Five Ten Freerider ELC - Review

May 12, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
Five Ten shoe

I don’t have a foot fetish. There’s no Imelda Marcos-style, floor-to-ceiling shoe rack in my world. Still, I must admit to being intrigued when the new Freerider ELC’s showed up on my porch about four months ago. For the past eight years I’ve been wearing through a steady procession of flat-pedal shoes, including a slew of models from Shimano, Teva and Five Ten. While I’ve liked Five Ten’s grippy soles and overall durability, there’s always been a hint of a Goldilocks porridge thing going on. The Impact High is bomber and the grip is outstanding, but the heavyweight, hotbox shoe is overkill for anything other than park riding. Since I’m more of a trail rider, I eventually gravitated towards the skate shoe-inspired Freerider VXi and Freerider Contact models—lighter, more breathable kicks better suited to all-day pedaling efforts. Still, I found myself wishing those two Freerider models for lace covers and a more hike-a-bike friendly sole. During wet-weather portages, that treadless contact patch resting beneath the ball of your foot on the Contact outsoles leaves something to be desired.

Would this new Freerider ELC prove the perfect porridge, so to speak? Five Ten bills the ELC as the latest evolution of their Freerider line. There are two color-ways to be had here—Angry Clown (that’s what I call it anyway) and a relatively sedate (by comparison) green and yellow version that looks like a pair of Five Tens made love to a six pack Mountain Dew and had a baby. The Freerider ELC’s retail for $140 (USD). fiveten.com @FiveTen



Five Ten shoe
Lace covers! An end to the many times I've discovered that my drivetrain reached up and ate my shoe laces. Added bonus...your laces don't get dry rot in the summer or, alternately, become all funky and roached during monsoon season.
Five Ten shoe
The Freerider ELC sports Five Ten's Stealth Phantom sole--it's been around for awhile now. Phantom doesn't mark up floors like the Stealth S1 sole and it wears a bit longer than the softer Mi6 sole. Phantom is also decent on hike-a-bikes. I still prefer the old-school S1 sole, but if you always felt the original Stealth sole was too grippy, you'll probably dig the Phantom sole.

On Trail

I’ll just cut to the chase here—in some ways this latest Freerider model is a bit of a hybrid between the classic Impact and the many Freerider models that have come down the pike over the years. It’s a good deal lighter than the Impacts and while you kind of have to hate anyone who’d actually weigh a pair of shoes, there’s no denying that the Impacts can become big, sodden weights when you pedal around in them all day long during the Winter months. The ELC, however, is also a good deal stouter than most of the other Freerider models. You notice this the moment you slip in a pair and you really feel it out on the bike—it transmits power far more effectively than, say, the Freerider VXi, yet it’s not too stiff. You don’t feel like you’ve got a pair of bricks strapped to your feet when it’s time to get off the bike and push. You never get off the bike and push? You’re a liar.


I dig the lace covers. All of the laces on my past Five Ten shoes have suddenly snapped—usually when I’m lacing them up and I’m rushing to meet somebody else for a ride. Not sure what to chock that fact up to, but I’ve always gotten much more mileage from the laces on shoes with full lace covers, such as the Shimano AM41. Very glad to see them here on the Five Ten. At the very least, you’ll never feel that odd tugging on your leg, indicating that your laces are now being consumed by your chainring and chain. Sweet. The Freerider ELC uppers are a mix of PU-coated leather & synthetic materials and they do a decent job of shedding rain.


Five Ten shoe

As for the sole. I spent my first couple decades in either toe clips or clipless pedals and I have no real experience with BMX, so I’m the guy who can’t get enough grip. I’ve never had a problem repositioning my shoes on the original Stealth S1 soles that you find on the Impacts, but I also realize I’m in the minority here. If you found the original Five Ten outsoles to be too grippy, you’ll probably dig the Phantom outsoles on these shoes. It’s a good balance between hike-a-bike grip and on-pedal traction. Phantom has been around for more than a couple years now, so I’ll stop wanking on about the soles now. Just bear in mind—it’s sort of in the middle of the Five Ten spectrum when it comes to traction. Or to put it another way, it’s still a crap-ton stickier than just about any sole you’ll find on a a flat-pedal shoe that doesn’t have a Five Ten badge on it.

