some steamy days on the bike. It was in these warmer temps that our testers noticed the lack of airflow through the mid-foot and that our socks were continually damp from moisture no matter what type or weight of sock we wore.
In our testers' minds, there are inevitable trade-offs when it comes to shoes, one of which is typically breathability, as durability and protection frequently mean reinforced materials and thicker materials for the shoes upper. For us, we are willing to trade breathability to an extent, for added protection and the ability to repel water. Overall, we did not find the Freerider Pro to be unbearably hot, but we have worn shoes that are much more breathable.
The Freerider Pros really seem to be made for long term durability. After two months of product testing and using the shoes with brand new and worn pins alike, the Stealth® Dot rubber showed no signs of scarring or use. Our testers are happy to say the same for the shoes' ultra-durable synthetic upper, which despite being dirty, also shows no signs of wear after extensive testing. We have noticed zero issues with stitching or seams and feel that the Freerider Pro will withstand a few seasons of heavy use, earning it top marks in this metric. The box and heel are both covered in a layer of textured rubber, again adding extra wear protection to these high wear areas.
The Freerider Pro also uses flat laces, something our testers prefer as they seem to stay laced better than round laces. An elastic lace retainer on the tongue ensures your laces stay out of your chainring and chain. You'll also find the shoes midsole to extend higher up onto the upper on the inside of the shoe, something which also helps with durability and wear. Overall, our testers were impressed with the Freerider Pro's durability and look forward to wearing them for seasons to come.
Weighing only 612 grams for a US8 women's, the Freerider Pro was one of the lightest shoes we tested, which is impressive given the amount of protection, durability, and power transfer found in the shoe. Typically, protection, durability, and stiffness come with a significant weight penalty, but not so with this shoe. The low weight also makes it easier to spin the pedals, something we noticed on longer rides.
Our testers feel the Freerider Pro is a great value for the money, given its exceptional performance and features, including a super grippy sole, very good power transfer, low weight, and durable upper and outsole. While not the most affordable shoe we reviewed, we feel the construction is quality, meaning you'll be spending less money long term on shoes.
The Freerider Pro is a great choice for the rider looking for a flat pedal shoe with a great balance of grip, power transfer, durability, and weight. While not quite beefy enough for downhill, it packs enough protection for the rider to feel comfortable and confident on almost every other type of riding from cross-country to trail and enduro.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams