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Five Ten Hellcat Pro Review

The Hellcat Pro is a gravity oriented shoe ideal for enduro, shuttle runs, DH, and bike park laps.
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Price:  $180 List | $179.90 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stealth rubber soles, stiff, great foot protection
Cons:  Heavy, wide, bulky
Manufacturer:   Five Ten
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 30, 2017
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Power Transfer - 30% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Traction Walkability - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Durability - 15% 10

The Skinny

The Hellcat Pro is a high-quality clipless mountain bike shoe designed by Five Ten to meet the demands of gravity oriented riders. The shoe is most at home riding chairlifts or shuttling for DH laps, but we found it to be versatile enough to spin laps in the bike park or take on shorter trail rides. Similar to other gravity or enduro oriented shoes we tested, such as the Specialized 2FO Cliplite, the Giro Terraduro and the Shimano ME7, the Hellcat Pro features a stiff nylon shank. The shank comes from the cleat mount area back to provide impressive transfer of power to the pedals, with flexibility forward through the toe to provide for ease and comfort while walking. As the heaviest and bulkiest shoe in the test, the Hellcat Pro will not be the first choice for most XC or all-mountain riders, but those with an affinity for pointing their bike down the hill will enjoy the power transfer, performance and protection this shoe has to offer.

2018 Color Updates
The Hellcat Pro is now available in a red/black combo, as shown above. The technical specs of the shoe remain the same.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Five Ten Hellcat Pro is designed as a gravity particular 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.

Performance Comparison


The Hellcat Pro is the only shoe in our test that you could swap between clipless and flat pedals.
The Hellcat Pro is the only shoe in our test that you could swap between clipless and flat pedals.

Comfort


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 Ten test pair we had fits true to size. 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 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 Belcro 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.

Weight


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. For comparison, the shoe most similar to the Hellcat Pro in our test and our Top Pick for enduro racing, the Specialized 2FO Cliplite, tips the scales at 426g(0.94 lbs) per shoe for our size 43.5 test pair. While 0.3 lbs doesn't sound like much, it is very noticeable on the feet, especially if you take the Hellcat Pro out for a long trail ride. 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 time.

At 565g per shoe in a size 10  the Hellcat Pro was the heaviest shoe in our test by a pretty big margin.
At 565g per shoe in a size 10, the Hellcat Pro was the heaviest shoe in our test by a pretty big margin.

Power Transfer


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.
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.

Traction Walkability


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. Similar to other gravity and enduro oriented shoes in our test selection like the Specialized 2FO Cliplite, Giro Terraduro and the Shimano ME7, 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 make 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.
Five Ten's full coverage dotty Stealth rubber outsole provided plenty of traction an virtually all surfaces.

Durability


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.
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.

Best Applications


Due to the weight of the Hellcat Pro it is best suited to its intended purpose of gravity oriented riding. This shoe excels when the bike is pointed down the hill with great power transfer, durability, walkability and impressive foot protection. Assuming you don't mind pushing the extra weight around, the Hellcat Pro is also a fine option for enduro racing and aggressive trail riding. This is not to say that it can't be used every day for any riding because it can, we just feel that there are much lighter weight options that offer equally good performance at roughly the same price. That said, the Hellcat Pro is a quality choice for gravity oriented riders who value foot protection or those who switch between clipless and flat pedals with the aftermarket Hellcat Plate Covers($10.00).

We don't claim to have any skill when it comes to jumping a bike in the bike park  but the Hellcat Pro can easily switch between clipless and flat pedals.
We don't claim to have any skill when it comes to jumping a bike in the bike park, but the Hellcat Pro can easily switch between clipless and flat pedals.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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, the Giro Terraduro 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.

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.
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.

Other Versions


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.


Jeremy Benson