Five Ten Freerider Pro Review
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Five Ten Freerider Pro
|Price||$65.03 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Excellent pedal grip, comfortable, true all-mountain performance||Grippy, comfortable, lightweight||Tall ankle cuff with extra medial ankle padding, fantastic grip, good power transfer||Grippy soles, casual looks, reasonable price, versatility, lightweight||Impressive grip, protective, reasonable price|
|Cons||On the expensive side of the spectrum, Stealth rubber wears more quickly||More expensive than some, slim fitting||Heavier weight, polarizing looks, not the most breathable||Somewhat loose fit in the forefoot||Heavier weight, limited breathability|
|Bottom Line||The benchmark for flat pedal shoes, a true all-arounder that looks as good as it performs||A light and comfortable shoe with excellent grip that can pedal for long days on the roughest trails||A shoe that blends tremendous grip with a bit of extended ankle coverage and protection||A versatile new flat pedal shoe with great grip and a casual style||A reasonably priced, versatile flat pedal shoe that offers strong performance and even stronger value|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Giro Latch||Five Ten Freerider...||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Fit and Comfort (25%)|
|Rigidity and Power Transfer (20%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Freerider Pro||Giro Latch||Five Ten Freerider...||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Ride Concepts Livewire|
|Rubber Type||Stealth S1||Tack Rubber||Stealth S1||SlipNot ST||Kinetics DST6.0 High Grip|
|Tread Pattern||Full Dot||Gamma tread design||Full Dot||Full Hexagon Dot||Full Hexagon Dot|
|Weight per Shoe (ounces)||14.11 (size 11)||12.5 (size 10)||16.57 (size 11)||12.96 (size 43.5)||16.15 (size 11)|
|Weight per Shoe (grams)||399 (size 11)||358 (size 10)||470 (size 11)||367 (size 43.5)||458 (size 11)|
|Upper Materials||Synthetic Leather||Microfiber with Rockprint reinforced toe||Synthetic with Ortholite sockliner||Leather/textile||Synthetic/mesh|
|Midsole||EVA||Mute Foam 3D and HD polyethylene power plate||Compression molded EVA||Cushioned EVA|
|Insole||AM/MT insole||3D molded||Body Geometry|
Our Analysis and Test Results
When you have a product that has dominated the bike industry for years, it can be tempting to start looking for a new, exciting product to dethrone the champion. While it may not be exciting to continuously read that the Freerider Pro is the best of the best year after year, it really is an outstanding flat pedal shoe. There is some new and exciting competition in the shoe game, but the fact of the matter is the Freerider Pro is still the gold standard thanks to its unrivaled level of grip and well-rounded performance.
For years now, Five Ten has set the standard by which all other shoe's soles are measured. Many folks will be familiar with Five Ten's experience in the world of ultra-sticky climbing shoes. In case you haven't heard, their mountain bike shoes carry that same reputation of supreme tackiness. The Freerider Pro is equipped with a Stealth S1 rubber outsole. The S1 compound aims to balance stickiness with durability. It isn't quite as tacky as the Mi6 compound found on Five Ten's gravity shoes, but it's not far off.
Examining the sole of the shoe, it is completely covered with raised, circular traction dots. These dots are evenly spaced and have a diameter of approximately 9mm and stand approximately 2mm off of the main outsole body. There is no additional texture to the traction dots or the outsole. When placing the foot, the edges of these dots grab the pedal pins effectively.
The pedal pins engage the Stealth S1 rubber extremely well. When you are perched on the pedals, you can really feel the pins engage the rubber and dig slightly into the sole. This delivers a locked-in feel that is confidence-inpiring, almost like riding with clipless pedals/shoes. These shoes really stood out when climbing up technical features where you really need to rely on the grip to get up and over an obstacle. Riders who value mobility on the pedals might find these shoes to be a little too grippy. When paired with pedals with pins that are sharp, it can be a little difficult to shuffle your foot into a new position. 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.
Off the bike, hiking traction was fine. As you might expect, the Stealth rubber hooks up extremely well on rock. The tread pattern isn't particularly aggressive so pushing up steep and loose terrain or in wet/muddy conditions isn't necessarily a strong suit.
Fit and Comfort
Out of the box, the Freerider Pro has an easy-going and familiar feel. This shoe is true to size for length and has a medium volume fit from the heel through the mid-section. We found that fit increases to a roomier toe box from the ball of the foot forward. The toe box is roomy but isn't sloppy. Riders with low-volume feet may find the forefoot to be too spacious.
