FIVETEN Freerider Pro
LONG TERM REVIEW
What’s so special about the latest Freerider Pro? In short, everything. With 6 months of riding solely on these flat pedal kicks, it’s time to review.
Now, flat pedal riding is not seemingly as popular as the clipless alternative in our beloved country, but the trend is definitely growing and becoming increasingly more popular with individuals looking to develop their skills and boost their confidence on the trails.
We recently had a skills clinic with our resident Bokkies on Bikes with an emphasis on exposing female and new riders with the benefits of riding flats. The results were definitely apparent as the the riders were far more relaxed and able to focus on the skill at hand instead of worrying about falling over because they couldn’t unclip in time. An age old problem had by almost every rider as they find themselves wrestling a 2 wheeled animal on the ground. Not rad.
FiveTen pulled out all the stops in making a quality shoe with bomb-proof construction. The uppers are now entirely synthetic which means they are weather resistant and ultra durable. Great for those muddy days and colder mornings but somehow never once did we feel overheating during some of the more extreme summer days. This is probably due to the tiny ventilation holes found near the base of the toes or pure vudu magic. Probably the well placed holes.
The front of the shoe sports a hardened toe box to prevent you bashing digits on rocks or roots whilst still creating enough room for comfort. The toe-box has a rougher texture than the rest of the upper, we are not entirely sure why but it seems to handle the scuff marks like a champ.
Now the sole, what makes FiveTen masters of the craft, has also been revised from previous generation Freeriders. The S1 stealth rubber has proven to be the winner over all the other compounds as it’s sticky without compromising longevity.
What did stand out and is quite a bonus considering we don’t have ski lifts, is the stiffer sole. As we have to get to the top, the stiff sole allows direct power transfer to the pedals and eliminates the foot fatigue you would find with more pliable softer soles. Initially we thought that the softer more flexible shoes like the normal Freeriders would be more grippy as your feet tend to wrap around the pedal. The fact was these were just as grippy, allowing a perfect amount of flex to keep your feet planted. The sole itself is firmly bonded to the uppers with stitching around the toe section to prevent any delamination.
FIT & STYLE
The shoes fitted exactly as per our previous FiveTens and remains true to size from our other shoes. The overall look was slimmer so if you are converting from XC/marathon clipless to flats you won’t feel like a drug mule or wearing skate shoes.
The look seems to give the impression that they were bred for tearing trails at speed, whether it’s up or down.
ON THE TRAIL
From the first pedal stroke we knew we were onto a winner. The direct transfer and sticky sole had us accelerating quickly down the jeep track so we could get to the trails. A few bunny hops en route and we knew they were well grippy enough.
We paired our shoes with DMR V12’s and DMR Vaults so maybe there was an unfair advantage as to how grippy as both these pedals are great. Either way, we had zero slips when we rode with the correct technique. When we were careless/tired, we might have lost a pedal in mid jump but luckily our feet made connection with the pedals on landing so no skin was lost.
The shoes had great feedback on the trail, especially when things got rough or we really put weight into the turns. The flex felt perfectly balanced and created a lively feel, especially on tighter sections, allowing us to pop out of turns and keeping our feet one with the bike.
So, 6 months down the line the shoes still give you that excitement you get when riding pedals. There is something about the looseness of riding flat pedals that stirs the inner child in you. They make you want to have fun, which maybe has been lost somewhere in our local bike culture.
The synthetic uppers have a few scuffs here and there but not a single tear or gouge to report. The soles have lots left in them and considering the pins we use, this is very impressive. Maybe it’s the thicker stiffer sole and updated rubber, but they still perform as new. If anything the slightly worn sections have made them even grippier.
What was quite noticeable was that they are extremely comfortable. None of the testers experienced any hot spots or discomfort during this period. We felt confident to do longer rides as power transfer felt maximized and foot fatigue was non existent. Rider fatigue, more than likely.
The longest ride we did was around the 70km mark and the shoes exceeded our expectations.
The FiveTen Freerider Pro’s ticked all the boxes of what a modern flat pedal shoe should be. The evolution is very apparent and FiveTen have created a shoe that is comfortable enough for all day missions and durable enough to last a few seasons. Given our economic climate, this is a good thing.
If you dabbling with the idea of trying flats to boost confidence, up your skills or just like the idea of playfulness, these are highly recommended.
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