Five Ten is a staple in the mountain bike world, offering shoes in both clipless and flat options. The brand’s Freerider shoe is definitely the gold standard for flat pedal shoes, and it’d take a mighty good shoe to beat it. The brand is owned by Adidas, and is also known for its climbing shoes.
The Freerider is Five Ten’s base flat pedal shoe, using their Stealth Rubber compound, and offering a good value for the price. The shoes come in at $100 with a lace-up design over a textile upper. For $50 more you can get the Pro version which offers a slightly lighter design, and is partially waterproof. The Freerider contact is a different version of the normal Freerider, which offers more float than the standard option.
After two years of abuse, the Freeriders are still going pretty strong, requiring only one lace replacement. The fit is good, especially if you have normal to wide feet, if you have narrower feet like me, they can be a bit roomy and hard to tie down super tight. I’m not really a fan of lace-up shoes for riding, because they tend to work loose and also break seemingly every 6 months. For many though, the laces look better, and generally this is a personal taste thing. The sides and back of the shoe protect your foot well, and the heel cup offers a good amount of support. The shoes are rather heavy, so if you are picky about that sort of thing, you would be better off with the Pro version, and if you have many creek crossings where you ride, then the Pro version is a must. The Stealth Rubber sole held up well, and offers all sorts of grip on the pedal. After running these shoes through the wringer, you’d expect them to look a bit beat up, and they are in fact, quite beat up. Some stiching is gone, and the top of the shoes is starting to separate from the sole, but the wear isn’t bad for two years of abuse, and they still function just fine. The shoes look very good, and can also do double duty as casual shoes if they’re clean.
Overall the Freeriders are a great shoe, and I’d highly recommend trying them out. My only complaints are the wide fit, which is a problem with most brands, and the lack of a Boa option. Five Ten’s Stealth Rubber is hard to beat for grip, and most other companies don’t have a better option. If you’re ok with wearing the biggest brand and not wanting something more unique, then the Freeriders are your best bet.