Back in September 2017 we picked up a pair of Five Ten Freerider Highs. All our riding group raves about the grip the sticky Five Ten rubber offers, so after the previous Sombrios gave up we thought we'd give these a go. We've had the shoes now for around 11 months, so this is a good long term review.
The Freeriders look like skateshoes, and have a similar wideish fit, with plenty of room around the toes to wiggle about. The hightop is supportive and offers a nice bit of extra protection against the cranks and bits of trail debris that can get thrown up. Unlike some other high tops, the Five Tens are nice and easy to get on and off, which is great after a cold wet ride mid winter when all you want to do is get into the warmth of the car.
Talking of wet weather, many people have complained that once soaked, Five Tens take an age to dry out and we did find this too. If the shoes get lightly damp then they seem to dry out fine, however if they get properly soaked then they need a good day or 2 in warm conditions to fully dry again.
Onto the performance on trail, and everything people say about the grip levels is true. We teamed the Freeriders up with DMR Vaults, which are also known for their tenacious grip levels and found that they offered fantastic traction. It's been said that it can be hard to reposition your feet withe the Stealth rubber, but we didn't find this an issue ourselves. The shoes are not particularly stiff, but offer good pedal feel and don't have that dead numb feeling that other shoes experience. We also found them to be comfortable, with no hot spots or cramping, in addition they are good for wearing casually off the bike.
The shoes have seen use in all weathers, on muddy DH tracks, to all day epics in the snow to pushing up tracks in the dust, and for the most part they have performed well.
A common complaint with Five Tens is that the sole can come delaminated from the main shoe, we didn't see this, but we did notice the stitching had worn near the ankle where the cranks rub against it. This could easily be fixed, and didn't affect the performance of the shoe at all.
However, after around 8 months we noticed that the sole had a small split in it. This slowly grew and spread across the side of the shoe where the outer pins sit on the pedals. Whilst this is fine in the summer, our concern is it will let water in over the winter very quickly stepping in puddles.
The sole used
It's always a balance between longevity and pedal feel with a flat pedal shoe, the Freerider Highs RRP at £95 and for that price 8 months use is unacceptable and we can happily say that they are another MTB disappointment.This is with 1 or 2 rides a week over the winter and 3 or 4 a week over the summer.
Overall, the Freeriders offer unparalleled grip and performance for flat pedal users, in a market which is sadly lacking in competition. If you are not fussed about lifespan, don't ride regularly or simply need maximum grip then the Five Tens are by far the best choice available right now.