Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoes - Tested

Jun 19, 2013 at 0:07
Jun 19, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
 
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Five Ten Freerider VXi

Five Ten Freerider VXi Shoes - Tested

Think about mountain bike shoes intended for flat pedals and it's likely Five Ten is one of the first brands that comes to mind, and for good reason. The company's Stealth rubber, which was originally developed in 1985 for use on climbing shoes, is renowned for being ultra-sticky, providing loads of grip between shoe and pedal. In fact, this amount of traction can sometimes make changing foot position difficult, leading many riders to remove some of their pedal's traction pins to customize the amount of grip. For 2013, Five Ten introduced the Freerider VXi shoe with their Contact outsole, a smooth portion under the ball of the foot designed to make repositioning easier. This smooth portion is still made from Stealth rubber, but the raised dots found on the rest of the sole have been removed. The shoe's uppers are made from a mix of double stitched leather and breathable mesh, and have metal reinforced lace rivets. There is also an asymmetrical welt (the part of the shoe between the upper and the sole) for protection from crankarm rub. We took these shoes on nearly every type of ride imaginable, everything from long cross country rides to lift-served laps in the bike park, to see how they held up.


Details
• Stealth Contact outsole
• Breathable, abrasion resistant upper
• Asymmetrical welt
• Sizes US 3-12, 13, 14
• Color: charcoal/grey, red/black, pumice/black
• Weight: 900g (pair, size 10.5)
• Price: $120 USD

Five Ten Freerider VXi
Well thought out features, like metal lace eyelets and a reinforced toe cap are designed to make the Freerider VXi as durable as possible. The asymmetrical welt (bottom left) helps prevent premature wear from crankarm rub.

On the Trail
From the moment we put them on, the Freerider VXi felt less boxy and more form fitting than other Five Ten shoes we've used, a welcome improvement. The fit seemed closer to what you would expect from a running shoe, holding the foot securely in place without any unwanted movement inside the shoe. As far as sole stiffness goes, compared to the rest of the company's flat pedal shoe lineup it seems to fall somewhere in the middle; not quite as stiff as the Impact shoe, but slightly stiffer than the standard Freerider.

The Contact sole does make it slightly easier to reposition your feet when sitting in the saddle, as there is less weight on the pedals, but this isn't when we typically want to change foot position. Standing up out of the saddle on a descent seems to be when the need to change foot position usually arises, whether it's to get situated for an upcoming jump or to realign ourselves on the bike after getting jarred off line by an errant rock or root. When standing out of the saddle, the Freerider VXi seemed just as grippy as the traditional dotted Stealth sole - it grabbed tenaciously to the pedal's pins, and we can't recall slipping a pedal at any point during the duration of the test. This tenacious grip did mean that it was still necessary to perform the 'lift and turn' technique that we've become accustomed to using with other Five Ten shoes to reposition our feet. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – after years of wearing sticky-soled shoes it's a maneuver that has become second nature, and we would rather have shoes with a little extra grip instead of not enough, but the Contact sole didn't seem make moving our feet as easy as we would have expected.

Five Ten Freerider VXi
Five Ten's Contact outsole does away with the dots under the ball of the foot, a design intended to make it easier to move your foot on the pedals, but one that we found to have downsides when not on the bike.

Issues
While there was plenty of on-bike traction, walking with the Freerider VXi was another matter altogether. On dry, hardpacked terrain they were fine, sticking to rocks with ease and offering enough flexibility to make them comfortable for extended hike-a-bike sections. However, sprinkle a little moisture onto the dirt and rocks and the tables quickly turn. Any previous traction disappeared, replaced by the feeling of wearing tap shoes on a frozen pond. One of our local rides ends with a short, steep hike out of a creek bed. Trying to find purchase on the muddy walls of the creek bed was difficult to say the least – it was necessary to weight the very front of the shoe (where the dots are), and gingerly tiptoe back to level ground. The same scenario happened on wet rock faces – forget to step carefully and you may find yourself splayed out flat on your back making mud angels.


Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesWe were impressed by the fit of the Freerider VXi, and for rides without any off-bike excursions this is a fine shoe. Durability seems excellent as well, with less visible wear than we'd expect given the number of rides these shoes have been on. That being said, the Contact sole severely limits the shoe's capabilities in wet weather - the negatives of the smooth sole seem to outweigh the positives, at least in our part of the world. Riders in drier climates, or that rarely step off the bike might not find this to be as much of an issue. Given that it seemed only marginally easier to reposition our feet on the pedals with the Contact sole, we'd rather have the traditional sole found on Five Ten's other flat pedal shoes. We'd love to see some of the features from this shoe, mainly the metal lace eyelets, light weight and revised fit, applied to Five Ten's Impact shoe, a shoe that's due for an update. If that dream ever came true, Five Ten would likely have a shoe that could rule the flat pedal world. - Mike Kazimer

www.fiveten.com
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116 Comments