The Freerider ELC is a legitimate addition to the Freerider line--it's not just some new color scheme. Who wouldn't dig it? If I lived in the desert, I’d probably opt for something even more breatheable, but since I reside in the Pacific Northwest, death-by-hot-shoes is a fairly uncommon occurrence. Since I stopped being a teenager a few decades ago, I'd love to see less garish versions, but...Jesus.. now I'm kvetching about shoe colors and that means the wheels are coming off the review. Okay, I'll stop right there. Let's put it this way: It’s definitely a shoe worth checking out.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesIn some ways, the Freerider ELC proves a cross between Five Ten's Impact and Freerider models--it's lighter and less bulky than the Impact, but a bit burlier and stiffer than the Freeriders kicks of old. It strikes a solid balance for someone looking for a bomber, grippy shoe that can do double duty at the park and the trailhead. - Vernon Felton





112 Comments

  • 86 1
 i'm color blind - i'll wear them.
  • 27 3
 Probably the only possible way to wear those things...
  • 37 1
 The older I get (34) the more I like a little color in my life.
  • 5 2
 @oriion Made my splurge my tea. You win the comments for the day my friend.
  • 4 0
 I am also colour blind, I didn't see a problem with them until I read the comments, scrolled back up and was like "huh, they do have a pattern."

I'd wear them.
  • 3 1
 I just wish they made a dark, subtle colorway for each shoe they make. i'd like a pair of these, but unfortunately Im not colorblind
  • 7 0
 i like the color so when I am head down feet up in a ravine they can find me... Smile
  • 2 0
 I really hope that E doesn't stand for enduro
  • 1 0
 @felimocl: Elements Lace Cover (DWR coated - keeps rain & dust out!)
  • 1 0
 @NormanPerez: same with me.wonder what happens when I`m 70.....
  • 2 0
 Better looking then my Sam Hills...
  • 1 0
 Electric Lace Covers?
  • 1 0
 For sure Imelda would have thrown some precious stones in there to match
  • 61 1
 I think I saw those at a rave in 1993.
  • 4 3
 @timrippeth, I saw them too, after eating some crazy mushrooms....and felt scaredWink
  • 4 0
 I was wearing them! Thanks for noticing! Wink
  • 36 6
 I just dont get Five Ten... Since They have been Bought By Adidas ... the quality of the shoes went down like a lot .... The soles are complete rubbish now... My friend had Sam Hills for 5 years no problem ... now the sole held for like a season at most ... Where is the quality they had for the price they were asking ... now the shoes are even more expensive yet quality aint nowhere near as it was before .... But well I guess Adidas wants more money so they force you to buy more shoes right ?
  • 17 2
 Didn't realise they'd been bought out... The dive in quality makes sense now Frown
  • 5 1
 The deal is a good thing as oyu can get adidas with stealth rubber. Terrex Solo and Terrex Trailcross SL are awesome.
  • 8 1
 They were bought by Adidas more than a few years ago so unless you are talking their shoes many years ago, you can't attribute it to that.
  • 6 0
 @Rubberelli: I would. I noticed the change personally starting with the new stuff that came out after the buyout. I wish fiveten had better competition so that they didn't get away with this stuff so easily.
  • 3 0
 @Rubberelli: I am riding Five tens for over 6 years now so i guess i can say that Smile and i have quite a few pairs at home ... And yeah the point is as @groghunter said ... if they had better competition they wouldnt get away with that ... problem is, they dont. I was even considering buying something different this time, just because its just pointless to buy shoes for 100 or more euros that are going to fall apart in few months compared to chinese fake vans or any shoes for 10-20 euros that could do the same thing except without the 5.10 logo ... Its Sad Frown
  • 8 1
 I think that Five Tens should come with a bottle of Shoe Goo with every pair sold.
  • 3 0
 @feeblesmith: Second that. Best shoes I've ever owned. Got two pairs of the Terrex Trail Cross. Stealth Rubber sole with Adidas build quality and looks. Perfect.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: I've been through 2 tubes of Freesole for my 5-10 Freerider contact , nice shoes , but very poor quality ! Would not recommend .
  • 3 0
 @feeblesmith: The Terrex solos are my favorite shoe for riding. Low profile and stiff. I have been super happy with them.
  • 21 2
 if it had a sole that wouldnt get destroyed in 6 weeks id be all over them.... i love fivetens but i find myself getting a new set every 2 months.
  • 14 0
 You've just made the Adidas/Five Ten marketing team come in their pants....
(To the detriment of the rest of us).
"One customer, a new pair every 2 months? Best not make the soles too durable with sales like that then, eh?"
  • 3 0
 I actually warrantied my shoes every month for 4 months, before I accepted the design flaw in my freerider xvi and just super glued them. I found a pair of nos aescent on eBay that I much prefer.
  • 1 2
 @jonmoss: the bike industry got the idea of changing standards from Five Ten. They figured just make a standard obsolete every few years so the consumer feels like they have to buy something to stay current.
  • 1 0
 yeah ive been through 4 pairs in a year. I gave up and went back to clips because im well over the expense and frustration. nothing beats the feel of brand new five tens on good flat pedals but my bank acct is happier (and i probably ride faster) on clips.
  • 17 1
 5ten, what are you doing ? The quality of the rubber goes softer and softer, and now the colors are... what ?

