Finding a good clipless mountain bike shoe that is comfortable and works with your favorite pedals can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some things to consider when buying a new mountain bike shoe. What type of riding will you mostly be doing in these shoes? What kind of protection are you looking for in a shoe? Are you going to be hiking up trails at all while riding? Identifying these answers will make it easier to narrow down the perfect shoe for you! Over the last two seasons, I have mostly been riding in the Five Ten Maltese Falcon shoe. Here we will be talking about their performance, quality, feel and longevity.
The Maltese Falcon could be the most casual clipless shoe that Five Ten offers. They are comfortable enough to wear around town if you had to. The shoes tested here are the most recent version of the Maltese Falcon shoe, but has now been replaced by the Kestrel and Kestrel Lace shoes.
While some of the other Five Ten clipless shoes have tick marks around the bottom where the cleat sits, the Maltese Falcons do not. These would have been helpful in making sure the cleats were both in the same spot on each shoe. These grooves also would have hindered the cleat from pivoting when tightening it down. This is really only useful the first time you install cleats on a brand new pair of shoes. I have probably replaced my Crank Brothers cleats 3 or 4 times this year and it is easy enough now to get the cleats in the same exact spot each time.
One of the most important things about finding the right clipless shoe is how the shoe sits on the specific pedals you prefer. Currently I am using the Crank Brothers Mallet DH pedals and I was originally drawn to the Maltese Falcon because they use the harder of the stealth rubber compounds from Five Ten. I found that this harder rubber compound (still softer than most other clipless shoes available) allowed me to get clipped in and out of the pedals more predictably and without the shoe catching on the raised pedal pins.
The Maltese Falcons have a much more hiking friendly sole, making them very comfortable when pushing your bike up sections of trail. The shoes do conform around the pedal enough to get a good feeling of where the pedal is underneath your foot.
These particular shoes have lasted me longer than any other riding shoes I’ve had from Five Ten. No part of the sole has delaminated like some other Five Tens I have owned. The original stitching is all intact and these are still ready to go. They are definitely worn but I am still riding in the same pair after a year of abuse.
The trade off to the Maltese Falcons being softer than say the Kestrel shoe, is that they don’t provide as much protection for your foot. There is also minimal protection around the toe box, something I think would be a solid addition to these shoes. I haven’t had any injuries yet from a rock grabbing my foot while riding in the Maltese Falcons but weird things happen and it would be nice to have a little more protection.
Because the Maltese Falcons use a lot of soft and comfortable materials, they tend to soak up water like a sponge. There have been muddy days where I have washed the shoes with a pressure washer and spent what felt like two days trying to dry them. That’s nothing some newspaper or a hair dryer can’t fix!
The Five Ten Maltese Falcons aren’t the stiffest, lightest, or most protective mountain bike shoe out there but they are great for the rider looking to do a little bit of everything. From downhill, enduro, cross country, hiking up trails, and even trail building, the Maltese Falcon can handle it. If I was allowed only one pair of riding shoes, I would choose these. They are very versatile and have held up to a year’s worth of riding and getting thrashed. Next I want to try the new Five Ten Kestrel Lace!