  • + 137
 Still unsure why we don't have rubber pedals, and shoes with big-a** spikes...? Smile
  • + 11
 imagine if you scorpion down with shoes with big ass spikes
  • + 53
 What about hardcore electro-magnets?
  • + 4
 been thinking about that as i come from track and field background and now all those shoes are useless
  • + 85
 Will the magnetic field interfere with my electronic suspension, electronic shifting, HR monitor, GPS, wireless tear-off scrolling whatsit, Bluetooth-compatible live streaming video led lights on my spokes...?
  • + 58
 you'll just have to shield all the electro tech with lead. Don't worry, Fox offers large chunks of lead you can attach to your bike for only $1100-$1500, though it will need service every other week as per the instruction manual.
  • + 10
 I've thought a bit about spiked shoes but they have a couple downsides. 3/4 are the biggest issues.

1. The rubber will get beat up very fast
2. They will be thick - low profile pedals are popular not just because they look cool.
3. Hiking up rocks will be impossible in spiked shoes. (makes them useless for trail/am use)
4. Putting a foot down at speed will be dangerous. Catch a spike in the ground and you're done.
  • + 3
 @hatton: vaild points, but just like the review says, the other around you have limitations too... (ie. the VXi's not working in mud). Not sure that thickness and wear can't be worked out with a bit of research/time/money...
  • + 9
 Love the creativity but guys theres this thing called clips
  • + 5
 Ya we know 5 ten sticky rubber soles= awesome. $120 for these ugly ones is not so awesome, I'll stick with the Impact you can always find on sale for $80-90 somewhere online.
  • + 1
 I've been saying that forever.
  • + 3
 I just bought the original Freeriders about 4 months ago and they are great!
  • + 7
 Two thin layers of neodynium magnetic sheets covered by thin layer of rubber on shoes and pedals might be a solution.
  • + 6
 Plus you'll never lose your keys on a ride!
  • + 1
 rubber would flex and be no where near stiff enough....one crazy crash and it could earlier destroy a metal pedal let along a rubber one.
  • + 1
 What about those fugly desert storm brown five tens lool. I think they not as sticky as the true black stealth rubber soles. Colored soles other than black are slippers.
  • + 2
 you'd be surprised how much iron is in dirt... magnetic pedals used to be a thing, but then people realized they arent so hot... mavic made them as recently as 2009... but not anymore...
  • + 2
 We do have shoes with spikes. They're used for golfing. And rubber pedals..that would stop the calf tearing when hitting your pedals. Brilliant
  • + 1
 That was my sixth grade invention fair project something like 12 years ago. What could have been.
[Reply]
  • + 109
 New from Five Ten - Worn out Five Tens
  • + 2
 Hahaha! Nice.
  • + 2
 Yeah, the bottoms of my Freeriders look pretty much like these.
  • - 4
 Funny funny fun time! LOL!
[Reply]
  • + 14
 I'd love Five Ten to make a shoe with a flat under sole layer, with no wrapping to the sides, and then make an under sole replacement kit available, just as they do with their climbing shoes. Thanks to that you could go through 3 or even 4 soles through the life of the whole shoe.
  • + 10
 I just want them to at least one pair of their shoes in my size and I'd be happy really.
  • + 1
 no can do, how are we supposed to sell you a new pair next year?
  • + 3
 Just staple some old tires onto the current sole. Just be careful about where you put the staples.
  • + 5
 @taletotell, you may be joking, but my friend used to use cut up go-kart tyres to re-sole his skateboarding shoes.
  • + 1
 They do it with airplane tires in rural areas of paraguay. I'm sure it is a serious performance shoe fix though.
  • + 1
 I wear through the sides of mine from the rubbing of the crank arms much faster than I wear through the soles.
  • + 1
 The sole peels off at the toe bumper way before the actual tread wears out for me , fucking sick of this shit but once you ride in 5-10's there is really no substitute
[Reply]
  • + 11
 I want these shoes in black, or karver colours, with the normal "dotty" sole.

