Review: Five Ten Hellcat Pro Clipless Shoes

Dec 20, 2022
by Henry Quinney  
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Five Ten may have made a name for themselves in mountain biking with their ultra-grippy flat pedal shoes, but they've also been making clipless shoes for some time, too. While they may not have the market cornered to quite the same extent, Five Ten is definitely one of the larger players, and they benefit from having some of the fastest riders in the world riding their kit - flat pedals or not.
Hellcat Pro Details
• Laces and strap for foot security
• Stealth Marathon sole
• Sizes: 4-15
• Weight: 473 grams (per shoe, size 11)
• MSRP: $180 USD
www.adidas.com

The Hellcat is a model name you may also be familiar with. The Hellcat has been around since the mid-2010s and has seen several stages of refinement. This latest version is yet another sleeker and more minimalist version of the previous version reviewed in 2018. In the Hellcat range, the Pro denotes a slightly lighter and more streamlined model compared to the standard Hellcat.

It seems mountain bike shoes are in a constant state of flux - each new generation seems to get rid of a few millimeters of sweat-hugging, water-holding unnecessary foam to give something lighter, better fitting, and ultimately smaller in profile. The Hellcat Pro is definitely in this vein. In some ways, they're a hybrid between the Kestral model and the Hellcat of old. Five Ten say it's around 14% lighter than the previous model.

However, there is a lot that is still the same, too. You will immediately recognize the outer sole to be Five Tens' famous Stealth Rubber in its polka-dot pattern, although this is the slightly harder compound that they refer to as their Marathon rubber. This might not be the most vital feature on a shoe designed to be ridden with clips, and one may well wonder if it would not be better suited to have some kind of ramping or edges for better traction off the bike, but then again, it's Five Ten's recipe for success and I can't imagine them changing away from it anytime soon on their all-out gravity products.

Adidas says that "20% of pieces used to make the upper are made with minimum 50% recycled content". Before you ask, that isn't a direct quote from Brian Fantana but it may as well be.

The shoes are available in US men's sizes 4 – 15, and have a retail price of $180 USD.

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A mesh panel helps the shoes run cool
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The velcro is still going as strong as day one.

Comfort & Fit

As a shoe that is aimed at the downhill market, it's great that it's also made with general riding in mind. This is a shoe that is probably better described as suitable for mountain biking, rather than any one particular discipline. Gone are the goofy looks or needless bulk - this is a shoe for pedaling or descending.

The fit of the shoes is around the middle of the spectrum when it comes to width. The laces definitely hold your foot adequately, and the strap across the top of the shoe really wasn't needed. In fact, to use it as a security aid would actually be less comfortable and it clamped down on my foot arch almost too effectively at what it was intended to do. Instead, I found it a neat and tidy place to store laces. It's also worth saying that for a company that primarily makes shoes, it's interesting to see most of their laces snap far earlier than any other brand of shoes I've ever had in a nearly inexplicable manner. Luckily, the Hellcat's laces haven't yet suffered that fate.

Overall I would describe the fit as supported, very secure, and comfortable. There is enough stiffness for pedaling, but also enough flex so there isn't even a hint of heel lift, whether on the bike or off it.

There is plenty of protection on from the TPU toe-box that extends around the front and side of the foot, reaching well beyond your little toe. The heel box is similarly generous in terms of coverage. The side of the shoe has mesh panels to aid cooling, and I would say that these shoes run cooler on hot days than some other gravity-orientated models.


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I use the metal shim provided to help tailor pedal feel.
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The low-cut ankle gives lots of freedom, which might not be for everyone.

Performance

The Hellcat strikes a nice blend between stiffness and comfort. Yes, you can still hike in them with plenty of flex in the foot, but under power transfer on a platform-clipless pedal, there is still more than enough stiffness. The weight of the shoe is good too.

I'm still surprised to be putting my cleats are far back as possible into my gravity shoes. It feels like I've been doing this for at least ten years and I think that a lot of other riders do too. The only shoe I've ever had that I maximum-rearward was too much was the Bontrager Rally. Even so, it was nice to have the option of a more rearward position, even if I chose not to utilise it.

Some may want slightly more coverage over the inner ankle but personally, I liked the freedom afforded by a lower cut.

