Review: Specialized 2FO Roost vs Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid Flat Pedal Shoes

Jan 11, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
A few months ago we published a roundup of 11 new flat pedal shoes, and there are already more to add to the list. The focus of this review is on the new Specialized 2FO Roost and Pearl Izumi's X-Alp Launch Mid WRX, with comparisons to Five Ten's classic Freerider Pro, a worthy benchmark in this category.



Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid WRX


Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid WRX review


On paper, the X-Alp Launch looks like a flat pedal aficionado's dream shoe. The mid-top design provides extra ankle protection and support, and instead of laces there's a BOA dial that's used to cinch everything down, along with a velcro upper strap.

The Cordura fabric used on the outside of the shoe has been treated to repel water, and Pearl Izumi's WRX membrane adds another layer of water resistance. Goodyear created the rubber used for the sole, and Pearl Izumi added their chevron shaped tread pattern for on- and off-bike traction.
Details

• BOA fit system
• Water resistant Cordura
• Goodyear rubber sole
• Weight: 467 grams (size 45.5, per shoe)
• MSRP: $175 USD
pearlizumi.com

Traction: Just how sticky are the X-Alp Launch shoes? Unfortunately, the answer is 'not very.' On rough trails my feet had a tendency to get bounced around, even when I was using some of the grippiest pedals on the market.

The rubber itself isn't that sticky compared to the slower rebounding compounds used by Five Ten or Specialized. In addition, the tread pattern isn't that deep, which means the pedal pins don't have a secure channel to settle into, and when you add mud into the mix the level of traction drops even further.

Fit: The level of grip may not have been as high as I'd hoped, but luckily the fit and finish of these shoes is excellent. They worked very well with my average width, flattish feet, although riders with wider or higher volume feet may find themselves looking for a little more room. For how much coverage they provide they don't feel clunky or cumbersome at all, and the sole is stiff enough for longer rides without foot pain, while remaining flexible enough for walking around. If I had to nitpick, I'd like to see the toe box reinforced even further, and the ankle strap could be moved down just a little bit lower, but those are relatively minor details – the overall quality of these shoes is very high.

Function: There's been no shortage of wet weather lately, and I've lost count of how many puddles these were dunked in weeks ago. The X-Alps do a great job of keeping water out, and they clean off easily after a muddy ride. They're quick dying, too, and one round on the boot dryer was all it ever took to make sure they were ready for another round.



Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid WRX review
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Mid WRX review

Pros
+ Lightweight and very comfortable
+ Mid-top design provides extra ankle protection
+ Water resistance is useful on wet rides

Cons
- Sole isn't as sticky as top contenders in this category
- Price is on the higher side




Specialized 2FO Roost


Specialized 2FO Roost shoe review


Specialized's new 2FO Roost shoes have low key, skate style look, with a simple lace up design. There's an elastic holder to keep the laces getting sucked into a chainring, but otherwise there aren't any details that immediately scream “These shoes are for riding my bike in the woods!” which is a good thing.

There are suede panels at the toe and heel, and leather on the sides. The sole is all-new – Specialized call it SlipNot SuperTacky, and it consists of hexagonal lugs that are spaced out in order to allow room for pedal pins. The rubber itself rebounds very slowly for additional grip.
Details

• SlipNot ST rubber sole
• Colors: black, oak
• Weight: 418 grams (size 45, per shoe)
• MSRP: $120 USD
specialized.com

Traction: It may seem silly, but there have been times when I've been legitimately worried about what would happen if Five Ten left the mountain bike world. There have been so many failed attempts by other brands to create their own sticky rubber that I considered stockpiling an assortment of Stealth rubber soled shoes, just in case. Luckily, Specialized's new 2FO Roost shoes have made it so I don't need to channel Imelda Marcos anytime soon.

There's as much, if not a little bit more grip than that of Five Ten's Freerider Pro shoes. That extra bit of grip comes down to the lug height – they're a little taller on the Specialized shoes, which helps create a very secure interface between the sole and the pedal's pins.

Fit: The Roost are nice and comfy, although the toe box was a little roomier than I would have preferred. I do have a lower volume foot, so that's not entirely out of the ordinary – a thicker insole took care of that. The overall stiffness is comparable to that of the Freerider Pro, which means there's enough support for longer rides, while still remaining flexible enough that you don't need to immediately remove them after a ride.

Function: The suede outer does tend to hold on to mud more than a smoother, less textured surface would, which is really my only gripe about these shoes. They don't ward off water like the Pearl Izumis do, but they also don't retain a ton of water and they dry pretty quickly.


