Five Ten Hellcat Pro Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Stealth rubber soles, excellent power transfer, significantly lighter than previous version, great toe and heel protection
Cons: No medial ankle protection, short break-in period
Manufacturer: Five Ten
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Five Ten Hellcat Pro
|Price||$179.00 at Amazon|
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|$119.73 at REI|
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|$149.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Stealth rubber soles, excellent power transfer, significantly lighter than previous version, great toe and heel protection||Lightweight, reasonable price, casual style, great blend of pedaling stiffness and walkability||Lugged Vibram sole, versatile fit, stiff but walkable||Super protective, comfortable fit, solid foot-pedal connection||Lightweight, reasonable price, good power transfer, comfortable|
|Cons||No medial ankle protection, short break-in period||Roomy fit in the forefoot, not the best lateral stability||Limited on-the-go adjustments||Heavy, not the best hiking traction||Minimal foot protection, not great for walking, smaller cleat adjustment range|
|Bottom Line||Awesome power transfer, foot protection, and off the bike traction with a mid-pack weight that expands this gravity shoe's appeal to trail riders||An affordable, lightweight, casual-looking trail riding shoe with good power transfer and off the bike walkability||The ultimate backcountry and adventure riding conqueror||This shoe provides gravity-oriented riders with ample foot protection in a durable, comfortable package||A quality shoe that offers high-end performance at a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Hellcat Pro||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Specialized Rime 2.0||Ride Concepts Men's...||Scott MTB Team Boa|
|Power Transfer (20%)|
|Traction Walkability (25%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Hellcat Pro||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Specialized Rime 2.0||Ride Concepts Men's...||Scott MTB Team Boa|
|Closure||Laces plus wide velcro strap||Laces||L6 Boa and Laces||Laces and Powerstrap||Boa iP-1 dial, plus velcro strap|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||452 grams||375 grams||419 grams||547 grams||359 grams|
|Size Tested||10 (44)||43.5||44.5||43.5||44|
|Upper Material||Synthetic with DWR||Synthetic Leather and Textile||XPEL Hydrophobic Mesh||Welded Microfiber Upper||Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D Airmesh|
|Footbed||Five Ten padded foam||Specialized Body Geometry||Specialized Body Geometry||D30 High Impact Insole||ErgoLogic|
|Sole||3/4 length Dual-density TPU shank/Compression-molded EVA||Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate||Lollipop Nylon Composite||RC Powerdrive Nylon Shank||Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite|
|Outsole||Stealth Marathon||SlipNot FG||Vibram||Rubber Kinetics DST 8.0 Mid Grip Rubber||StickiRubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Five Ten recently updated their ever-popular Hellcat Pro clipless gravity shoe. The shoe still has excellent power transfer, great toe and heel protection, and full coverage Stealth rubber soles, but somehow they managed to shave roughly 100-grams of weight per shoe. This takes the Hellcat Pro from the heaviest shoe we tested to the middle of the pack in terms of weight, instantly broadening its appeal to a much wider range of riders. We spent weeks testing this redesigned shoe and came away very impressed.
The Hellcat Pro is no slouch when it comes to mashing on the pedals. Gravity races are often won and lost by fractions of a second, and this shoe intends to provide riders with every bit of their pedaling efforts. It's not XC race shoe stiff, but it isn't that far and off and is certainly the stiffest gravity shoe that we've tested.
The Hellcat Pro features a 3/4 length dual-density TPU shank that 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 slight flex in the forward part of the sole to improve walking performance with no impact on pedaling performance. Giving it the ol' in-hand flex test, the toe area was the only part of the shoe that we could flex. On the pedals, there is no discernable sole flex whatsoever. Additionally, the sole is very torsionally stiff which we found to improve the feeling of lateral control. The cleat pocket also allows for a large range of fore/aft cleat placement, so you can dial them in to your preferences, even if that's slammed way back.