Issues

The shoes were going very well until the front edge of the outer sole began to detach on one of the shoes during an up-hill scramble. After some glue they've been holding firm for a while, but it was a little concerning. I think a lot of people can just about come to terms with spending nearly two hundred dollars on a shoe to get muddy and clamber over rocks, but for that price you'd hope for better build quality - even if it was an easy fix. Would it stop me from recommending them? Absolutely not - but I would also recommend some Shoe Goo in the same breath.

If this did happen, the shoes would be covered under their normal 12-month warranty.

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The sole began to detach.
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I know there are more expensive shoes, but for $180 you'd hope for better.



Pros

+ Light weight and versatile
+ Ample heel and toe protection
+ Secure and comfortable fit

Cons

- Some may wish for a raised section for ankle protection
- Strap was easy to overtighten
- Build quality not what it could be




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Hellcat Pro is a solid shoe for somebody that isn't interested in having special shoes depending on which bike you're riding - and that's exactly as it should be. Pedalers need good-fitting protective shoes too, and downhillers need cool running light ones. I really like the Hellcat Pro, but sadly the outer sole detaching makes me fall short of giving them a ringing endorsement. If you're happy with a DIY fix though then I think they're great shoes.  Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
325 articles

76 Comments
  • 89 6
 I think at this point it’s fair to say the quality took a huge hit when adidas took over. Five tens used to be bomber for years and now they fail within 6 mo to a year if you use them even moderately. Super bummer, I miss the old five ten brand ethos. And they don’t even give shop pro deals like they used to.
  • 21 31
flag dresendsit (Dec 20, 2022 at 9:19) (Below Threshold)
 Disagree. I've had the last few versions of this shoe and the Adidas ones are my favorite. Mine are more worn than Henry's and do not have the detaching sole issue. Meanwhile my prior gen version that wasn't Adidas had an issue where the heal was basically falling apart. Comfort and fit on the Adidas is better than prior gen too IMO.
  • 5 1
 Yeah, right, somehow in the golden 5.10 era the most common advice was not to buy 5.10 models which didn't have sole sewn on a full length ... Nothing really happened in this regard, but new shoes are more synthetic and do not soak water like sponges. Original freeriders lasted a season or two anyway, cause the rubber was dead and the state of the upper did not matter. My EPS had rubber sole uglued from factory. Let's make it clear, the only reason people tolerated 5.10 was the rubber, everything else was sh*t.
  • 3 0
 Not typically a Shimano flat shoe fan, but the older-style Shimano GR7 with Michelin soles are up there with my pre-Adidas Five Tens. I fully endorse the GR7 if you can find still find a pair. The new model doesn't have the same sole.
  • 1 0
 Bought the impact vxi with mi6 sole a few years ago, after 9 months the shoe was like new but the sole was lost somewhere in the trails.
  • 2 0
 cannot agree more, pre-Adidas purchase my freeriders pro lasted 3 years, and the same model with the Adidas logo lasted 6 months...
  • 8 0
 @lkubica: Just an FYI to all, I've been able to re-sole my flat pedal shoes (Adidas Terrex Trailcross) at a local cobbler with vibram soles. It's cheaper than buying a brand new pair of shoes, reduces waste that contributes to pollution, and you get vibram sole quality. While it's only slightly less durable, it's still pretty damn sticky imo.
  • 3 0
 Meh, the rivets on inside of two different part of Kestrels within the first week, and this was all pre-adidas.
  • 14 0
 I see a lot of people blaming adidas for Five Ten's quality issues. They've been run by adidas for longer than people think. They only started co-branding a few years ago, but I don't necessarily think these complaints are accurate given it's been 11 years under adidas ownership.

It was likely a shift in manufacturers/materials over the years.

