Reviews / Shoes
Five Ten need very little introduction when it comes to mountain biking footwear, being the dominate force in flat pedal shoes for what seems like forever. Not content to rest on their laurels, they continue to innovate and develop their products to keep on the cusp of footwear technologies. In this case, we have their new Freerider EPS High shoe (also available as a low cut) with PrimaLoft insulation, aiming to winter-proof your feet while still providing classic Five Ten levels of traction.
The clip-in pedal shoe market has many winter options, but in the flat shoe world, many of the offerings are still highly absorbent skate-style shoes, which offer little in the way of warmth once they have soaked up their weight in water.
The Freerider EPS aims to shed water and insulate feet so you can keep smiling and riding all through the winter months. The sole is S1 Stealth rubber, and the upper toe box area is made of one piece of leather to minimise any stitched seams and keep water out. Insulation is provided by the PrimaLoft lining over the front of the shoe and tongue, while the rear uses a closed cell foam around the heel to give plenty of padding and support. It's also great to see a sewn-in tongue to keep water at bay, and feet dry.
First up, when fresh from the box they look a little funky, with their one piece top lacking any stitching, that also has a sheen on it (which I thought initially was a fake leather-effect material). Couple this with the bright red laces and you have a pretty striking look. These are definitely a shoe that wears into its style; a few rides in and some mud and dirt sorted them out into a more casual look.
The grip on the pedals is a great as ever with the S1 Stealth sole unit doing a great job, feeling well attached to the pedals with plenty of feel. My only issue is the sole feeling a little soft, and you can really feel pins under your feet on aggressive pedals. I know for some this is exactly what is wanted, but for me, a touch more thickness in the sole would be appreciated.
Grip off the bike is a more varied affair, while on rock and hard ground there is no matching the sticky soles, but a bit of mud, or a slight dusting of snow and it's like Bambi on ice. The flat sole offers no mechanical grip on soft surfaces and is pretty damn slippy. Given this is a winter shoe, it would be great to see a little more heel and toe grip. None of this is a problem if you keep on the pedals, but if you get involved with a bit of pushing, carrying or even trail building, things may get loose!
The warmth from these shoes is exceptional, and they have been an absolute winner for keeping my toes warm and never losing feeling despite the cold and wet weather I've been enjoying over the past few months. Water has been kept out, and feet stayed dry thanks to the leather uppers and sewn in tongue. Even if water gets over the top, the materials used are non-absorbent, and the PrimaLoft lining does a good job of maintaining warmth while wet. This also means they are quick drying and an overnight on the radiator sorts them out pretty rapidly.
The stitched sole unit on the shoes is worth a mention, as glued soles have a habit of coming unstuck. There is no risk of this here as the sole is firmly and securely attached to the shoe, which previous owners of Five Ten shoes will be pleased to know.
These are a true winter shoe for the flat pedal biker, offering awesome weather protection and insulation. The grip is exceptional on the pedals, as one would expect from the brand, but off the bike, things can get perilous in the mud! If walking grip is no issue, then these are an exceptional winter riding shoe to look after your feet in the worst of conditions.
For more information visit Five Ten.
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By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.
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