The old five ten was indestructibles (Sam hill) and always alive. And the new are dead before the brakes pads.

Is shoes new wear parts ? Please come back to indestructible shoes.
  • 14 1
 Rad shoes And a Bonus feature !! you can puke on them after a big night out and not notice it ....respect
  • 4 0
 Don't know what everyones stressing about, id rock those! quality wise, had my freeriders for 15 months now, with riding on average maybe twice a week, soles still look ok but pin marks for sure. the main body of the shoe on my inner left foot is getting worn through by the crank though.
  • 3 0
 But, how does it fit? Seems like Five Ten has been getting narrower and narrower in the toe box, though they still remain inconsistent between models.
I need a wide shoe, like the Maltese Falcon. But now that I ride flats, I'm stuck with the slightly narrower Freeriders that are a lot less comfortable for me.
Since most of us are buying bike shoes online now (it's just unrealistic to expect our LBS to have a good enough selection of non-roadie shoes), it would be nice to get some kind of opinion of how a new shoe compares to a preexisting benchmark shoe. Otherwise, the cost of my shoes goes up 25% as I sent several paris back before finding one that fits.
Talk about Goldilocks!
  • 3 0
 Fully agree. I bought my first pair of Freeriders years ago, first shoes I ever bought online, and I got super lucky. They were absolutely the most perfect fitting shoes of any kind I've ever had. After beating the tar out of them for five years I decided to pick up another pair of five tens. I bought and returned/sold pairs of Impact VXI, Freerider VXi, Freerider canvas, another new Freerider, before finally settling on another impact vxi a half size smaller. Even with my new ones, I had to swap the insoles from my original Freeriders to get the best fit. All of the Freeriders are now too narrow. The Impact vxi is much wider in the toes, and much lighter too. But the fit still isn't quite as good as the old Freeriders. I used to be a fiveten fanboy, but now I just wish there was a solid competitor with good soles and better fit.
  • 3 0
 Great shoes but stick with the Impact if you are riding more than twice a week. Bought my first pair of Freeriders & the sole lasted 4 rides before they started coming apart i.e. On observation, the rubber sole was too thin for my Canfield Ultimate flat pedals. Unfortunately 5 Ten didn't want to know about it- pretty lame (Pricks) considering the cost and the product 'claims'. Anyway have gone back to the Impacts and though they are chunky & heavy, they remain the best shoes out there for flat pedals fitted with gnarly pins.
  • 2 0
 I recently got a pair of these, my very 1st dedicated bike shoes...i really Really REALLY didn't want to pay this kind of money for bike shoes (£90) but not much choice around.
I must say the grip is great compared to what i was used to and quality seems ok, but if they dont last me a good few yrs ill be pissed.
Also i agree on there needs to be more compertion, the grippy soles are the sole (lol) reason i spent this amount of money on these but for sure £30 max is all they're worth or any bike shoe.

Peace
  • 1 0
 After 4 pairs of Five Tens, I went for a clipless shoe. I'm between sizes in 5.10s, the toebox has always felt too big for me, and the pins of my flat pedals tend to destroy the sole much quicker than the shoe. The lace cover on these new ones is something I wish all my old shoes would have had.
  • 1 0
 How can you be between sizes, if the difference in sizes is 5mm?
  • 1 0
 @karoliusz: it's enough to were on the smaller size the end of my middle toe rubs bad on the seam at the end of the toe box. On the next size up, it feels loose so I have to use an insole. It's the same for all 3 versions of freeriders that i own, so it's definitely the sizing of the last that 5.10 uses.
  • 1 0
 how stiff of a shoe is it? I had the Line Kings for a year and some change and felt like they were not stiff. Especially coming from the Impacts. I recently started wearing the Freeride Contacts and like the stiffness, but I prefer the last of the Line Kings. Looks like a similar last to these.

