Since we tested this all-around shoe, Five Ten has released an updated model with some tweaks. The midsole has been changed, the heel cup is slightly more contoured, and the shoe now uses some canvas in addition to the suede on the upper. The aesthetics are different, too. The model we tested is shown first, followed by the updated Sleuth.
We're linking to the latest version, but be aware the review below is in reference to the model we tested previously.
Hands-On Review of the Sleuth
The Sleuth is designed for multisport functionality. After testing the shoes in a variety of settings, they live up to that expectation. Even though the Sleuth has a more casual appearance, it packs more riding-focused features like an EVA midsole and dotty Marathon sole. While most mountain bike flat shoes have a more aggressive and beefy appearance, Five Ten says the Sleuth is the "lowest profile in our product line" and just a quick glance reveals this mission is accomplished.
The Sleuth is a flat shoe with a grippy sole and good sensitivity.
Although there are other sticky rubber options out there, Five Ten's rubber options are still the standard by which all others are measured. As you might expect with the nature of this shoe, along with the less aggressive style, the grip of the Stealth is less aggressive than other soles in Five Ten's lineup. With that being said, the Marathon™ non-marking outsole with Micro-Dotty™ tread does a respectable job with both pedal grip and off-the-bike traction. Even though the Sleuth has street shoe style, our test riders felt way more confident on and off the bike in these kicks than in a regular skate shoe.
Another benefit from the Marathon™ sole for riders who wear their shoes throughout the work or school day is in the non-marking nature of the rubber. There's no need to worry about leaving ugly black streaks on the floor in the office, classroom, or store!
Pushing the shoe's downhill abilities on a Tahoe test piece trail
With the casual nature of the Five Ten Sleuth, we anticipated out of the box comfort and the Sleuth lived up to expectations initially. One key component in foot comfort while riding is the crucial middle layer and the Sleuth addresses this with a die-cut EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole. The shoe's midsole did provide some protection from pedal pressure on our feet for short rides, but on longer and rockier rides, we could feel increasing pressure on the bottoms of our feet. This seemed like a combination of the midsole and the fixed insole, which is pretty soft when compared with other shoes. That nice soft and plush feel felt great at first, but turned out to be a bit fatiguing on harder rides. The low profile, while looking good, did cause some pressure on the tops of some of our test riders' toes, especially those with "blockier" toes. We found the Sleuth to provide an adequate level of comfort for casual use and riding short to medium distances.
Non-marking soles make these shoes safe to wear anywhere.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
As you'd likely expect, the Sleuth provides a so-so level of rigidity and transfer of power to the pedals with its less technical nature. While the Sleuth provides great off the bike walking comfort, that doesn't necessarily help in the rigidity department. With the die-cut EVA midsole, the construction of the shoe provides a better connection between the rider and pedals than the average street or skate shoe. If you're looking for a less burly shoe with better efficiency, check out some of the more typical shoes in our review. We felt the Sleuth lives up to the expectations of a casual shoe that still rides well enough for shorter rides.
Testing the Sleuth's climbing ability on some Sierra granite trails
12.0 oz (340 gm)
This shoe has an actual weight of 13 ounces for a men's size 9
The most crucial part of a shoe's breathability is in the materials a shoe is made with. A shoe with a more porous upper material will breathe better while a less porous upper provides less breathability while increasing wind and water resistance. The Sleuth is manufactured with a suede leather upper which provides good breathability for more moderate riding but is less breathable than other shoes with more synthetic and highly breathable uppers. For the shoe's intended uses like casual everyday use, bike commuting, easy riding, riding laps in the park, etc., the Sleuth delivers an ample amount of breathability. We found the breathability was actually pretty good even on longer rides when the weather was cooler.
The Sleuth in some "pedally" high alpine terrain
The overall durability of the Sleuth seems good if the shoes are primarily kept in their intended environment, like riding easy trails, around town, and casual use. We found after a couple of more punishing rides that things like rock scuffs were more noticeable on the Sleuth than the other shoes we've reviewed. The suede uppers showed some wear after riding a few times in rough Sierra Nevada granite. Keeping the uppers waterproofed will also help riders who use the Sleuth in wetter environments. The laces provided with the shoes are pretty thin and felt pretty fragile. Not surprisingly, our test Sleuth's laces began to fray after just a couple of rides. Shoelaces are a pretty minor complaint, and you can easily swap the included laces for a more durable option. While it wasn't a problem during testing, we also wonder how the longevity of the permanently attached insoles will pan out. Unfortunately, the insoles are there for the life of the shoe. With that said, we found the Micro-Dotty Marathon soles held up as well as Five Ten's other sole options and they only showed minor wear after our test rides were all wrapped up.
Durability should be good if you keep the Sleuth in its happy place
With a relatively low price tag, the Sleuth is a great value in an all-around mountain bike shoe. We've even found them on sale for even less! For a shoe with so many potential uses, we find the price to be downright reasonable.
Wheelie Master James giving the Sleuth a one wheeled workout
If you're looking for a shoe that does it all, look no further than the Five Ten Sleuth. The Sleuth is a shoe you can throw on in the morning, ride to work, leave 'em on throughout the workday, hit the bike park or an easy trail after, and even stop for a frosty beverage on the way home. This a casual quiver of one shoe!
The Sleuth put a smile on James' face