Five Ten Freeriders have been around for many years in one form or another. Along with their chunkier stablemate, the Impact, Freeriders were one of the first models from the climbing shoe specialists to cause a stir amongst flat pedal mountain bikers.
With soles that provide fantastic pedal grip and feel, combined with casual looks and foot protection features, Freeriders are the most popular flat shoes around for good reason. The Pro model featured here costs a fair bit more than the standard Freeriders, but for our money, the added benefits are well worth the extra outlay and help to make the Freerider Pro one of the best flat pedal shoes on the market.
Five Ten Freerider Pro review: Design and aesthetics
In addition to their more practical features, part of the appeal of Five Ten Freeriders is their casual looks. Closer in resemblance to a beefed-up skate shoe than a typical riding clog, Freerider Pros do not look out of place if heading straight out on the town after a hard day’s riding – though you might want to scrub the mud off them first. Coming in a wide selection of colorways that are regularly updated, there are plenty of options should catwalk dahlings wish to coordinate them with the season's must-have riding wardrobe or bike.
As well as the standard and Pro models, the Freerider range also includes DLX versions which offer waterproofing and increased durability, EPS models for use in colder weather and the more casual Freerider Primeblue which contains recycled ocean plastics and other reclaimed materials. There are also plenty of female-specific Freeriders available too.
Five Ten Freerider Pro review: Specifications
Selected earlier Freerider incarnations used Five Ten’s grippiest Stealth Mi6 rubber (52a durometer for all you hardness measuring fans). At the time of writing, none of the riding shoes listed on Adidas’ (the corporate behemoth devoured Five Ten years ago) website use this premium compound. But while Stealth Mi6 offered unsurpassed levels of grip, feel and cushioning, a few months worth of riding would usually result in pedal pins completely shredding the soles. It could also be said that until you’d broken in (aka partially ripped) the Stealth Mi6 rubber sole, the grip was just too locked-in, making it hard to tweak your foot position while hooning down the trail
While we await official confirmation from Adidas, it seems likely that Stealth Mi6 has been retired and Stealth S1 Dotty (64a durometer) is now Five Ten’s go-to rubber compound for Freerider Pro (and standard Freerider) soles. While S1 is not quite as grippy and compliant, it has the advantages of being much harder wearing and gives a slightly stiffer pedaling platform too.
A molded midsole wraps quite high onto the uppers around the entire shoe. Sole and upper are glued and stitched together at the toe, and glued elsewhere for maximum strength and water resistance. In many years of wearing Freeriders, I’ve never had a pair in which sole and upper have parted company or even split around the edges of the toe box. The toe box itself is reinforced to provide protection from rock strikes, while the fully synthetic, vegan-friendly and partially recycled uppers are hard-wearing polyester and help protect the feet too.
Inside the shoe, the removable insert gives enough just enough arch support without compromising ride feel, while the thick padded tongue adds a dollop of extra comfort.
Five Ten Freerider Pro review: Performance
Pedal grip from the Freerider Pros is excellent and is still the best around, despite a strong challenge from Specialized’s 2FO Roost shoes. While the Stealth S1 compound does a top job of locking foot and pedal together, you’re still able to make adjustments as you ride without any issues. The semi-stiff sole gives decent power transition, for a flat shoe at least, without sacrificing too much useful pedal feel and feedback.
From plenty of experience booting many a rock and stump, I've learned the hard way that the foot protection offered is as good as it gets from a sneaker-type riding shoe. However, the low-top ankle collar does mean that flying debris and puddle splashes are prone to finding their way inside the shoe.
The robust plastic uppers clean up well and, more importantly, sees off sticks, brambles and other trail flotsam and helps keep your feet intact. The flipside of that protection is that despite ventilation holes around the mid-toe area, the Freerider Pro's run fairly hot in warmer conditions.
Durability-wise, the Freerider Pro's Stealth S1 rubber sole stands up well to years of sharp-pinned pedal abuse while the uppers are essentially indestructible. I've yet to snap a Freerider lace either.
Five Ten Freerider Pro review: Verdict
Having been around for a significant amount of time, the Freerider Pro has had many an upstart rival look to take its best flat shoe crown. While the best of them (Crankbrothers Stamp Speedlace, Bontrager Flatline and Specialized 2FO DH) have come close, none have beaten Five Ten’s winning combination of grip, feel, style and durability. And if your budget can’t stretch to the Pro version, the standard Freerider is an excellent riding shoe too and can often be picked up at a reduced price.
For more details, check out the Freerider Pro on the Adidas (opens in new tab) website.
Five Ten Freerider Pro review: Tech specs
- RRP: $150 / £130
- Model: Five Ten Freerider Pro
- Discipline: MTB
- Sole: Stealth S1 Dotty
- Upper: Fully synthetic
- Number of colorways: Five
- Available sizes: 6 – 15 (US), 4.5 – 14.5 (UK)