From adidas' website: "adidas bought the Five Ten brand in 2011"
  • 1 0
 What "ethos"?
The soles of my 15yr old 5 10's peeled off within weeks of purchase and despite shoving in two pair of insoles they were waffer thin underfoot.
Imo product was designed for a short life based on the manufacturers assessment of its unsophisticated target market.
  • 2 1
 My first pair from five ten lasted 3 years. Last 2 pairs from adidas only lasted 6-8 months.
  • 2 0
 >> Build quality not what it could be

Build quality (and prices) not what they used to be. You reap what you sow; there's lots of competition with decent grippy rubber now and more competitive pricing, so good job Adidas.
  • 2 0
 Ten Ten. 10 pairs over 10 years and the soles fell off all of them, at least once. Lots of contact adhesive repairs.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, I like the Hellcat Pros but my old Impacts were better, lasted four seasons. You use less materials, decrease durability (same sole issue), add lower quality branding and charge more, what the hell. Also, with Impacts you got two laces, red and black. Granted, a small touch but it's all important in these top-of-the-range products.
  • 2 0
 @robomatic: But the only reason to buy them was the stealth rubber. Seems like you're mating a suboptimal sole to a poorly constructed shoe?
  • 2 0
 @dancingwithmyself: My adidas are a few years old and were purchased before the merger. Aside from the rubber wearing, the rest of the shoe is excellent including the mid-sole (shank?). It's very stiff, and definitely saved my foot getting crushed a few times from odd pedal strikes or crashes. Maybe mine came from before all the cost-cutting measures were put in place.

Regardless, if you've got a pair of shoes you want to keep and the only issue is the sole, then getting them re-soled is an option to look into.
  • 1 0
 @robomatic: I absolutely agree on resoling. It kills me to throw away otherwise fine freerider pros (sometimes the shoe isn't falling apart by the time the sole is chewed up). But I'm probably too (unjustifiably) picky to forgo stealth rubber. With the rise in environmental consciousness in cycling, I've never understood how shoe manufacturers get away with not offering a resoling program.
  • 15 0
 So why, with gravity oriented shoes is the cleat box still so far forward? Does anyone here actually use the most forward position of these shoes? I suspect not... so maybe these show makers need to take a hint and move them back?

@henryquinney: I think this deserves a poll!
  • 2 1
 I use a middle position (more forward biased) on mine, because I use them as an all around shoe.
  • 1 0
 @AddisonEverett: Yes middle, but not the most forward.
  • 2 1
 @islandforlife: it's more forward that you would think, not completely slammed forward, but at least 3/4s of the way up from the back. Directly under the ball of my foot,
  • 1 0
 @AddisonEverett: Yep, but not slammed. The point is, I've never heard of or met anyone that uses them slammed forward. While most people are either slammed rearward or close or middle. Ergo... the box could easily be moved backwards and give more flexibility for most riders. You might end of being slammed forward but your needs are still met. Seems like lots of riders needs aren't being met currently.
  • 12 0
 I got through 3 pairs of these and the sole went on the right shoe every time within about 12 weeks, the exact same as the pics in this review. Adidas were quick to warranty them every time but when they offered me a 4th pair I declined, got the money back and went for Crankbrothers.. Shame, the shoes were good, but a big flaw on the quality!
  • 3 0
 Same story here. Used the shoes for 1 season and the rubber started peeling off the toe. Exact same as the pictures in the review. I just sent them back to Adidas for warranty.
  • 1 0
 Ditto. Right shoe, sole started peeling off at the toe. Like Henry, I successfully repaired it with Shoe Goo. But I won't be buying them again. Adidas, get your sh!t together.
  • 8 0
 Someone needs to talk to the right shoe factory manager
  • 1 0
 quick - let's look for causal factors: which foot forward?
  • 2 0
 Got these about a year ago and the sole on one shoe peeled back on the first ride (almost biffed). Shoe glued it back and fine since, including the other shoe. Also had to extreme shim the cleats with washers(!) to get the release just so on Shimano XTs and Nukeproof Horizons. Otherwise virtually perfect for hardcore trail and park. Fit, protection (many rock strikes have knocked the shoes from the pedals without consequence) looks (for a clipless shoe), ventilation, wet weather performance and pin grip on the Horizons when unclipped as well as longevity - apart from some pin scratching on the sole they’re almost as new after countless hours. Guess the odour is my own issue! Will buy again
  • 1 0
 Mine too
  • 7 0
 i have to congratulate mr Quinney for his honesty!!!

Indeed the quality has taken the downroad since Adidas took over. I had the same problem with my Hellcats and my Kastrel. And lost some pieces of the rubber from my trailcross on the first month of usage.