A quick glance at this shoe and it appears a little more sleek and streamlined than some of the other skate-inspired shoes in our review. While it appears minimal to the naked eye, the Freerider Pro is padded in all the right places, although not the most padded or protective shoe we tested. The toebox and heel are reinforced, plus it also features a Poron foam lining of the toe for extra protection from impacts. Poron foam is the same type found in other protective gear, like elbow and knee pads, that hardens on impact. The tongue is comfortable on top of the foot and is quite wide, with a medium amount of padding.
The synthetic upper has a tough and durable feel. The material is stiff and structured but feels a little thinner than some of the beefier shoes we tested. After a few rides, it begins to break in and conform nicely to the feet. This material effectively repels water and mud. We rode this shoe on fat bike rides, trail rides, and some freeride endeavors. Our feet stayed mostly dry and happy throughout.
It should be noted that this shoe offers a very comfortable feel on the pedals. The Stealth S1 rubber seems to have some damping properties that some of the harder compounds lack. When combined with the EVA midsole, these shoes effectively helped mute some trail feedback and vibration, keeping our feet feeling fresh on long, rough descents.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
The Freerider Pro is one of the stiffer soled shoes in our review. This rigidity has several performance benefits including supreme power transfer. When you are putting the power down on the pedals, almost all of that energy reaches the pedal stroke. Other, softer shoes tend to flex under pedal loads which zaps energy. Stiffer soles are more efficient on long rides.
On long or rowdy descents, the stiff sole, paired with a quality rubber compound, provides an excellent feel on the pedals. The rigidity deadens the trail forces that reach the pedals and offer enough support to keep your feet, ankles, and legs feeling fresh. Even in the gut of the fastest and most chattery of rock gardens, our feet felt great in these shoes.
One thing to keep in mind is that a stiff sole often leads to a less-than-ideal walking experience. The stiffness of the sole feels a little more unnatural off the bike compared to a shoe with a more natural flex through the toe. If you find yourself off the bike a fair bit either bushwhacking, removing trail hazards, or hiking steep lines, the Freerider Pro doesn't offer the best walking feel.
The Freerider Pro shoes offer decent levels of breathability, although these aren't the most airy shoes in our review by any stretch. The synthetic upper material seems to place an emphasis on durability over airflow. The top of the toe box has a generous amount of small perforations above the forefoot, but that's about all the ventilating features these shoes have. While they are far from breezy, they aren't oppressively hot either, and the synthetic material used in their construction seem dry quickly after getting splashed with water or soaked with sweat..
We've ridden the Freerider Pro in a huge range of temperatures, from 20-degree fat bike rides to 85-degree rides in the Nevada high desert, and they have served us well in most situations. If you frequently ride in truly hot temperatures and ventilation is high on your priority list, this might not be your shoe. That said, we feel this shoe's many positive attributes outweigh its average breathability and it's a tradeoff we'd typically be willing to make.
The Freerider Pro is a bit of a double-edged sword in terms of durability. On one hand, the quality of the materials and craftsmanship is apparent. The synthetic uppers are barely even scuffed, the stitching is still intact, and there is no separation between the uppers and the sole of the shoe. They certainly don't look like they've been ridden hard for several weeks.
On the other hand, given the soft and tacky Stealth rubber compound, we have observed slightly more wear on the tread of the sole compared to most of the competition. To be clear, we are talking about very small amounts of wear, but the tread is showing more wear than other shoes with firmer rubber soles. We have no doubt these shoes can last a few seasons, but there is a tread-wear tradeoff to be made for their excellent grip.
Our size 11 Freerider Pro shoes hit the scales and came in at an average of 399-grams, or 14.1-ounces, per shoe. That puts them on the lighter end of the weight spectrum in our test class. They feel light on the feet, which is particularly noticeable a couple of hours into a long ride.
We don't view weight as the most important metric in this review. We value grip, comfort, and rigidity as more important characteristics than a few grams here and there. That being said, the fact that the Freerider Pro has excellent levels of grip, power transfer, and it's light…well, that's just an added bonus.
The Freerider Pro is among the most expensive shoes in our review, and we feel they are worth every penny. With this shoe, we believe you get what you pay for, and in this case, it's an incredibly versatile shoe with excellent grip, power transfer, and comfort. Sure, some of the less expensive shoes offer stellar performance, but the Freerider Pro's are the best-of-the-best and can justify a slightly higher price tag.
The Five Ten Freerider Pro took home top honors in our flat pedal mountain bike shoe test. These versatile shoes should work wonderfully for a huge number of riders and most disciplines. What really makes the Freerider Pro stand out from the competition is the dialed Stealth S1 rubber that delivers unrivaled levels of pedal grip and traction. Additionally, these shoes provide excellent power transfer thanks to the stiff sole along with a comfortable fit.
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