Also, I went to 5.10 site to see the other color. As gross as it is, I'd probably go with that yellow. Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Pretty happy with mine after running them for about a month. I did clip my foot against a tree mind and the stitching came loose on the toe, but a dab of glue fixed that. Way better than my impact vxi's held out though.
  • 2 0
 I second that chadxhollywood. Been running my pair for a month and they have been great for both DH and trail riding. Been caught in huge spring showers and they have stayed bone dry. Easy to clean and they don't take days to dry. And I really like the flourescent yellow / rave pattern!
  • 1 0
 thanks for the heads up, i was just looking at these the other day. gonna pull the trigger.
  • 1 0
 I just got a pair the other week and I have to say they're pretty awesome. The color does leave something to be desired though, making them a bit dorky wearing them not for riding. But thats why I have a pair of normal Freeriders as well. On longer trail rides the stiffer sole is more noticeable, more power transfer/comfort in the long run. Plus the waterproofing has been awesome with the two weeks of rain we've had here on the east coast. Cheers guys.
  • 1 0
 Hey 5.10 wearers - curious: how does their sizing compare to Vans? I have an opportunity to get a free pair of standard Freeriders but I don't know if 11.5 is the same in 5.10 as it is in Vans. I always wore Half Cabs.....thx
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades I wear the same size Vans and 5.10. Size 11.5 as well FWIW.
  • 1 0
 New Freeriders run narrow. Can't say how they compare to vans.
  • 1 1
 @BuckNasty44904: new freeriders do not run narrow, it's been the same for years. The change is all in your head.
  • 1 0
 When the soles of my Shimano AM41's wear beyond use, I'm going to slap on the Stealth rubber sole kit to them. These look like some backburner prototype from before the Adidas acquisition that some business hat decided would be a good idea to sell to us for max profit. Put some effort.
  • 4 1
 Lace covers on a set of Freeriders - great idea! I would be ordering pair now..... if I was blind. Jog on 5.10
  • 4 1
 Horrible colors. I've slogged my old freerider's out but I'll push them a bit more till 5.10 bring some better colors out.
  • 2 0
 "and while you kind of have to hate anyone who’d actually weigh a pair of shoes" - I think that line won the internet for today. Congratulations!
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know how long these take to dry out? The reason I don't like the original suede Freeriders is because once wet, they would literally take days to dry out, even when placed in front of a fire.
  • 1 0
 If they have a subdued colorway, I will replace my current freeriders. I have been looking for a pair with the smooth middle of the VXI and Contacts. I have also been looking for lace covers.
  • 3 0
 If you look at them through old red/blue 3D glasses they turn into FLYING UNICORNS........which is nice!
  • 2 0
 The only reason I've been using Freeriders for years is because they didn't have that daft looking flappy thing on the front ....
  • 2 0
 +1 That man!
  • 3 1
 Only two colorways? And both in attention seeking enduro colors? darn, cool as usual otherwise.
  • 4 0
 Other Colors?
  • 6 0
 Vernon hid that info in the pattern of the letters above...
  • 4 0
 Very, very ugly.
  • 3 1
 Lace covers - honestly? I just tuck my laces in to the shoe either side of my foot. Never come out.
  • 2 0
 This guy seems to have a serious shoelace issue. Like half of the article is about how shoelace failures are major concern. I'm guessing his knots don't hold and untied laces gets caught.
  • 3 0
 Seizure inducing shoes... Wonderful
  • 1 0
 I've switched to wearing basketball shoes that are on sale at Khols. Much much cheaper. Although i do look like Dr. Thackery when i ride.
  • 3 0
 Is it wrong that I'd rather have the shirt than the shoes?
  • 2 0
 I think the colour is rad! Will go with my free flowing open Hawaiin shirt. Live a little! Gosh.
  • 3 0
 I wish there were more companies putting out good flat pedal shoes.
  • 1 0
 Lace covers! That's why I've always like the Shimano AM41, a pair of which can now be had for as little as $50, since Shimano's phasing that line out.
  • 1 1
 the ugliest f*cking shoes ever. if they dropped the price i would still rather put it towards parts or that novel i always wanted to write. p.s. eat my ass #ass has been eaten
  • 1 0
 these shoes make me cringe like i smelled two week old chinese food covered in fritos and smothered over crusty gym sock ball sweatage
  • 1 0
 "so I’ll stop wanking on about the soles now."

I know I'm late to the party here but, do you know what wanking actually is?