Fiveten? never again. There are other brands out there as well. Why not Shimano, O'Neal etc ? Half the price but not half the quality.
  • 6 0
 Switched to Specialized and Crank Brothers (sale $ dependent) clipless shoes for the better build quality and no issues with either pair. FiveTen was my go-to until the entire sole ripped off from a pedal strike.
  • 6 0
 "Before you ask, that isn't a direct quote from Brian Fantana but it may as well be." Is one of the funnier lines I've read in a review lol
  • 4 0
 Made me chuckle for sure.

20% of the time, it's recycled half of the time.
  • 1 0
 @exastronaut: Maybe. but is that 20% by weight? volume? count? and it's only the uppers. It could be "We reuse the eyelets on the right shoes; that's why those ones always fail"
  • 5 0
 my old Minnaar Hellcat is still going strong after years and years of abuse and neglect. go home adidas, you are drunk.
  • 3 0
 Adidas 5/10s don't last a season for me at this point, the quality is not there. Granted, not all 5/10s from back in the day were stellar, though in general, i didn't have tearing or delaminating.
  • 1 0
 Question for commenters: what's everyone's favorite lightweight DH-style shoe?

Considering going back to clips for the first time in years, and even though I'm a known Freerider Pro evangelist, I want something a little nicer than the Hellcats if possible. Not a Specialized fanboy, but the 2FO ClipLite (new version) is the current frontrunner. Curious if there are similar options I'm overlooking that are comfortable, protective, reasonably stiff, AND actually hold up.
  • 3 0
 Look at ride Concepts - their Tallac looks sweet. That being said I have specialized 2FO DH and I am pretty happy with them. I have the 2FO Cliplite. I like them but they could use a couple improvements. 1. No armoring in the toe. 2 no vents on the shoe.
  • 3 0
 I've had good luck with Shimano AM9s. Have almost 3000 miles on them and just needed the first bit of shoe goo around the cleat channel.
  • 2 0
 I really like my 2FOs. They're light and drain really well .
  • 2 0
 Shimano AM9s rock stiff soles, have great underside rubber, and I really appreciate the neoprene gator that keeps debris out of my shoes. Pretty durable all the way around as well. Had mine for a season, and would've kept riding with them, but I replace my shoes annually because they start getting funkaaay after about that long.
  • 1 0
 Totally forgot about the AM9s. Thank you all for the suggestions and input!
  • 1 0
 When did adidas take over?

I’ve had a pair of hellcats for probably 5ish years and their soles are still in good shape / shoe isn’t falling apart.

I always hear the comments about the Delaminating sole but somehow I got lucky I guess?

I love the shoes personally. Somehow they’re the same price as when I bought them as well…I guess they were already massively overpriced. I thought that at the time I bought em at least lol.

I ride probably on average 3days a week FYI and socal conditions so they are always dry.
  • 3 0
 Looks like the merger happened in 2011, but to my recollection the Adidas logo didn't start being used (it's right at the top of the heel cups on the Hellcats) until 3 or 4 years ago. It seems like the major changes in manufacturing coincided with the Adidas logos being added.
  • 2 0
 It's a design flaw that causes the delamination, the tread piece that comes off is simply glued on at the bottom and the seam is in a spot that kicks into rocks a lot when walking. If they would have made the tread one piece that extended over the toe like the other shoes then it wouldn't delaminate. The regular hellcats do this and are also stitched on, so they dont delaminate.
  • 2 0
 @barp: interesting. Yes you’re right, mine DO NOT have the adidas logo.

That’s lame…I like these shoes a lot and would buy another pair.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: I have the current version of them and have never had any problems. Mine have been great
  • 1 0
 @AddisonEverett: good to know thanks!