Love my impacts but they rub on the frame, pretty badly, normal freeriders sole is too thin for me, IMO, and these aren't an option as I have to push up a lot of our local soggy Dh tracks...
[Reply]
  • + 5
 I've got free riders and karvers. Best shoes I've used ever. Like the look of these but would struggle as I ride in mud quite a lot and that slick patch seems like when I put a foot down for a rest I might end up doing the splits
[Reply]
  • + 3
 My Karvers are finally wearing out after 3 years of abuse. Love those shoes, comfy, grippy as hell, but they are hot, not very ventilated. Couldn't afford new 5.10's at the moment, so went with Teva Pinners. Should have saved my money, those shoes are horrible compared to 5.10's. Not very comfortable, the traction is really bad, slip pedals all the time. For flat pedals shoes, have to say 5.10 is king!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I've been using my black/red VXi for about 3 months now, they look brand new, only getting more and more comfortable, repositioning of feet on the pedals is slightly easier than on my impacts thanks to lack of dots and I find it being an advantage.
To summarise : VXi in the DRY , High Impacts in the WET = perfect solution, perfect combination, thanks FIVETEN!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I have these shoes and absolutely love them. My impacts were simply just too bulky and overkill for my daily rides here in the Pacific NW when not in the bike park. My VXI's are like a super grippy running shoe built for riding. Repositioning is night and day compared to my impacts and I haven't had a problem slipping once. Once the weight is loaded these things grip! Hiking has been fine in this thing, seems similar to my impacts. Overall 9/10
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I love the grip and comfort of the five pairs of Five Tens I've owned, but my two pairs of Impact IIs and my Exum Guides all cracked right across the sole where they bend when walking. They did this before the tread was worn out. My first generation Impacts and my second generation Sam Hills are the only ones that lasted. My shop just got Tevas in so I will prefer to risk an unknown brand than risk a shoe whose more recent stuff wasn't as good as their old stuff.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Also, why do these shoes always have laces? Why can't we get something with Velcro/buckles/BOA? Laces have no advantage and are a horrific accident waiting to happen.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 ive always wanted to try some, they look comfy and grippy. Everything i could ask for... but the price. lower it by at least $30 and we've got a deal.
  • + 1
 Me too. Our place is buy/sell
  • + 1
 Same here, I ended up getting some of the old Freeriders from a friend for £35, barely worn.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 There is nothing better the a fresh pair of 510s! But I like my Impacts
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I bought them a few weeks ago to use as a BMX shoe. They have good grip and work really well but the sole is stiff so it will need time to break in. Not sure how they would work for hiking given the lack of tread under the balls of your feet...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It figures that this review shows up the day after I bought a pair. My first pair of five tens actually. Not too worried about the slick conditions, I'll probably keep these for lift access days and use my Teva's for shuttling if it is an issue. Adding new pedals (finally ditching the stock pedals) into the mix, so I am not sure my review would be true to the shoe. About to head out to Trestle and give them a try!
  • + 1
 Glue meet Five Ten Sole. Glue, your services are no longer needed. DMR Vault pedals and the 510 Freeriders made for an amazing ride this afternoon. I only had one small slip which was caused by a poorly timed shift on my part. It did take a little getting used to but in a good way. Everything was dry dry dry today so hiking up hills didn't matter. Happy to add these into the mix for sure.
  • + 2
 Off topic but I was the lifty at Trestle all day in the straw hat. Give me a shout next time.