Specialized 2FO Roost shoe review
Specialized 2FO Roost shoe review

Pros
+ Excellent traction
+ Reasonably priced

Cons
- Suede outer is hard to keep clean
- Roomy forefoot may not suit all riders



Flat pedal shoe review

Editor's Choice

If I had to choose between the Freerider Pro, 2FO Roost, and the X-Alp Launch Mid, I'd stick with the Freerider Pro, with the 2FO Roosts coming in an incredibly close second. The Freeriders fit my feet a little better, and there isn’t any suede to be seen. However, they do cost $30 more than the Roosts, at $150 vs $120. If I was on a budget, the Roosts would easily be my pick.

What about the X-Alp Launch Mid? I think Peal Izumi is onto something, and if they can just sort out the sole's rubber compound and tread pattern they'll have a real winner. I really like the extra protection of the mid-top design, and the same goes for the water resistant outer. The price is on the higher side, though, and fact that they don't provide enough grip for really rough trails puts them out of contention for me. However, they could work well for riders who would rather have an easier time repositioning their foot, and don't need the stickiest sole possible.







208 Comments

  • 84 1
 A blue shoe made for rallying in the woods called WRX....?

Warble...... Braaaaaaap!
  • 33 0
 With gold(ish) soles!
  • 15 0
 @bishopsmike: Semenuk to Pearl izumi?
  • 5 0
 haha, scooby for the win
  • 32 0
 all fun and games til your shoe blows a head gasket!
  • 5 0
 @Connerv6: or a boa chain
  • 5 0
 @fabwizard: non interference boa
  • 2 0
 Kyle just got excited
  • 4 0
 Needs red mud flaps
  • 6 0
 Just need to get yourself some unequal length laces.
  • 7 0
 @crazyXCsquirrel: And a vape in the glove box. Smile
  • 4 0
 maybe they should have put a yellow logo on them and called them "555's"...
  • 1 0
 @Lemke: North America only edition. Sorry, EU!
  • 1 1
 Sorry to be a downer, but could I get one in just black?
  • 5 0
 @me2menow: gotta wait for the cosworth
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: you can adjust the clutch tension on Shimano derailers
  • 1 0
 @me2menow: Shimano ME-7
  • 36 1
 I'm bummed to hear the grip on the Pearl Izumi's is poor. Finally a flat pedal shoe with some tech and not just another lace up skate shoe but it misses the mark where it matters the most Frown
  • 1 1
 I had a pair of the earlier X-Alp Launch lows (?) and had the opposite issue where the separate black rubber compound under the ball of the foot provided excellent grip, but wore out in just 3 months of riding. Interesting to see they changed that up with the mids.
  • 2 0
 I hear you friend. Its a bummer these soles are not that great. It seem that these rubber companies like Goodyear and Michelin produce only average at best soles for mtb shoes. One day the perfect shoe will make itself known!
  • 2 0
 Yep, I liked everything about them but the level of grip was just completely unusable for me. Now I'm waiting for a Gen 2 or that new Trailcross GTX that is taking forever to come out. No one seems to be able to make a shoe that hits all the marks.
  • 5 1
 I have Vaude AM Moab with boa and prefer them over my 510 Freeriders. Don’t take half the forest back home in my shoes... also nice ankle support and good grip.
  • 2 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: Agreed. I like my 510 mid-top shoes, but I do seem to empty a lot of dirt out of them after every ride.
  • 27 0
 Suede and Mtn biking go together like Crack and automatic weapons.
  • 40 0
 Perfectly???
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: perfectly, until not.
  • 21 0
 Let me just say that the new 2FO Roosts are the best mountain biking shoes I've worn. After years on Five Ten and trying other brands, these have really blown me away. In terms of grip, it's on par with the five ten impact pro's I was wearing before and in terms of comfort, they're easily the best I've worn. I used to have issues with my feet going numb on long climbs, not anymore with the Roosts. Longer days in the saddle are that much more enjoyable. I also enjoy the low key look of these. My only real gripe with them is traction when hiking on steep/loose surfaces, but other than that, these are killer.
  • 9 0
 @kev1n thanks for the insights - can you already say something about the durabilty of the sole? that's where i was really disappointed w/ the freeride pro...
  • 3 0
 @weeesel: following, durability is my gripe too
  • 6 0
 Also keen to know about how quickly the spesh shoes dry. My current 5.10s seem to hold more water than my bath does and seemingly never fully dry between rides.
  • 1 0
 @weeesel: Only had them for about a month or so - but holding just fine for now with my Oneup pedals
  • 2 0
 @nickism: it doesn’t help ref draining but I dry my pair on top of my combi boiler, they dry put much quicker than paper and radiator etc, plus smells a lot less
  • 1 0
 How is the fore foot sizing? I currently have a eu45 5.10 trailcross and forefoot section is too tight, if these are wider i would love to buy one
  • 6 6
 How much is Sinyard paying you???
  • 4 0
 @Noeserd: my foot seems wider than long. Tough finding flat pedal shoes. Flip flops for life
  • 1 1
 @donpinpon29: trekking shoes for life
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: clearly not enough bahaha
  • 1 0
 @kev1n: Sure doesn't sound that way... lol
  • 3 1
 @whattheheel: maybe they are a good shoe? 510's suck so much longevity wise that they should be sold with shoe goo.
  • 1 0
 @Noeserd: I've got a pretty wide forefoot and the earlier 2F0s are the only flat I could find that really fit me well. Sounds like the Roosts have a similar shape.
  • 1 0
 @weeesel: The earlier 2F0s have held up great for me! 2 seasons out of each pair and it was just the sole getting dug out from the pins that finally finished them...
  • 2 0
 @nickism: I noticed a huge difference from 5.10s to my older 2F0s. The spesh shoes don't hold near as much water and dry out a lot faster
  • 1 0
 @railin: thanks for the info
  • 1 0
 @nickism: they dry very fast, my old carvers took about 2 days to dry on the heating, my new 2FO Roost dry within 1 night in the boiler room. actually there is not much foam to soak so its only logical they dry fast.

