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Five Ten Hellcat - Women's Review

This shoe offers a shock-absorbing sole and breathable uppers that deliver exceptional comfort, even when on technical hike-a-bike sections
Five Ten Hellcat - Women's
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, stiff, good power transfer, large cleat opening
Cons:  Not waterproof, velcro strap too long
Manufacturer:   Adidas Five Ten
By Tara Reddinger-Adams ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 14, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Walkability - 25% 9
  • Stability and Control - 20% 7
  • Protection - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Five Ten Hellcat Women's pairs comfort and performance at modest price. Our testers are impressed by the stiffness and power transfer that the shoe's three-quarter dual-density TPU shank and EVA midsole provide, which performs similarly to more expensive carbon-soled shoes we tested. The Hellcat's EVA midsole and EVA foam footbed provide excellent shock absorption, soaking up impacts and trail chatter before reaching our feet, making the Hellcat an excellent choice for riders who are looking for an all-around clipless shoe and those who enjoy technical trails, jumps, and drops. Rounding out the Hellcat are breathable uppers, reinforced eyelets, and multiple impact protection zones, features typically found in more expensive shoes.

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Pros Comfortable, stiff, good power transfer, large cleat openingComfortable fit, large cleat opening, good power transfer, excellent trail absorptionLightweight, good power transfer, easy to walk inComfortable, excellent protection, excellent power transfer, easy to clip in and out of, great for hike-a-bikeLightweight, very good power transfer, breathable
Cons Not waterproof, velcro strap too longLacks breathability, expensiveNot the best lateral stabilityHeavy, not waterproofLacking side protection on the mid-foot
Bottom Line This shoe offers a shock-absorbing sole and breathable uppers that deliver exceptional comfort, even when on technical hike-a-bike sectionsThis comfortable shoe impressed our testers with its fit, trail absorption, and power transfer and is a great match for short trail rides and all-day epics alikeThis unassuming shoe combines on and off the bike performance with good power transfer and walking comfort at a relatively reasonable price tagA high-performing shoe that offers comfort paired with excellent stability, protection, and walkabilityA solid performing shoe packed with features typically reserved for shoes with a much higher price tag
Rating Categories Five Ten Hellcat -... Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Traverse Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Walkability (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Stability And Control (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Protection (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
6.0
9.0
3.0
7.0
Specs Five Ten Hellcat -... Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Traverse Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Measured Weight (g) 437g 379g 322g 450g 351g
Outsole Stealth C4 rubber Match MC1 SlipNot FG DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber Sticki rubber
Closure Laces/Velcro Boa, Velcro strap Laces Laces/Velcro Boa, Velcro strap
Upper Material Synthetic weather-resistant micro-perforated, EVA Synthetic synthetic leather Synthetic & D30 Microfiber, 3D nylon air mesh
Footbed EVA Foam not specified Body Geometry EVA Foam ErgoLogic
Sole Three-quarter dual-density TPU shank, EVA midsole EVA midsole Soft Lollipop Nylon Composite Plate D30 High Impact Insole Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
Size Tested EU 40 2/3 / US 8.5 US 7 EU 39.5 / US 8.5 EU 39.5 / US 8.5 EU 39

Our Analysis and Test Results

Five Ten has long been known for making quality mountain bike shoes and the Hellcat Women's is no exception. Our testers found the Five Ten Hellcat to not only perform well in a variety of conditions, but to also be packed with features typically found in more expensive shoes, such as a gusseted tongue and reinforced eyelets. The Hellcats feature Five Ten's Stealth C4 rubber sole, which our testers appreciate on hike-a-bikes involving slabs and rocks, where the shoes' soles cling to the rock. The three-quarter dual-density TPU shank and EVA midsole provide exceptional power transfer, shock absorption, stiffness, and control over the pedals. We were able to easily and comfortably push, pull, drop and jump in these shoes, making them a great choice for an all-around shoe.

Performance Comparison


Photo: Chris Lindemann

Stability and Control


The first time we wore the Hellcats, we were incredibly impressed with the shoe's stiffness and our ability to transfer power into our pedals. Our testers feel the Hellcats' power transfer is more on par with more expensive shoes featuring a carbon sole.


The Hellcat features a 1 ⅜" cleat opening, making it one of the larger openings of all the shoes we tested. This not only allows us to place the cleat in our ideal position, but it also makes clipping in and out much easier in comparison to shoes whose cleat opening is only 1" in size.

Lots of fore/aft adjustment with a 1 3/8" opening.
Lots of fore/aft adjustment with a 1 3/8" opening.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The other benefit of the larger cleat opening is the increased ability to stand and apply pressure into the pedals. In shoes where the cleat is more forward, we had to be more conscious about dropping our heel to maintain a neutral position on the pedals, as our foot wanted to rotate forward due to the cleat placement. With the larger cleat opening on the Hellcat, it is easier to maintain a neutral position on the pedals because the cleat is closer to our midfoot.

We found our foot position to be more toe down in the shoe on the...
We found our foot position to be more toe down in the shoe on the left in comparison to the shoe on the right, due to less fore/aft cleat adjustment.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The Hellcat's stiffness comes from a three-quarter dual-density TPU shank and EVA midsole making it not only stiff but also provides excellent shock absorption. Where some shoes lack a shock-absorbing footbed or midsole, the Hellcat soaks up impacts and trail chatter before it reaches our feet. Our testers find this property to be especially important when riding more technical terrain, dropping or jumping, as a lack of impact protection can send these forces into our feet causing discomfort.

