The Five Ten Freerider Contact is a flat mountain bike shoe touted for its all-day riding performance. These shoes feature Five Ten's Stealth Mi6 rubber soles, which are softer and stickier than the brand's standard Stealth rubber. The grip those soles offer is unmatched by any other flat shoe tested. It's almost comparable to being clipped in. We were impressed with the performance of these shoes on a wide variety of trails. Their versatility earned them an Editors' Choice Award for best women's flat shoes tested. These shoes weren't the most comfortable we tested, but some minor modifications to customize the fit helped. Their soles also wear faster than the denser rubber on the Five Ten Freerider, and online reviews lambaste this shoe's durability. But we love their performance. If you're willing to wear through some flats for a "clipless-esque" feeling, these are the shoes for you.
Five Ten Freerider Contact - Women's Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Unbeatable grip, solid power transfer
Cons: Comfort, durable sole
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Freerider Contact handled long XC trail rides, bike park laps, downhill shuttles, and after work rides with ease. We are impressed by their power transfer, although they weren't quite as stiff as some of the clipless shoes we tested. Five Ten brags about the all-day performance of this shoe, and the stiff sole does help prevent foot fatigue. It did take took us a few rides before we broke them in enough to be comfortable for longer rides.
Power Transfer and Grip
The Freerider Contact was the stiffest contender out of all the women's flat pedal shoes we tested and provided solid power transfer. We lost very little energy in each pedal stroke. It rates highly.
Five Ten has long been known for its Stealth rubber, which the brand adapted from their line of climbing shoes. We are impressed by how well these shoes gripped the pedals. It's as close to riding clipless as we've ever felt in flat pedal shoes. The tread is a raised dot pattern, and there is a smooth area with no tread under the arch of the foot, which allows the rider to adjust foot position on the fly.
Comfort and Breathability
Of the shoes we tested, the Freeride Contact is not the most comfortable. Testers complained that the shoes made their toes fall asleep and lacked adequate arch support which led to cramping. We found that switching the footbed out for a stiffer version alleviated the discomfort.
The Freeride Contact features medium padding throughout with heavy padding around the heels and ankles, which provide excellent protection from rock strikes. The Stealth rubber soles also provide a dampening effect, smoothing out vibrations when speeding through rough sections of trail.
The combination synthetic mesh and textile upper breathes well but does not keep the feet dry in wet trail conditions. However, it dries fairly quickly.
Traction and Walkability
The grippy nature of Five Ten's Stealth rubber provided plenty of traction when it came off-bike exploring. These shoes clung to rocks, wet logs, and loose dirt like a dream. The lack of tread under the ball of the foot was a little slick in muddy conditions though.
These shoes fit more like an everyday sneaker. They are less stiff in the sole than most of the clipless shoes we tested, which made them well suited for hiking around the trails. We might even wear them to the grocery store after a ride, in a pinch.
The Mi6 Stealth rubber is softer than Five Ten's traditional Stealth rubber, and we had some durability concerns — especially as our test pair began to show pockmarks from the pedal pins. While the overall integrity of the sole didn't seem compromised, repetitive wear marks along your pin pattern decrease grip eventually. Since our test period was only a few months, this didn't become a major problem for us. But online comments confirm that they wear out relatively quickly. It took a knock in the ratings as a result.
The uppers, on the other hand, are fairly resistant to abrasion and wear even after hiking through sharp granite. After months of testing the uppers showed no signs of wear.
The Freerider Contact manages to be among the lightest women's flat shoes we tested without sacrificing protection or solid performance. Our test pair weighed in at 320g in a size 38, which was on par with the clipless and flat shoes we tested.
The Freerider Contact is a great flat pedal shoe for everyday trail riding. We are pleased with the stiffness and grip of these shoes, and after some minor modifications, we found them to be comfortable for a full day of riding. As the name implies, they are best suited to all-mountain and gravity inspiring riding. Those looking to do a lot of technical pedaling will likely prefer a lighter, clipless style shoe. However, we enjoyed plenty of miles pedaling on XC trails with no complaints.
At $150 these were the most expensive women's flat shoes that we tested. For the price, you get a high-performance shoe. However, we're a little dubious about their durability. If you're looking for Five Ten's signature Stealth grip in a more budget-friendly package we'd recommend looking at the Freerider ($100).
Grippy, stiff, and lightweight, The Freerider Contact earns our Top Pick for women's flat shoe. We pedaled this shoe through backyard laps, long xc rides, bike park laps, and even a quick trip to the grocery store and we were never disappointed by its performance. Though it was uncomfortable out of the box, we were able to fix the problem easily with a stiffer footbed.
We'd recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a solid all-mountain flat pedal shoe with an incredible grip that makes you feel like you're riding clipless.
Other Versions and Accessories
- The Freerider Contact also comes in purple and black for the same price.
- The Freerider Pro is a lighter, less bulky version of the Freerider Contact for $150. - The Freerider is a no-frills all-mountain shoe for $100.
— Jenn Sheridan