Gripwise they are almost too much of a good thing. I always tried to max out grip on flatpedals -lately getting the awesome chromag daggas as well, but with these shoes and pedals you can spin the pedal without pressure like you are clipped in. As a sideeffect it is possible to roll the pedal if you pedal wrong, i assume if you tilt the shoe forward the backpins just wont let go and flip the pedal over. So if the grip of 5.10s is a 10 they are probably at 12.
  • 1 0
 I just shove the hair drier in there turn it on high for 10 minutes each. Dry and crispy shoe ftw. Works on socks too. Life too short to put up with damp socks and shoes
  • 21 4
 Am I the only one who has no interest in boa for mtb shoes? Especially flats? I'm not anti-boa outright, it changed the game for snowboard boots, but I'm constantly adjusting the uppers/lowers of a boot between steeps, park, hiking, etc., and it's cold (duh) so being able to do it with gloves on is a huge score. Still love my trad laces for getting weird though.

What's the point with bike shoes? I'm genuinely curious, because laces have never gotten in the way of putting my shoes on, riding my bike, and taking my shoes off. What else are y'all doin' with these things?

Lace holders are dope tech though.
  • 5 0
 I agree with you. I guess the benefit is I can get the shoe on quicker? Other than that, it's a part with exposure to damage from impact that can't be repaired on trail. Risk isn't worth the reward for me.
  • 6 0
 Same. Give us lace covers!
  • 1 0
 I kinda felt the same way, but I've been on the WRX for a couple months now and it's actually really nice. Much easier to use than laces and the Shimano cinch string.
  • 5 3
 I prefer boa on all my shoes, mostly for the fact that I can get them tighter. It's also nice to take them on and off faster, but the main reason is it is easier to get a tighter shoe without hotspots and easily tighten or loosen the shoe if it gets uncomfortable. I'm even going to try to retrofit my everyday shoes with boa.
  • 5 0
 huh thanks, I've never felt like I needed my shoes to be tighter than comfortable for a performance gain (assuming that's the reason?), but to each their own. Maybe I've just been lucky with my foot-shoe combos and never think twice about it.

As someone who got used to years of $50 510s, I don't want to see all the decent options pumped full of "tech" I don't want.

Oh wait is this the bike industry?
  • 3 0
 @dirrrtbag: I can totally understand not wanting all shoes to be something crazy fancy, but we have no hightop, grippy boa option and lots of options for those wanting laces.

I may have phrased myself poorly. I don't want my shoes to be tighter than comfortable, but I find boa allows me to have them tighter while still being comfortable due to more even pressure distribution. Sort of like tightening a greased and dry bolt to the same torque. The greased one provides more clamping pressure even though they are the same tightness.

