The Five Ten Freerider Pro features a burly synthetic upper, ample protection for all conditions riding, and a tried and true Dotty S1 rubber sole. It's sure to please most riders, from casual weekend riders to aggressive enduro riders and everyone in between.Our testing team is split on this shoe. For some, it was the favorite while others much preferred other Five Ten models. What is undeniable is how good looking and versatile this shoe is. We used it for bike commuting, around town and even on moderate hikes (it has some traction but is pretty slippery, especially when the tread gets worn.) If you want one shoe to do about everything in, this is it. It was also incredibly durable, which made swallowing the price tag a little easier. That said, it didn't score as high as other shoes in our test.
Five Ten Freerider Pro Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great durability and power transfer, look good on and off the bike
Cons: Expensive, not as sticky as the Freerider Contact
Manufacturer: Five Ten
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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 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 high 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, other models 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 Freerider Pro could be your shoe of choice for all your riding needs.
Our first impression out of the box was that the 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. 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 several other Five Ten models, with the medium fit and generous toe box. The shoe seems to be padded in all the right places, although not the most padded shoe in our lineup. 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 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 make walking a little easier. If you don't find yourself walking in your bike shoes much, this won't be an issue.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
As we touched on above in "Comfort," the 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 Five Ten siblings. Just keep in mind if you spend much time off the bike that this rigidity makes hiking a little tougher than the some of the more flexible models in our test.
Once we put the 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.
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 Freerider Pro. The Pro is equipped with several small pinhole sized perforations across the toe for ventilation. Where other shoes 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.
With the trail-proven Dotty S1 rubber combined with a super tough upper and the reinforced toe, the Freerider Pro looks like it's in for seasons of use and abuse. 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 most flat shoes. 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 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!
— Jason Cronk