Five Ten Freerider Pro - Women's Review
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Five Ten Freerider Pro - Women's
|Price||$89.93 at REI|
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|$72.00 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight, fantastic grip, great power transfer, durable||Lightweight, awesome grip, absorbs trail chatter||Protective, excellent grip, durable||Excellent grip, comfortable, lightweight, breathable, reasonable price||Inexpensive, offers a lot of protection, balanced grip|
|Cons||Breathability is not the best in hot conditions||Minimal foot protection||Warm on the feet, velcro strap is cumbersome||Long laces, minimal foot protection||Not the grippiest, moderate weight|
|Bottom Line||An excellent choice if what you seek is excellent performance||A lightweight, well-balanced shoe with incredible grip, all-day comfort, and great trail absorption which makes it stand out in the crowd||This beefy shoe has a great grip, absorbs the trail, is highly durable, and has tons of protection, making it a great choice for the gravity crowd||An excellent shoe for all types of flat pedal riders with outstanding grip, comfort, and value||This is an exceptional flat pedal shoe for someone just starting their mountain bike adventures, especially for the price|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Giro Latch - Women's||Ride Concepts Wildcat||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Comfort and Protection (25%)|
|Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Giro Latch - Women's||Ride Concepts Wildcat||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Outsole||Stealth S1||Tack Rubber||Max Grip||SlipNot™ ST||Rubber Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip|
|Tread Pattern||Full Hexagon Dot||Gamma tread design||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot|
|Measured Weight (per pair)||616 g||593 g||715 g||669 g||754 g|
|Upper Material||Synthetic||Microfiber synthetic||Microfiber synthetic||Leather, Suede||Synthetic, mesh|
|Footbed||Ortholite||3D molded||Dual-density EVA||Body Geometry||D30 High Impact Zone|
|Midsole||EVA||Mute Foam 3D||EVA||EVA||EVA|
|Sizes Offered||US 5-11||EU 36-43||US 5-10||EU 36-49||US 5-1 0|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Five Ten Freerider Pro continues 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 but 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 push into the pedals without fear of losing traction. The EVA midsole also helps to dissipate trail vibrations before they reach your feet and help to reduce foot fatigue. Inside the toebox is a layer of Poron. This material adds a layer of impact protection for your toes without adding bulk or substantial weight to the shoe. 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-around shoe with forefoot protection.
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 a 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 lifting our foot. However, some riders may find the surface of the Stealth® Dotty rubber to be a bit too grippy for their 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 sole's 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.
The dot pattern on the outsole of the Freerider Pro is shallow enough to hold pedal pins that are worn or broken off. While this may seem trivial, we found that not all shoes tested could 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.
Comfort and Protection
First, we want to acknowledge that the sizing on the Freerider Pro differs from past Five Ten shoes. Our lead tester has worn Five Ten's for years in a US 8.5 women's; however, when she received the Freerider Pro, she found it too long and exchanged it for a US 8 women's and found the sizing perfect. We recommend trying on the shoe when possible for fit and remember that you will likely need to size down a one-half size.
Comfort is highly subjective regarding shoes, as the length, width, volume, and arch of our feet vary so much. Our testers found it very comfortable, thanks to a fit that 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 tester's flat feet quite well. However, many people have higher arches and may need more arch support. Luckily, the footbed is easily removable, allowing 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 too snug, as we would describe its volume and width as a medium.
Surprisingly, the Freerider Pro offers quite a bit of protection despite its sleek design. It has a highly padded tongue serves two purposes; first, it prevents pressure points or hot spots 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, which is impact-resistant and strategically placed in the area most prone to rock strikes. Lastly, the uppers are made from a thick synthetic material. This rigidity allows rocks and other small debris to bounce off instead of impacting the rider's foot.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
The Freerider Pro features a medium-flex molded EVA midsole, which we found to be rigid enough 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 it strikes a great balance between the two.
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. We could comfortably push into the pedals to power up and over roots and logs while climbing steep or technical terrain.
In addition to helping with power transfer, the EVA midsole does a fantastic job absorbing trail impacts from rock gardens, jumps, and drops. Overall, the Freerider Pro performs very well in this metric.
The Freerider Pro earned slightly above-average marks for its breathability, partly 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 mid-foot lacks any perforations to aid air circulation. In temps in the mid-70s and below, this was not much of an issue, but hot and humid Midwest riding in the summer frequently means temps in the upper 80s and 90s with high dew points, making for some steamy days on the bike. In these warmer temps, we 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 regarding shoes, one of which is typically breathability, as durability and protection frequently mean reinforced materials and thicker materials for the shoe's upper. With the Freerider Pro, we feel we are trading breathability for added protection and water repellency. It is not unbearably hot, but other shoes tested are much more breathable.
The Freerider Pros are made for long-term durability. Our testers have used the Freerider Pro in their personal shoe rotation for over three years now, and while the soles are showing wear, they still have life left in them. There is scarring from the pedal pins and some compression of the midsole, but for a shoe that has seen heavy use, the soles are still in good shape. The synthetic upper is ultra-durable and does not have any holes or issues with the stitching or seams coming undone. The toebox and heel are covered in a textured rubber layer which has helped the longevity of these high-wear areas. Freerider Pro can withstand a few seasons of heavy use, earning it top marks in this metric.
The Freerider Pro 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 and are appropriately sized for the shoe. You'll also find the shoe's midsole extends higher up onto the upper on the inside, which also helps with durability and wear. Overall, our testers are impressed with the Freerider Pro's durability.
Weighing only 616 grams for a pair of US 8 women's, the Freerider Pro is a light shoe, which is impressive given the amount of protection, durability, and power transfer.
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.
Should You Buy the Five Ten Freerider Pro Women's
The Five Ten Freerider Pro has been a perennial favorite for many years, and for good reason. The Stealth® Dotty outsole has outstanding grip and durability, even with being compressed with sharp pedal pins. The version of the Freerider Pro with synthetic uppers has held up to seasons of abuse admirably, with no issues of seams or stitching coming undone. The Poron protection in the toebox and EVA foam midsole, each respectively, help to protect the rider's foot. For the rider who is looking for a lightweight shoe that provides forefoot protection and good absorption through the midsole, the Freerider Pro is a great choice, and with a little care will last for seasons.
What Other Women's Flat Pedal Mountain Bike Shoes Should You Consider?
The Giro Latch is a great alternative to the Five Ten Freerider Pro. With excellent grip, midsole absorption, and a comfortable fit, the Latch thoroughly impressed our testers and performed very well across all metrics. The Latch does lack impact protection in the forefoot, which some riders may want to take into consideration before purchasing. Another great performing shoe is the Specialized 2FO Roost Fat. This unisex shoe has a more generous cut than the Freerider Pro and Latch and has an outstanding grip and good midsole absorption and is a great pick for riders with a wider foot, as the suede uppers stretch out to your foot's shape.
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