An English person.
  • 2 0
 Entire review is good... Last and most important sentence has a typo
  • 2 1
 Is it just me or does anyone else find the Stealth Phantom sole wears out FASTER than the S1? That's what I've noticed
  • 2 0
 Make bigger sizes please!
  • 1 0
 I second that.. no love for the big man... need a size 15 for my son!
  • 3 0
 @R4Squares: And wide - my feet aren't all that long (11.5 or 12 will do fine), but I'm wearing 13s just to reduce the pinching a bit (I wear a 4E in New Balance and similar brands where widths are available). That makes the shoe not quite right - the arch support is in the wrong place and all that, plus there's all this extra shoe hanging over the front.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: I imagine that you r some kind of a bigfoot or sasquach.
unfortunetely i think that u better get "sur mesure" clothing the reason being
that it is not profitable for a company to mfg over or under size apparels.
  • 1 0
 @dxfox: new balance has made a pretty good business out of selling shoes in different widths. You'd be surprised how many people with wide feet there are.
  • 2 0
 Alternative to 5tens??? cause i think there's nothing else available
  • 2 4
 Let face it, ALL cycling specific shoes will never be cool outside our sport. I think it was actually oakley who first used stealth rubber on soles back in the 90's. (yes they made shoes) I'm going to stick with a cheap pair of skate shoes for riding as the grip is good enough and I don't care how fast they wear out. Plus most 5.10s have a sort of 'special needs' look with their chunky soles.
  • 2 0
 The current freerider looks like a casual shoe as it is, nothing chunky looking about them, not sure what you're talking about. Go ahead and continue to think your skate shoes have the same grip though. Hahaha "good enough" is something a child would say.
  • 1 0
 @andnyleswillriot: yeah I admit the new freeride ones look better (well the sole at least) (also I didn't say the grip on my skate shoes was the same) Most of the riding I do is in cities and changing shoes after short rides is not something I can be bothered with. Having said that the only cycling attire I ever wear is a helmet and gloves, I wear casual clothes for my daily rides. My main objection is being pressured to get more stuff that I don't really need for a hefty price.
  • 2 0
 Well if you're mostly riding around town in casual clothes I hardly think you're the target market here. These are pretty clearly dedicated TRAIL riding flat-pedal shoes. So I really don't even think five ten is considering you a potential customer for this product, much less pressuring you to do anything @djm35

And while most cycling performance clothing will never be cool outside of cycling (like fishing or backpacking or curling or most smaller specialized sport/hobby clothes will also never be a fashion statement) I would say there is more interesting stuff coming out of cycling nowdays than usual...
most interestingly, Oakley, the very company you mention, might have started with moto but developed in part through involvement with BMX and later road cycling, and has had a huge impact on fashion and performance eyewear.
  • 2 0
 My 5-10 Karvers are a cross between orthopedic shoes, moon boots & are damn heavy and according to the mrs look like special shoes........ with that said they are very grippy and provide amazing ankle support so there's the trade off I guess.
  • 2 0
 @dontcoast: Good point, (I also ride trails when I can but keep it casual) Anyway, I don't think its fair to compare our sport with the ones you mentioned, because mtb is meant to be an extreme sport (inherently cool) and should be compared with surfing and skating, both of which have impacted youth fashion trends. I also think that brands like TLD and Fox with a moto inspired background have given themselves wider target markets with their approach and Five Ten could do the same.
  • 2 0
 @djm35: personally I don't care for Fox or TLD's design tastes, and while they do go after a bigger target market I think that in fact this is Five Ten's way of being more moto-loud.

Speaking of crossover "cool" action sports companies, I gotta say Dakine's been offering a good balance of loud and understated including in MTB.
  • 2 0
 The percentage on the shirt is about right.
  • 3 2
 Thank you for the well written review Mr. Felton, nice balance of experienced observation and humor!
  • 2 0
 "You never get off the bike and push? You’re a liar." Nice...
  • 2 0
 Do or Die by a pair of Canvas Vans.
  • 3 0
 Clown Shoes!
  • 1 0
 I'm digging em! My kit is all black, I could use a dash of color... The yellow collorway would go nice with my commencal.
  • 1 0
 Do they make them in black?
If i owned a purple plastic Bronson i would have to have these shoes!
  • 1 0
 Damn, now I need to buy these and bring my rainbow iridium Oakley Blades out of retirement.
  • 1 0
 Love my Five Tens! Won't wear anything else Big Grin
  • 4 3
 I had no idea who Vernon Felton was, but I like him.
  • 1 0
 IT HAS STRIPES, ADIDAS STRIPES !!!
  • 1 0
 I like the colours of them, maybe i'm just an odd one
  • 1 0
 Cool t shirt. ......dodgy beard!
  • 1 0
 " kvetching"...........nice touch!
  • 2 1
 neat.......
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