The Five Ten Freerider Pro is packed with all of the things Five Ten is known for. Top-quality, durable and quick-drying synthetic uppers, a medium volume fit, tenaciously sticky Dotty S1 rubber soles, and they even threw in a lace keeper. The Freerider Pro may be the answer for riders seeking an all-around shoe that is capable of handling anything you throw at 'em.
The Freerider Pro had excellent power transfer and pedal traction. It's a little less sticky than the Freerider Contact.
For years now, when it comes to the world of mountain bike flat shoes, Five Ten has seemed to set the standard by which all other shoes' soles are measured. Five Ten's history in the world of ultra-sticky climbing shoes shows in their mountain bike shoes. The Five Ten Freerider Pro is equipped with a full Dotty S1 rubber outsole that provides a vice grip-like hold on the pedal pins. Although the holding power of the Freerider Pro gave this shoe a 9 out of 10 Grip rating, we did notice one subtle thing after wearing the Pros for a couple of rides. When one of our riders was standing on flat ground, something felt "off". After examining the shoes, we found that one of the soles had a slight defect, a noticeable wave in the sole. It was minor enough, but still noticeable. See the photo below. For riders seeking more flexibility in the ability to adjust foot positions while still feeling locked on, a shoe like the Five Ten Freerider Contact or Ride Concepts Livewire may prove a better choice for you. But for riders who prefer that almost completely locked in feel, similar to that of a clipless shoe/pedal combo, the Five Ten Freerider Pro could be your shoe of choice for all your riding needs.
The grippiest rubber, S1
Sticky soles, but a little warp in our test pair
Our first impression out of the box was that the Five Ten Freerider Pro felt familiar. The Pro has a medium volume fit that increases to a wider foot box from the ball of the foot forward. Before discussing more on fit, we just wanted to comment on another out of the box bonus. It may not contribute directly to comfort, but we really appreciated the stretchy lace keeper, much like the Ion Raid Amp II. Once we got the Pro laced up, we noticed both similarities and differences with other Five Ten shoes. The overall fit of the shoe was similar to the Five Ten Freerider Contact with the medium fit and generous toe box. The shoe seems to be padded in all the right places, although the Freerider Contact has a bit more padding in key areas like around the ankle. One additional bonus padded area is in the Poron foam lining of the toe for extra protection from impacts. The foam is the same type found in other protective gear, like elbow and knee pads, that hardens on impact. The synthetic upper is durable, but this may come at a price. We noticed the Five Ten Freerider Pro felt pretty stiff initially and we wondered if it would soften. After testing, we found the material didn't change much and remained stiff, which created an uncomfortable crease and subsequent pressure across the top of the foot. Maybe they'll soften in the long term? We found that when riding in rainy and snowy conditions, the Pro's uppers repelled moisture well and dried quickly after things dried out. After riding a bit, we didn't notice any pedal pressure through the shoe, thanks to the man molded EVA midsole and the orthotic style insole. Again, there are trade-offs, though. While the stiffness keeps the feet protected, other shoes like the Five Ten Freerider make walking a little easier. If you don't find yourself walking in your bike shoes much, this won't be an issue.
A sturdy and weather resistant choice for all mountain riding
Rigidity and Power Transfer
As we touched on above in "Comfort," the Five Ten Freerider Pro is definitely on the stiffer side of things. That stiffness translates into great power transfer between the legs and wheels. On longer rides that translates to greater efficiency, fresher feet and legs, and more fun! We rode multi-hour test rides in the Pros and were happy with their rigidity and efficiency, much like its sibling, the Five Ten Freerider Contact and theGiro Riddance. Just keep in mind if you spend much time off the bike that this rigidity makes hiking a little tougher than the Contact or Riddance.
The all-important connection between rider and pedal
Once we put the Five Ten Freerider Pro on the scale, we found the shoe weighed in right in the neighborhood of all our test subjects, right at 14oz. For our gram counting riders out there, weight won't be a deciding factor for you.
+/- 14 ounces seems to be the right number
When we first started riding in our test shoes this spring, breathability wasn't an issue, but once we started riding in the high Nevada desert on days warmer than 75F or so, things heated up. With even light riding socks, we noticed our feet heating up on rides with more climbing or a faster pace. As you'd expect with a super beefy and durable upper, breathability isn't the main strength of the Five Ten Freerider Pro. The Pro is equipped with several small pinhole sized perforations across the toe for ventilation. Where other shoes like the Ride Concepts Livewire or Five Ten Freerider Contact utilize generous amounts of breathable mesh, the Pro is made with just the durable synthetic upper material throughout. On cooler days or warmer days on shorter rides, we didn't notice any issues with breathability, but on when the temperature or tempo increased, we felt our feet heating up. For riders in cooler climates or for those who do a lot of shuttle riding, the lower degree of breathability won't be an issue, but for riders in hotter climates or those who rack up serious miles, a better-ventilated shoe may be the way to go.
This shoe would be good choice for riders in cooler and wetter locations.
We didn't rate these shoes on style. If we had, the Freerider Pro would have come out on top, especially in this blue color.
With the trail-proven Dotty S1 rubber combined with a super tough upper and the reinforced toe, the Five Ten Freerider Contact looks like it's in for seasons of use and abuse. Starting with the sole, aside from the already proven materials, Five Ten has addressed delamination issues that occurred in the past. Some pairs of the Five Ten Freerider Contact experienced some sole delamination and Five Ten seems to have come up with the answer by going with the S1 rubber vs. Mi6 rubber and also by stitching the toe. After miles of dirt, rocks, and even snow, we noticed almost no wear to the soles of the Pro. We only noted minor marks from pedal pins, similar to that of the Ride Concepts Livewire. Moving on to the uppers of the shoe, we found almost no signs of wear there either, with the exception of some superficial scratches from a poky chunk of granite that we rode a bit close to. If durability is a concern to you, look no further, the Five Ten Freerider Pro has got you covered!
The Freerider Pro also performs well in the skatepark.
John T enjoying some after test beverages
With a $135 price tag, the Five Ten Freerider Pro is near the top of our test when it comes to cost. With the durable construction and a likely long lifespan, perhaps it's worth it?
For the all-around rider who is looking for a substantial yet low profile shoe with tenacious Five Ten grip, check out the Five Ten Freerider Pro!
While the Freerider Pro looks like a more casual shoe, we were impressed with the performance. It also did better at short hikes than the Freerider Contact due to its complete dot sole (the Contact has no traction in the ball of your foot).