Five Ten Trailcross Clip-in Review
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Five Ten Trailcross Clip-in
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|Pros||On and off bike performance, comfortable, well-ventilated||Durable construction, comfortable, great traction and walkability||Lightweight, reasonable price, good power transfer, comfortable||Lightweight, reasonable price, casual style, great blend of pedaling stiffness and walkability||Inexpensive, comfortable, great off the bike|
|Cons||Minimal protection, running shoe styling||Heavy, no ankle protection||Minimal foot protection, not great for walking, smaller cleat adjustment range||Roomy fit in the forefoot, not the best lateral stability||Minimal protection, limited cleat adjustment, below average power transfer|
|Bottom Line||A light-duty trail shoe with decent power transfer and ventilation to spare||A beefy and rugged shoe that should stand up to multiple seasons of abuse||A quality shoe that offers high-end cross-country performance at a reasonable price||An affordable, lightweight, casual-looking trail riding shoe with good power transfer and off the bike walkability||A well-rounded, budget-friendly option that's just as comfortable off the bike as it is on|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Trailcross...||Ride Concepts Talla...||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Power Transfer (20%)|
|Traction Walkability (25%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Trailcross...||Ride Concepts Talla...||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Closure||Laces plus velcro strap||Laces plus velcro strap||Boa iP-1 dial, plus velcro strap||Laces||Laces|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||436 grams||539 grams||359 grams||375 grams||452 grams|
|Upper Material||Textile with abrasion resistant overlays||Bonded Cordura mech with TPU toe and heel protection||Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D Airmesh||Synthetic Leather and Textile||Synchwire on-piece composite|
|Footbed||Not specified||D30 High Impact Insole||ErgoLogic||Specialized Body Geometry||Die-cut EVA|
|Midsole||EVA midsole||RC Powerdrive Nylon Shank||Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite||Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate||Injected nylon shank|
|Outsole||Stealth Marathon||Clip Grip||StickiRubber||SlipNot FG||Rubber outsole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Once a niche climbing and mountain biking shoe brand, Five Ten was purchased by Adidas just over a decade ago. Since then, the core models have stayed true to Five Ten's style and quality, but we're starting to see more and more of the Adidas styling and branding creep into the lineup. The Trailcross Clip-in is a prime example, with a design that reminds us more of an early-2000s trainer than the old bombproof Five Ten Hellcats. This isn't to say that we didn't like the Trailcross—it's actually a great shoe—it just took us a little while to get used to the style. At times we wondered if these shoes might feel more at home in a spin class than smashing through rock gardens. Regardless, if you appreciate the style these shoes have a lot to offer.
The product page for the Trailcross Clip-In makes no mention of the kind of nylon or carbon sole insert that we typically expect to find in a mountain bike shoe, so we were a little bit wary of how they would feel pedaling when we first ordered them. Once we got out on the trails though, we were surprised with their relatively snappy and stiff feel on the pedals. The EVA midsole provides ample stiffness to create a solid pedaling platform to stand on. Grinding up long climbs reveals minimal flex, and it's only when you really get up and stomp on the pedals that you can feel some give. These wouldn't be our first choice for any kind of racing situation, but as an everyday trail shoe they get the job done with aplomb.
While the sole performs well, we found that the light-duty upper left something to be desired when laying down the power. On steep, punchy pitches of trail that require both pushing down and pulling up on the pedals the upper seems to stretch slightly and sap some of your upward-pulling power. It was pretty rare that we got ourselves into a situation where we felt this phenomenon, but regardless it isn't ideal.
Like you would expect from any pair of trainers worth their salt, the Trailcross Clip-In is a comfortable shoe. The flexible upper forms well to your foot as you dial in the fit with the laces, and the EVA midsole helps to soak up trail chatter to keep your foot from fatiguing over time. The heel cup and tongue don't have as much padding as some of the most comfortable shoes we tested. The fit is a little bit on the narrow side of things, but our wide-footed tester didn't have any issues with it after some lace tension adjustment.
The cleat box offers an average amount of adjustability when setting up your cleats. We tend to run our cleats in a fairly average location, so we didn't have any issues. Riders that prefer to set up their cleats on either extreme—far forward or far back—might not be able to set these up to their preference, however.
Traction and Walkability
Off the bike is where the Trailcross Clip-In really shines. It wouldn't be our first choice for traversing rugged terrain, but for your average hike-a-bike, a walk down to the creek, or a trip to the brewery after your ride, this is one of the best shoes that we tested. The fact that it's a cycling shoe is barely apparent when you're walking up the trail. The toe box provides plenty of flex for a natural gait, and our SPD cleats were recessed enough in the outsole to avoid that pesky clicking sound with every step. With the hook-and-loop strap properly tightened we didn't experience any heel lift when walking up steep inclines. During testing we even tried out some light jogging in these shoes just to feel how they compared to a pair of trail running shoes. We definitely wouldn't want to run multiple miles in them, but for a few hundred feet of jogging we were happy.
The middle of the sole and around the cleat box features the Five Ten's typical raised dots with broader and slightly taller lugs at the toes and heel for added traction when walking up or down hill. The sole isn't the most aggressively lugged, but the Five Ten Stealth rubber provides great traction in almost all conditions from dry and dusty to wet and sloppy. We wouldn't want to traverse any steep, muddy inclines in these, but they're great for just about anything else.
We clocked our test pair of size-11 Trailcross Clip-In's at 436-grams per shoe when we pulled out our trusty kitchen scale, which places them right around the average of the shoes in our test. They're slightly lighter than most heavy-duty all-mountain models and slightly heavier than most cross country models. This is right around where we would expect a shoe like the Trailcross to fall. They don't have the same protective features as the more heavy-duty shoes, and they have more creature comforts than the bare-bones, ultra-light cross country models.
Like most Five Ten products, the Trailcross Clip-In is a well-built package that shouldn't fall apart on you without some abuse. We do worry about how light-duty mountain bike shoes like this hold up over the long haul though. When we put our test pair through the wringer over the course of a month they came out the other side looking a little bit worse for wear. Mountain bike shoes are typically subjected to mud, water, dust, and heavy forces along with frequent abrasion against rocks and trailside obstacles. The Trailcross has some light reinforcement in key areas and reinforcement in the toe box, but on the whole, the breathable mesh-like upper is fairly thin and prone to wear and tear.
With a price in the same ballpark as many of our favorite trail and all-mountain models, we think that there are better values out there than the Trailcross Clip-In. They're slightly better off the bike and more breathable than the average all-mountain shoe, but they lack the same foot protection, durability, and power transfer.
Despite our reservations, we found a lot to like when testing the Trailcross Clip-In. With all-day comfort, excellent breathability, and great walkability, they're a versatile option that may suit adventure riders in warm environments well.
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