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. They feel a little stiff and clunky when you first try them on, and we found there to be a short break-in period of a couple rides before they started to conform to our feet. The overall fit of the shoe is quite comfortable, we found them to be true to size with a medium volume. We feel the width will probably work well for feet ranging from slim to just slightly above average, but those with wider feet will probably find these to be a bit narrow. Unlike the previous version, the shoe is a bit more streamlined with minimal padding around the forefoot, tongue, and ankle cuff. The footbed is a firmer foam that is a few millimeters thick that conforms to your foot over time. We found the footbed to cradle the arch and heel nicely and complement the deep molded heel pocket of the shoe.
The Hellcat Pro is secured 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 velcro strap works well to really lock the heel down, and we experienced no heel lift when riding or walking. The sole also has a compression-molded EVA midsole for increased durability and shock absorption. This shoe also offers quite a bit of foot protection in the form of a reinforced toe box and heel pocket. These shoes have a burly and protective feel that adds a level of confidence and comfort when blasting through loose, chunky rock gardens. Unlike some gravity shoes, however, they don't offer any protection for the medial ankle.
The Hellcat Pro is ventilated by two rows of small holes across the top of the toe box, a large mesh panel on the lateral mid-foot, and a mesh tongue that is padded with perforated foam. The ventilation is a big improvement over the previous version which was super hot and clammy on the feet. They still aren't the airiest shoes around, but they breathe relatively well for such a heavy-hitting, protective model.
Traction and Walkability
The Hellcat Pro is clad with their Stealth Marathon Dotty outsole. Stealth rubber is known far and wide for being super grippy, and the sole of the Hellcat Pro is just that. The wide outsole is covered entirely with the grippy rubber, except for the cleat pocket, and provides excellent traction on hard surfaces. The Dotty tread design consists of raised dots, not lugs, and is relatively flat and therefore doesn't provide the best grip in especially muddy or slick conditions, or on smooth wet surfaces.
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 a little 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. They don't flex quite as easily as some other shoes, like the Specialized 2FO Roost, for example. You won't likely mistake them for a hiking shoe, but they do allow for a somewhat stiff but relatively normal gait.
Five Ten worked some serious magic when they redesigned the Hellcat Pro to shave a significant amount of weight. We were shocked when we weighed our size 10 test pair and the scale only read 452-grams (average per shoe). The previous version weighed 113-grams more per shoe in the same size! That difference is very significant, and while it might not matter much to most gravity riders, it certainly makes these shoes more appealing to the all-mountain and trail riding crowd, or anyone who pedals for their descents. These shoes still have outstanding power transfer and a burly, protective feel, but they don't feel like lead weights on your feet anymore.
The Hellcat Pro's are beasts of shoes and are probably more likely to break rocks than get damaged by them. They appear to be a well made and very durable product that can handle whatever you or the trail throw at them.
The synthetic uppers are stiff and tough, and ours show no signs of premature wear. The toe is protected by a thick rubber toe bumper that fully wraps around the front of the toe box and provides protection where the uppers, and your toes, need it most. The rest of the toe box and the entire heel pocket are wrapped in a rubberized material with abrasion-resistant panels in the high wear areas. The Stealth rubber soles show little signs of wear despite a fair amount of hike-a-bike on sharp granite rock. The lace eyelets are all reinforced, so those shouldn't give you any issues. The laces themselves and the velcro strap feel like the least durable aspects of the shoe, but laces are easily replaced should they ever fail.
We feel the Hellcat Pro is a good value. They aren't exactly cheap, but they are priced competitively with similar shoes. Considering their awesome power transfer, foot protection, reduced weight, and durable construction, we feel they are a good investment that will likely last for several seasons of hard riding.
The redesigned Hellcat Pro is a gravity-oriented shoe that combines excellent power transfer, all-day comfort, foot protection, and excellent durability. The reduction in weight places this shoe in the middle of the pack, expanding its appeal well beyond the gravity disciplines, making it a viable option for aggressive trail and all-mountain riders.
— Jeremy Benson