It is amazing to see that so many MTB brands are beginning to embrace women’s cycling and one of the brands that I have really noticed embracing the move is Five Ten. Five Ten announced in 2015 that they would be introducing a range of women specific shoes – they had previously only produced ranges for children and men. Prior to the introduction of the women’s range I had always just worn the men’s Five Tens and made them work for me, but I was never 100% satisfied with them and they often became too wide for my feet after they had packed out.
So what exactly is different between this new women’s range and previous ranges:
The most crucial part of any flat pedal mountain bike shoe is the sole – the sole is the first point of contact between you and the bike. If you are riding with bad pedals or the wrong shoes your contact with the bike isn’t as strong.
I have been wearing these Five Tens for around a month now and as far as flat pedal MTB shoes go I think they are pretty awesome. I was skeptical about the flat sole as I thought that might give me a weaker contact with the bike but the stealth technology in the rubber is softer and tackier, and grips onto the pins of the pedals brilliantly, keeping my feet secured to the pedals really well, this was the case even when riding jumps or coming off drops.
The shoes are noticeably narrower than my previous Five Tens and at first I thought they were sized wrong as they felt really quite tight, but being a snowboarder as well I decided that they may just need to pack out a bit just like my snowboard boots do when I get a new pair. So I was patient and as if by magic after a few rides the shoes were an ideal fit, unlike my previous pair that were far too wide.
One feature that I would like to see built into these shoes is complete waterproofing, although they are still better than my old canvas ones they still don’t repel the water very well. But then again even fully waterproof shoes probably couldn’t keep out the Scottish winter rain. The Freerider Contact shoes also dry a lot faster than the canvas freeriders.
Also in the past I have really detested the length of Five Ten laces, often having to tie them in quadruple knots and still having to tuck the straggling ends of the laces into my shoes to avoid them becoming wrapped around the pedals. But this seems to have been rectified with these shoes as the laces are a lot shorter and only need double knotted with no tucking the ends into my shoes. I hope this is a feature that Five Ten intend to keep.
It’s hard to find fault with these shoes – I have always been a big fan of Five Tens and I am even more convinced with them now. The stealth rubber sole grips well onto my pedals and I felt like I had great contact with the bike, which meant I had more control over the bike and made me more confident in my riding especially in the wintery wet and icy conditions.
These Five Ten Freeride Contact shoes are now available to buy. #brandofthebrave
Sizes: 2.5 UK – 8.5 UK
We tested the shoes with Reserve Escape Pedals