The newly designed Freerider Pro mountain bike shoe built upon the popular Five Ten Freerider with an upgraded look and a few feature changes. Few shoes are as popular or as seen on the trail as the Five Ten Freeriders, and now we have even more options! The Pro’s come in a new handful of colors like Night Navy, EQT Blue, Light Granite, Black/Red and will cost you around $150 USD retail, if you can’t find a deal on them with GearChase.com
My current go to mountain biking shoe for flat peddles is the Five Ten Freerider Contact. It’s a great all around shoe that offers some protection with a semi-solid platform for peddling efficiency and a great looking package. The new look of the Five Ten Freerider Pro had me questioning if I had found my new replacement for the Contact. I will try to compare the Five Ten Freerider Pro with the Freerider Contact, because I feel that there are a lot of people that would be interested to know the difference between the two, and also like to see a comparison between the Freerider Pro and the Freerider Contact.
The uppers are constructed of a synthetic material that is light weight and holds up pretty well. You can see in the some of the images below after we work the shoe for a few months and had about 150 miles on it we wiped off the dust and you can see some creasing in the toe, but overall the synthetic is pretty resilient. There was also a little wear around the collar, we often loosed them tight and slip them on and off, I’m sure this is where that wear came from. The uppers are also treated with a weather resistant coating. If you get splashed, they are not going to soak it up like a sponge. However, like most mountain bike shoes, if you get caught in a downpour, there isn’t a hope for them.
Added from the Freerider is a compression-molded EVA midsole. It’s much more supple than the Freerider or the Contact, and felt to break in a little faster. For someone that rides clipless, you may feel that the overall sole stiffness is too soft. It is fairly flexible, and will make some riders happy, but leave others asking for a more solid platform. For someone coming from a non-mountain bike shoe these would be the perfect upgrade.
The Freerider Pro is built solid carrying over the stitched toe from the original, but moving back the mid-sole is glued instead of fully stitched. The shoe has a lighter feel than the more downhill or gravity shoes like the XVI and Hellcat, and should appeal to trail/all-mountain/enduro crowd.
The insole for the Five Ten Freerider Pro is a removable Ortholite. It’s not the highest quality insert, but Ortholite makes a decent product. You can see from the photo it’s simple molded insole the quickly breaks in within a few rides.
Front to Back
The toe and heel of the shoe have a protective coating over them. It’s almost like a thin rhino pinning they spray in truck beds. This provides a little added abrasion resistance with out the bulk of wrapping the rubber all the way over the toe or up the heel, also keeping the shoe weight down. The toe box has the classic Five Ten feel to it. I’ve always felt like it was a little too roomy for me, but maybe I have small toes? The toe box is also ventilated with holes in the top, this won’t resolve the sweaty feet you might be use to but it helps. In comparison to the Freerider Contact that has a woven top they both seem to breath about the same. One dislike on the Contact is the rubber on the sides seems to store moisture. After long hot days, we can see moisture trapped in the side of the shoe. The Freerider Pro overall seems to breath a little better. The thin tongue and ventilation holes help with that.
The shoe dries out fairly quickly. The collar of the shoe is the most absorbent, but because it’s easy to get air flow around the collar, it dries pretty quick. The tongue likes to soak up water but drys really quickly. Also, loosening up the laces and allowing some air over the shoe they quickly dry out overnight in the right settings. The outters are treated with a waterproof coating and unless your walking through rivers or caught is a near monsune, your not likely to feel your feet getting wet.
Foot to Peddle
I like to ride a long sharp pin peddle, currently on the Specialized Bennies. With the Freerider Pro, there are no micro adjustments once the foot is on the peddle. Velcro would be the best description, you almost have to peel your foot off the peddle to make adjustments. Then set it back down to become one again. I was excited to see that Five Ten went with a little tougher rubber with the Stealth S1. The Contact uses the less durable but even more sticky Stealth MI6 rubber, and after a year of riding, you can see pin patterns on the bottom of the shoe. I don’t have a year on the Freerider Pro shoes, but I’m hopping they last a little longer. Also worth pointing out is that the Contact has a full flat rubber under the ball of the foot, while the Freerider Pro has a dotted pattern. There is a very slight difference as you may notice it’s a little easier to make adjustments and peel your foot off the pedal. Depending on the pedals you are running, some pins may not attach to the rubber as securely as they do with the Contacts.
Pedaling in the Freerider Pro is nice, the stiffness of the sole and the adhesion to the peddle create an almost clipplest peddle feel. A side from pulling on an upstroke you might think you were riding a clipless version of a Five Ten shoe. I think this is why you still see a few DH racers still opting for running flats on race day.
We rode size 10.5 US and they weigh 377 grams, or 12.34 oz.
These shoes are not built for protection like the Five Ten Impacts are, they are low cut, and leave the ankle fully exposed. They do have a slight addition to the toe and heel to help with wear and offer a little protection. The sole of the shoe is pretty tough. Overshooting a landing or taking some drops to flats are dampened by the stiffer sole and rubber.
The shoe fits true to size, we normally wear a 10.5 US, and wear the same size in Five Ten Mountain Bike shoes. You may notice the larger toe box, but going down a half size made the shoe too small for us.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with the Freerider Pro, I’m excited to get more time on them this year. They are a great looking shoe, and a nice visual upgrade from the Freerider. I think the original Freerider might hold up longer in durability, but I prefer the looks of the Pro. They would be a huge step up from riding in your Vans or Nike shoes. You really notice the difference the second you put on a “True” mountain bike shoe. The Freerider Pro would be one of my top recommendations to a friend.