I may consider the new specialized dh shoes, they looked nice too.

we’ll see…hellcats still going strong. Kind of crazy, I guess SoCal weather is nice to gear.
  • 1 0
 @dividebyzero: you’re right, my hellcats are stitched and have a one piece tread. f*ck. Sucks they move away from that design.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the very helpful review. I love wearing downhill shoes for everyday mountain biking. I'll take some armoring and a stiffer more protective sole over less weight and more flimsiness any day. These look pretty ideal, a downhillish shoe that scaled back to include more regular riding. Definitely going to try a pair of these on.
  • 1 0
 I am not the most knowledgeable about shoes, but in my experience XC/trail shoes will have much stiffer soles than a DH shoe. FYI.
  • 1 0
 I got these from my local adidas outlet for half the price. These are my first clipless shoes. Paired with the nukeproof horizon cl dh pedals, i backed off the pins using washers leaving about 2 mm of pin. It still chew up the stealth rubber sole.
  • 2 0
 Id recommend the Giro Chamber 2 for a hefty DH shoes, had mine for 3 seasons lots of abuse, walking and covered in mud washed and left on boot dryers for 24 hours with no issues yet.
  • 1 0
 I got about 2 weeks before the sole delaminated in the same place. There's also a really painful pressure point at the top of the foot when walking in them. They look good and I liked the weight and stiffness but I sent them back because of the delamination (luckily it happened before the 30 day return)
  • 1 0
 My go to shoe for everything except flats. Light, stiff, protective and you can slam the cleat pretty damn far back. Better, lighter and more protective than the Kestrel; fits better and lighter than any of the Ride Concepts shoes; better connection with the pedal than the 2fo.
  • 1 0
 Build quality not what it could be …On a 250$ shoes? Hard fvcking pass.The bike industry is seriously gonna need to re-adjust its priorities quick.With global economy in the tank and a rapidly degrading industry, its going to become increasingly more difficult for companies to sell their products for top dollars if the quality doesnt match the price
  • 1 0
 I had the same issue with my Hellcats (which I loved) until the tip of the sole started to come out after only 6 rides. The sole around the cleat box was also completely riped off by the pins of my CrankBros DH clipless pedals and came out too. I had several pairs of every model of 5.10 and can feel a difference in quality since Adidas took over. The most solid so far have been the kestrels (boa version)
  • 1 0
 Can confirm after having two pairs of Hellcats that the new shoes do not hold up as well as the older models. New model soles peeled after one season whereas the old soles outlasted the cleat mounting plates (after several years of mild riding and plenty hike-a-bikes). Both shoes are incredibly comfortable and provide tons of toe protection. Little bit tougher to dial in with crank bros. pedals vs shimano pedals.
  • 2 0
 Mine just ripped apart at the sole 2 months in, just unglue at the shaft for a 180 shoe it is not ok to just fall apart.
  • 1 0
 Why are people buying Five Ten for clipping in? Always seemed really dumb to me. Five Ten is stealth rubber. That's the one and only reason to buy them.
  • 2 0
 I love Kenda HellKats... 510 should make a HellCat... I guess...
  • 1 0
 How do they work with Shimano pedals?
The old 2017 pros did not work with Shimano, sole was way too soft.
  • 1 0
 It's hard to say because I feel like the platform height varies so much. These shoes didn't feel great with the Saint pedals, but then again not much does because the cleat mechanism sits too proud compared to the platform. I normally have more success in terms of feel with the trail models of Shimano pedals, which have around a 1mm lower differential between mechanism and platform, however, I didn't get a chance to use any with this shoe sadly. With the Mallets, both DH and enduro, they're great though. Thanks
  • 1 0
 They work fine with M520s and M540s on my bikes. I haven't tried them with a downhill style pedal to check the clearances, but no complaints about stiffness from me.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: thanks!
I am on AM5s now, but I miss the soft rubber of the Fivetens when walking/hiking.
  • 1 0
 Why is it always the right shoe??? It's not like a moto where the feet do different things? it doesn't make sense...
  • 2 0
 Had 2 pairs have this happen. Adidas refused warranty. Sucks.
  • 2 1
 But are they better than Velosambas?
  • 1 0
 Depends if you're out on the trails or mincing about Shoreditch.
  • 1 0
 Stiffness-wise how do these compare to the Kestral?
  • 3 0
 I haven't ridden the Kestral personally so I wouldn't say. However, they provide a similar stiffness to the Shimano GR9 or Crankbrothers Mallet. That said, that was all using Mallet pedals with have a large platform to begin with.
  • 2 0
 A lot less stiff (sole) than the Kestrels which I found too stiff for walking.
  • 1 0
 The Kestrels are waayyy stiffer (and heavier) than the Hellcats (but the sole doesn't come out)
  • 1 3
 The larry colored mom is fine for the bring us!! Make sense?
  • 1 0
 nope







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