The Five Ten Hellcat Pro is designed as a gravity specific shoe and its weight, bulk, and foot protection indicate that. While it is the most gravity oriented shoe in our test selection, we also found it to be suitable for laps around the local pump track and bike park or for any length of trail ride assuming you don't mind the extra weight. This shoe works well with a variety of pedals and is most at home on full platform clipless pedals such as the XPedo GFX. We also found them to work well with small platform pedals such as the Shimano Deore XT M8020, and also took them out for a couple of days on flat pedals at the bike park with no complaints. This shoe was used for all types of riding, from longer XC trail rides, short enduro laps, to full days pumping around the bike park.
The Hellcat Pro is the only shoe in our test that you could swap between clipless and flat pedals.
To our surprise, the Hellcat Pro was no slouch when it came to mashing on the pedals. The 3/4 length dual-density TPU shank is stiff as can be from the ball of the foot back, transferring all of your input directly into the pedals. The shank ends near the toe, allowing for some flex in the forward part of the sole to improve walking performance with no impact on the pedaling performance. Of course, this shoe isn't carbon fiber XC race sole stiff, nor is it light, but this contender is plenty stiff for most riders, no matter how hard you push on them. We were impressed by their stiffness, especially considering their gravity-oriented purpose.
We found the Hellcat Pro to be plenty stiff for the gravity oriented design of the shoe. The only loss of power with these shoes is from the weight.
There are many aspects to the comfort of a mountain bike shoe, and Five Ten hits the mark on many of them with the Hellcat Pro. First, the overall fit of the shoe is quite comfortable. The size 10 test pair we had fits maybe just a hair larger than other brands. The generous padding throughout the shoe, but especially that of the tongue and the upper ankle/heel pocket, feels soft and conforming to the feet straight out of the box. The footbed features a molded plastic heel cup and arch support that extends to the mid-foot overlaid with a soft foam that is bonded on top and runs full length. We found the footbed to cradle the arch and heel quite nicely and complement the deep molded heel pocket of the shoe.
The Hellcat Pro has a great footbed with a molded plastic heel cup and arch support.
The model is held on with traditional laces and a wide Velcro strap at the top of the tongue which we found to be more than adequate to get these shoes as tight as you want them. The sole also has a compression-molded EVA midsole for increased durability and helps absorb shock and impact. The Hellcat Pro offers more in the way of foot protection than any other shoe in our test selection. That adds a level of confidence and comfort when blasting through loose, chunky rock gardens. Where the Five Ten loses points for comfort is the ventilation, or lack thereof, the blocky fit around the forefoot and the weight.
The Hellcat Pro is ventilated by three small holes at the bottom of the tongue above the toe box and a mesh tongue that is padded with perforated foam. While the tongue ventilation seems like it should help heat or moisture to escape from the shoe, it is almost entirely covered by laces and the wide Velcro strap. The toe box is also quite roomy, and while that in and of itself isn't an issue, the issue is that under your toes and the balls of your feet the shoes have no contours, they just feel somewhat flat, hard and not exceptionally comfortable. There are no two ways about it; these shoes are bulky, and dragging that extra weight around all day does not make them any more comfortable.
The Hellcat Pro is clad with their Stealth C4 Dotty outsole. Stealth rubber is known far and wide for being soft and super grippy, and the sole of the Hellcat Pro is just that. The wide outsole is covered entirely with the sticky rubber, except for the cleat pocket, and provides the best traction of all soles in our test selection on hard surfaces. The Dotty tread design consists of raised dots, not lugs, and is relatively flat and therefore didn't provide the best grip in especially muddy or slick conditions.
The sole is not prone to holding onto mud, snow, or other debris, except around the cleat as with most other shoes. The Hellcat Pro has a stiff sole underfoot for pedaling power with flex through the toe for improved walkability. The 3/4 length dual density TPU shank ends under the ball of the foot, leaving the front of the shoe's sole flexible to facilitate walking. When combined with the tacky Stealth rubber sole, this makes it one of the best shoes in our test selection for traction and walkability.
Five Ten's full coverage dotty Stealth rubber outsole provided plenty of traction an virtually all surfaces.
Lightweight isn't a word that anyone would use to describe the Hellcat Pro, and most riders who would buy this shoe could probably care less. Designed with gravity riding in mind, the Hellcat Pro has wide, full-coverage rubber soles and more padding and foot protection than any other shoe in our test selection. They weigh in at 565g(1.25 lbs) per shoe for our size 10 test shoe. Gravity riders won't notice or care too much about the weight. Sure the soles are stiff, and power transfer is excellent, but it feels a bit like you have bricks on your feet and they sap your energy over the course of a long trail ride.
At 565g per shoe in a size 10, the Hellcat Pro was the heaviest shoe in our test by a pretty big margin.
The Hellcat Pro's are beasts of shoes and are probably more likely to break rocks than get damaged by them. The synthetic uppers are stiff and tough, and ours show absolutely zero signs of wear. The toe is protected by thick rubber rand that fully wraps around the toe box and provides protection where the uppers, and your toes, need it most. The rubber soles show little signs of wear except for the marks from the pins of the flat pedals we used while hitting the pump track and jumps at the local bike park. We could see the soft Stealth rubber of the soles potentially wearing through from clipless flats or if one were prone to walking in them a lot, but it seems like that would take a couple of seasons at least. Overall, the Hellcat Pro appears to be a well made and very durable shoe that can handle whatever you or the trail throw at them.
The only wear on our test pair of Hellcat Pro's is from the pins in our flat pedals after hitting the bike park for a couple days.
With a retail price of $180, the Hellcat Pro represents a good value for the right rider. This pair certainly isn't for everyone, but match this shoe to the applications, and the power transfer, durability, walkability, and impressive foot protection are hard to beat. Purchase a set of the Hellcat Plate Covers, and you've got yourself a shoe that can switch back and forth between clipless and flat pedals.
Its not likely that most people would take the Hellcat Pro out for long trail rides, but you certainly could. It's a quality mountain bike shoe in a heavy package.
The gravity-oriented Hellcat Pro is a bit of an outlier in our test selection. The heaviest and bulkiest shoe we tested did surprise us with its versatility and pedaling performance. The weight, however, makes it an unlikely candidate for our everyday shoe. There are other similarly priced shoes in our test selection that offer similar features and performance at a much lighter weight, such as the Specialized 2FO Cliplite or the Shimano ME7. We highly recommend this shoe to anyone who shuttles, rides lifts, occasionally goes on shorter length trail rides, or people who switch between clipless and flat pedals, as the Hellcat Pro offers fantastic power transfer, durability, and uncompromising foot protection, albeit in a heavyweight package.
The Hellcat($150) is a slightly toned-down version of the Hellcat Pro. Hellcat Plate Covers ($10.00) cover the cleat pocket to allow for use with flat pedals.