Five Ten’s new Freerider ELC flat pedal-designated mountain bike shoes are designed for all-mountain riding, which includes enduro and DH riding styles. Beefy, and solidly constructed, these shoes provide a reasonable amount of stiffness from a one-piece molded cup-sole that aids power transference from muscles to the pedal/spindle system, which rockets you over and thru rough mountain trails. I am a size 9.5, medium width feet, and the shoes fit perfectly without extraneous toe space, yet not too snug against my toes. They feel plush, which is promoted via the padded collar, tongue, and foot-sole. I also like the cover strap that wraps over the shoelaces and is secured with industrial-grade, hook-n-loop Velcro. This thoughtful design protects your laces from the elements, but additionally, prevents those laces from untying and getting caught in your drivetrain.
The shoes are constructed from both leather and synthetic material that’s been coated with a polyurethane that helps shed water, and the mesh lining permits moisture to escape. Of worthy note is the inclusion of Five Ten’s proprietary Stealth® Phantom non-marking rubber compound that was designed for military use given its superior traction/friction properties. Sticky isn’t a good adjective for this compound as it’s more like a tenacious adhesive. I’ve experienced several instances wherein I was attempting to re-position my feet on the pedals and my feet, momentarily, wouldn’t budge. Déjà vu, it was like wearing cleated shoes again. The rubber clamps on and around the pedal’s pegs like an octopus’s tentacles surrounding its prey. No chance of slippage with this rubber. No wonder Five Ten’s line of mountain bike shoes is highly recommended.
My size 9.5 shoes weighed in at 16.94 oz for the left shoe, and 17.13 oz for the right shoe. Initially, I was concerned how they would perform in the desert heat, given their weight and generous lining, but my concerns were unfounded. My feet didn’t feel burdened by the weight and the late summer 105°F average temperature had no impact on my bodily temperature. Plus, I was mountain riding, not desert flatlands-types of terrain.
The ELC’s have a Shore A hardness of 65. Shore hardness, in general, refers to the measure of resistance some material has when it’s subjected to indentation/deformation under a given load, which is incorrectly termed as hardness. Shore A refers to a scale that measures the indentation/deformation of flexible molded rubbers, and some plastics, and is misused to convey the rubber’s softness versus hardness and related flexibility versus inflexibility. At 65, the ELC’s are nearly as “hard” as automotive tire rubber, yet are classified between medium soft to medium hard. Despite the misuse of technical jargon, the common misappropriation of deformation to indicate hardness is useful for mountain bikers whose primary concern relative to out-soles is either they stick or they don’t, degree of stiffness, and how long will they last.
The Five Ten Freerider ELC is limited to two color choices, either psychedelic red/blue or psychedelic yellow. I went with the red/blue color scheme as it matched my Mojo 3’s black and blue theme. Pop some Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison or Procol Harum thru your earbuds, and trip-on down the trail. But avoid succumbing to the psychedelic frenzy lest you hallucinate the saguaro cacti as cuddly buddies wanting to hug you with their long arms. Like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, which when tapped, whisked her back to Kansas, tapping the ELC’s will likely teleport you onto your favorite trail, which isn’t bad at all.