P.S do you have red vaults with blue pins? May have noticed them
  • + 1
 Yes, red Vaults with blue pins. I will be back at Trestle on Saturday, I'll look for you.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Highly recomended!!! Bought on site when first displayed on pinkbike and really love the fit and feel. I always felt my impacts were Hot, tight and just a little bulky. All things considered for strait out DH the impacts are still my go to shoe for better protection. But I love these shoes for all mountain use or lite freeride days, Maybe I have a foot issue...but I really hate Hot feet on hot days.! There are hard to hike up in but I tend to ride down as often as I can. Only regret is that I wish I got the gray ones, my wife calls these blue ones my clown shoes!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thanks for the review. I bought some Freeriders several months ago because my Sam Hill's are SO HEAVY (I gave them to my son, who has plenty of youthful energy). I got them before the redesign and was prepared to be disappointed I didn't get the latest and greatest. I may have lucked out, instead.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've been riding on these things for over a month now, just about every day and I love em! so grippy on the pedals, they give you confidence because you know your not going to slip a pedal in even the worst scenarios. as far as traction on mud (greasy calgary clay) and wet, they handle suprisingly well, and alot better than i was expecting. you do have to lean how to place your feet properly to get traction when going up steep muddy hills, but I have have found few I couldn't climb with moderate effort.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Had these for a couple of months, found them to be as grippy as Impacts, the bald sole does allow movement, my only issue the top of the heel where the shoe meets your ankles is a killer, really uncomfy, so with that I'll be going back to impacts.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's the flat bit on the ball of the foot that I'm concerned about. Not on the bike, but hiking up steep mountains, I'm worrying that I won't have enough grip trying to climb up mud and gravel when I'm carrying the bike, which for me is quite often.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 they look barely f*cking used. i'm dissapointed that this is a review. my danny macs are f*cking ruined after 6 months of lovin' no test to destruction; no care.
  • + 4
 How did you wreck a pair in 6 months? My freeriders have a year on them and they look great other than a bit of crank rub and a few scuffs.
  • + 2
 Its possible, I bought a pair in December and now I have holes in the soles of both shoes. Now every time I step in a puddle my socks get wet :S That said though, the tops of them still look mint.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I'm guessing you ride cage pedals.
  • + 2
 It's not the sole that's gone all religious (holey, get it?!) on my freeriders, it's the upper over my big toe. Great ventilation, but in England? Bit soggy. Only had them just over a year as well. Time to splash out on a new pair. Impacts or Sam Hill's?
  • + 2
 My impacts got a cut across the toe box in two rides.. it. Looking like a 6 month shoe then ill try teva
  • + 1
 you will be happy with the teva links
  • + 2
 Tevas are nice but they dont have anywhere near as much grip as stealth rubber five tens.
  • + 1
 Teva s are crap in the wet,they pour water in through mesh toe cap,
  • + 1
 have you used the links in the wet?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "It makes moving your foot easier." If I wanted to move my foot easier I would just buy a pair of skate shoes for half the price. I love my old freeriders because I know that where my foot is placed on the pedal is where it's staying!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just thought I would mention that the sizing is a little different on these. I wear size 12 Freeriders with plenty of room in the toe box. In the size 12 VXis, my toes hit the end. There's no 12.5, so my purchase is on hold. They are getting closer to the ultimate trail shoe but still not there. The flat sole seems unnecessary, but stiffer, lower profile, and smart features notes above are a good change.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Yet another shoe I can't wear since it isn't 4E. I'll just admire from afar like a creepy guy with a foot fetish.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 just the test i needed!! 5.10 are just great, but for me they only last a year and a half, and the sole starts getting some holes... maybe these ones don´t, they have a different sole in the pedal area
[Reply]
  • + 1
 not a great shoes all around look at those soles man.. how the hell can you climb up the hill when you get tired pushing your bike up hill you will easily slip off not all the people could go up hill straight none stop.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have 5 10 rock climbing shoes. The sticky rubber is called ran. You can buy ran kits to glue the stuff to the bottom of your shoes. 5 10 shoes are built well and last a long time. Still I luv my VANs!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 five ten doesn't need gimmicks , they just need to update the look every two years or so and stay away from blue . We don't want blue shoes .
  • + 2
 They'd be ok if they made them in blue suede.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 No good for UK riding. Also if you believe the papers/met office scientists where gonna have wet summers for the next 10years = grip on the floor just as important as pedals to me.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 This slick sole should work well on mud!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 My 3 pair of Freeriders are badass, and have survived everything. I hike up some muddy mountains sometimes to bomb down, the shoes always get me up with minimum slip. Being an engineer, i new these would be slick as hell on wet conditions. These new Freeriders are ugly, I hate the way "running" shoes look. Colors are lame, and I think 510 really screwed up with the masses on these. Please go back to the Scribble Freeriders or the Barrons please, are you reading this 510 designers/engineers. I'm begging!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sorry, that was supposed to say I knew these would be slick. Damn it, sometimes I can't even get it right, so I go back and fix it. Please do the same
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I can say I love my vxi's even the odd hike n bike has been fine. Super grippy
  • + 1
 I have these too and love them so far! I have noticed the occasional slipping on some surfaces when walking compared to my sam hill's, but not too bad. If this exact shoe were available with the dots over the whole sole, I think I'd get those next time, but everything else about this shoe I love. The sole feels stiffer to me than the sam hills too.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 New Enduro specific product?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Too bad they couldnt make like flat shoes with like Spd uppers with all the cranks and Boas with grippy rubber on the bottom. I would sport the crap out of those.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 These look like my red barrons, except blue. And less tread. Love my red barrons!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 These VXi are considerably stiffer than the regular Freeriders. Makes me question the review.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I still love my vans not that i like 510s
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Sweet! Even less grip when pushing back up muddy hills.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wondered what these would be like for pushing up in the wet - it's enough of a struggle at times. Not for me.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 ok if you live somewhere whre there is no mud
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Still waiting for a 5-10 Impact shoe with a faster lacing system like Boa.
  • + 1
 YES!!! The boas look kinda weird but crazy easy, fast and its a fit and forget thing. People really need to try them before they start hating
[Reply]
  • + 1
 These look like my worn out five10s!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 so after all this time making shoes so ur feet dont sliip off and and know there makiing them so ur feet will pop off
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Building trails In spikes!! Eh No!!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Gosh darn those are some disgustingly ugly shoes.
  • + 2
 I agree. Bet they will preform well though, for their intended use that is..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 People test shoes?!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I like the colour scheme.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Switched to Teva.... better than 5 10's in every way
[Reply]
  • - 3
 I love my impacts but i just wish they had a thinner sole!
  • + 4
 They do, its called the freerider.
  • + 2
 The Sam Hills seem, to me, to have a better 'pedal feel' than the Impacts if that is what you are looking for.
  • + 1
 The freeriders aren't as rugged as the impacts. Not hating...
[Reply]
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