In this review, our customer Jason Martinez tells us about his new Five Ten Freerider Elements flat pedal shoes. The Freerider is a skate style shoe that performs on the trail but it is also a classic off of the bike. What makes the Freerider Elements different from other Freerider models is the DWR (durable water repellent) coating designed to keep the shoe and your feet dry in challenging conditions. Read more below.
My first trip on a mountain bike last year involved basic alloy pedals and my hiking shoes. The hiking shoes worked all right, as they have a decent grip, but the soles were still hard enough that I slipped off and cut up my legs a bit several times.
When I started my new bike build, I considered clipless pedals vs. flats. Since I’m new to cycling, the clipless didn’t appeal to me for one important reason; I worried about being able to get out of the pedals quickly. I know many people say it just takes practice, but those of you who’ve had a boot stuck in a stirrup when getting off a horse probably understand my fear. I also don’t plan to do an XC racing, so pedaling efficiency isn’t high on my list of priorities. I ended up with some great DMR Vault pedals.
The DMRs have a fantastic set of pins, but I noticed that the hiking shoes were getting uncomfortable on some of my long winter rides. When I started to look at flat pedal shoes, Five Ten reviews came up with consistently good quality and comfort. Sizing was a bit difficult since I have a just slightly-wider-than-normal foot, which can create a lot of discomfort in the toe box area. Thanks to a helpful chat agent form Worldwide Cyclery, I learned that the Five Ten Freeriders run a little wide, so I could order my normal size 9. The shoes fit perfectly out of the box, if a little stiff (I don’t mean the sole, obviously that’s meant to be stiff). No pressure in the toebox sides, and just a little extra room in the toe. I ended up ordering the Freerider Elements for the waterproofing; my bike is a year-round fat bike. To test them out, I took them up to the local cross-country trails open to fat bikes at Bogus Basin, ID.
These soles stuck to the pins on my pedals like glue. The Five Ten soles (branded as “Stealth”) are soft enough to provide plenty of friction, but not so soft that they tore on the pins or gravel in the parking lot. My feet didn’t shift unless I made a conscious effort to move them. I was able to test the waterproofing a bit by walking the bike through some deeper snow and a few puddles, and I had no noticeable leakage. I did find out the hard way that even with snowboarding socks on over my cycling socks, these are not shoes for winter. My feet were freezing by the end of the ride.
This is my first experience with Five Ten, but I’ve been happy so far. It also helps that these are designed more like a skate shoe, and I don’t feel like a doofus walking around in them. And despite the stiff sole, they are comfortable to walk in. If you don’t need the waterproofing (or live where it’s really hot), the standard Freerider would also be a good choice.
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