The three-quarter dual-density TPU shank and EVA midsole really...
The three-quarter dual-density TPU shank and EVA midsole really helped to soak up all impact fro drops and jumps.
Photo: Chris Lindemann

Comfort


The Five Ten Hellcat Women's are comfortable right out of the box and remained so throughout testing. The Hellcat uses laces with velcro closure, allowing the rider to lace the shoe as snug or as loose as you like. An elastic retainer is sewn into the tongue, allowing you to tuck your laces away and prevent them from ending up in your chain. This feature is quite handy and is not found on all the lace-up models we tested.


Photo: Isaac Laredo

Unlike other shoes we tested, we found no pressure points with the Hellcat, and we never experienced issues with rubbing, hot spots, or other uncomfortable points on our feet, earning it high marks for comfort. At times find the velcro closure hit the front of our ankle; and although it does not cause much discomfort, it is a mild annoyance, and we wish it was a few millimeters closer to the forefoot to prevent it from hitting the ankle. The velcro strap is too long for the shoe's size and hangs out from the side of the shoe with nothing to attach to.

The uppers of the Hellcat are a weather-resistant, micro-perforated synthetic material. We wore the Hellcats in a variety of temperatures, ranging from 25 degrees to over 80 degrees, and found them to breathe fairly well, although not as well as models we tested due to the reinforced impact protection areas. On a four-hour ride in temps between 25 and 35 degrees, we were pleasantly surprised at how warm the Hellcat's kept our feet.

We were surprised at how well these shoes performed in 25 degree...
We were surprised at how well these shoes performed in 25 degree temps, we never had issues with our feet being cold.
Photo: Byron Adams

The eyelets found on the Hellcat's uppers are also reinforced, making the shoe easier to lace and also adding to the shoe's durability. Unlike other shoes we tested, that do not have reinforced eyelets, this small addition makes a big difference in lacing the shoe, as eyelets allow us to easily push the string through.

Laces are kept nice and tidy thanks to an integrated elastic...
Laces are kept nice and tidy thanks to an integrated elastic retainer in the tongue and reinforced uppers protect your feet.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Walkability


Our testers enjoy the grip that the Hellcat's Stealth C4 rubber provides on rocks and slabs, making it one of our top-performing shoes in this category. Unlike other shoes whose soles cake with mud or slip on rocks, we never experienced any issues that detract from our ability to walk and hike in the Hellcats comfortably.


The sole of the Hellcat is quite stiff, especially when you try to flex it in your hand, but once on your foot provides appropriate flex behind the toe making it quite comfortable to walk in. The Stealth C4 rubber outsole is the same rubber Five Ten uses in their rock climbing shoes and provides exceptional grip on rock surfaces ranging from baby heads to slabs. Our testers liked the stickiness for hike-a-bikes over large rock slabs in the desert where scrambling is involved and where we could smear our foot on the rock without fear of losing grip.

The Stealth C4 rubber provided excellent grip and traction along...
The Stealth C4 rubber provided excellent grip and traction along with ud shedding properties for hike-a-bikes.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The Hellcat's outsole is made from climbing rubber and we expected it to perform well on rock, but not necessarily in the mud, however, the rubber sole shed mud and resisted caking.

Protection


The Hellcats provide impact protection not only in the midsole and footbed but also in the shoe's uppers which are constructed of weather-resistant, micro-perforated synthetic material. From heel to toe, there are reinforced areas where the foot is most vulnerable, such as the ball of the foot and toe box. During testing in Colorado, we had a few rocks from the trail kick up and hit our feet, but we never felt their impact, nor did we experience any bruising to our foot from the impact.


Advertised as having a weather-resistant upper, we were surprised when water easily entered through the shoe's upper when riding through a puddle, leaving our sock wet. It is because of this that the Hellcat scored as it did in this metric, as other shoes we tested offered better protection against water.

We found this shoe to offer plenty of protection against rocks and...
We found this shoe to offer plenty of protection against rocks and other trail debris.
Photo: Byron Adams

The Hellcat is the only shoe we tested with a gusseted tongue, which is a nice feature as it helps to keep dirt and debris out of the shoe. Despite the shoes being dirty and dusty on the outside, our socks stayed nice and clean. The Hellcat's protection and gusseted tongue are two features that helped it to earn its accolades for comfort.

We were amazed at how well the gusseted tongue kepp the dust and...
We were amazed at how well the gusseted tongue kepp the dust and dirt out of our shoe.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Weight


A pair of 8.5US women's Hellcats weighs in at 437-grams, making it one of the heavier shoes we tested; thus a lower score in this metric and it does weigh more than shoes with similar impact protection.


The Five Ten Hellcat women's weighs 437 grams for a women's US8.5
The Five Ten Hellcat women's weighs 437 grams for a women's US8.5
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Value


The Hellcats not only performed well in all conditions, but also have design features such as reinforced eyelets, a gusseted tongue, and elastic lace retainer, that are not found on other shoes of a similar price. The stability and control offered by the Hellcats are on par with or better than some of the more expensive shoes we tested.

Conclusion


The Five Ten Hellcat Women's earns high marks due to its outstanding performance and comfort. The Hellcat consistently performs well in a variety of conditions and our testers feel its stiffness and impact absorption to be on par or better than some of the more expensive shoes we tested. We also appreciate the small details, such as reinforced eyelets and a gusseted tongue, which help set it apart, although we do wish it had a more waterproof upper.

A great all day shoe that you never have to think about.
A great all day shoe that you never have to think about.
Photo: Chris Lindemann

Tara Reddinger-Adams