Five Ten had two new flat-pedal shoes on display at Crankworx that looked and felt completely different from anything we've seen. First off, they are significantly lighter and much better ventilated than the skate style shoes that Five Ten built its gravity empire upon. The heel cups are more ergonomically shaped alongside the much more technically constructed uppers and soles are designed to flex towards the front to better facilitate hiking. That sounds like a true freeride shoe to me.
They're named "Trailcross" and there's a classic low top (Trailcross LT) and also a gaitered high top version that was designed to keep out dirt and scree while you are either digging or slogging uphill on foot. Mesh panels and a mesh tongue evacuate water and dry quickly, and there is a waterproof insole that prevents moisture from invading the sole from the inside. The molded arch insert is also perforated to shed water quickly. Thin layers of D3O impact-absorbing plastic protect vulnerable zones near the ankles without the bulk look we usually associate with armored gear.
Flip the shoe over and you' be happy to find Five Ten's tacky and very durable "Phantom" rubber compound in the classic dot pattern, but with a new twist. The toe and heel patterns are tweaked a little to boost grip on sketchy dirt while you are off the bike. Materials and construction are excellent and the gray on black graphic treatment is tasteful - and, they're priced right. The Trailcross LT is projected to retail for $130 USD, with the high top Trailcross pegged at $160.
Five Ten Brand manager Luke Hontz says Trailcross will be extended into a family of shoes targeted at the adventure side of the sport. Prototypes have already been used by diggers and riders at Red Bull Rampage. Hontz says the all-day, any terrain design is perfect for endurance riders as well, and Five Ten is already looking for ambassadors to sponsor.
Will we see versions with cleat options? Hontz says not for now. Five Ten's flat-pedal fans are their primary focus. "Everyone has copied our skate-shoe designs," says Hontz. "This is Five Ten moving forward with significant improvements and new materials. Trailcross is a shoe that we've been wanting to build for a long time."
What Do We Think?
What do we think? Almost every skate-based gravity shoe is heavier than it needs to be, suffers from poor ventilation and traps copious amounts of water. The new Trailcross promises to handily solve those issues, so if they perform on par under power and go the distance, you can bet that a lot of flat pedal riders will become fans.
Molded heel cups boost support. The tag is reflective.
Before you get too excited, though, Five Ten plans to officially release the Trailcross range at Eurobike, with the first production slated to arrive at retail stores around February 2020. There's a good chance that we'll have a review posted by then.