In my opinion having shoes as tight as comfortable is optimal: they feel lighter and more direct and have less heel rub.
  • 1 1
 I have the shimano GR9 with the weird lace system and guess what's failing? Yeah, can I just get some normal laces??? I love everything else about those but I wear my Freeride Pros now as I can tie them how I want them and they stay exactly where I tie them. The GR9's are 6 months old and pretty much worthless until I find a thin lace that I can replace the silly system it came with.
  • 4 0
 @photodog: warranty them.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: have a look at vaude AM Moab shoes then. I prefer them over 510 Freeriders. Good grip, boa, and in my opinion a comfortable shoe.
  • 1 0
 I have some 45Nrth Ragnaroks for my gravel bike in the cold and wet. I like the Boa there as it is a quick adjustment. Anything to avoid taking off the gloves helps in the cold. That said, I ride my 5.10s down to just below freezing if its dry and winter lace up hiking boots when it is colder or wetter and I don't find myself retying all that often. Boa has been pretty bomb-proof, but seems very difficult to fix if it fails, both long term and trailside. I would give it a go on on flat shoes, but not really seek it out as a necessary feature.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, personally I don't think they're all that. Have some shimano shoes and took a little tumble, like not even on the bike little, and snapped the cables. Bought some lace shoes because at least if I snap a lace they're easily replaceable.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: After writing this I got irritated and worked on making them work again. Managed to get a thin kevlar skate shoe lace through the little grommets and I'm good to go again. I didn't want to warranty as it would just go bad again and I wanted a permanent solution. A poor design imo.
  • 18 2
 Obligatory comment about Vans.
  • 38 0
 thats off the wall.
  • 4 0
 Maybe too Old Skool for some???
  • 12 0
 Just stop waffling on about it.
  • 3 0
 apparently they used to make an spd shoe, as I learned on Scotty Cramner's YT channel....https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Vans-warner-spd-shoes-2009.html
  • 14 0
 Vans are too flexible
  • 1 0
 @Spindelatron: the cleat was too far forward. Needed some tlc and diy
  • 2 0
 @gtill9000: i got my son vans bmx sole and they wore clean through in 4 months.
  • 2 0
 Anybody else remember their short lived Gravel sticky soled shoes circa 2012ish? Best flat shoe I’ve ever owned but like the wildly popular Warner spd shoe, they dropped them despite being awesome.
  • 10 0
 We need more mid/high to shoes!

I am not sure what I will do when my Sombrio Loam shoes finally die (if they ever do). I can't find another shoe that is high/mid top, has great grip, stitched on sole, and are fairly waterproof. @SombrioCartel please make these (or an equivalent) again
  • 3 0
 Check out Ride Concepts mid/high tops!
  • 2 0
 What are the benefits to mid/high tops mtb shoes? Is it protection or water proofing? When riding my 5.10s l personally never felt the need for high top shoes
  • 5 0
 @Thirty3: mostly ankle protection and support when crashing, etc., but also to get a little less dirt in your shoe, especially on loamy trails
  • 2 0
 Dude I am also holding onto my sombrio shazams with dear life. I cant believe theyve lasted all these years. I'd buy 3x over, wish I had at the time. The lace covers are super useful too, and I love the stiffness along with the ability to reposition my foot.
  • 1 0
 I was excited to try the Five Ten Trailcross XT because the midtop keep-rocks-out neoprene cuff thing seems great, but they.....decided not to sell them in the US apparently Frown
  • 2 0
 I don't really mind low top, but I would like a neoprene cuff or something to stop all the trail debris getting into my shoes. Even if it was just a bit of stretchy Lycra that you could cut out if you didn't like it. Oh, and a laces cover, as untying wet muddy laces at the end of a ride with cold fingers just sucks.
  • 1 0
 I would love an ankle height waterproof shoe with a sticky (5.10 sticky) flat sole. That would be amazing and really improve light winter to mid-cold fall and spring riding. Where I ride I am not worried about water coming in over the top of the shoe. I just want some decent toe coverage and wind blocking.
  • 10 2
 The biggest thing for me is longevity. Spending $125+ for shoes every year really bites. Old Five Tens were hard to kill and lasted 2+ years, but I've been struggling to get more than a year of solid performance. Any recommendations?
  • 25 22
 Seriously, that's an issue for you?

When I was running long distance, I burned through a pair of high end trail shoes every couple months, buying a pair of mtb shoes once a year is nothing.

I think we expect too much from a shoe. I'd take function over durability any day.
  • 17 3
 If durability is your main concern, go clipless. Clipless shoes last much longer, the wear item being a comparatively cheap cleat that is replaceable.
  • 9 1
 to be fair. the shoe is under some pretty extreme conditions getting shredded on metal pins and walking on rough rocky ground is pretty tough stuff for a shoe. so if you ride alot and the shoe performs every time i think a year is fair and theyre not that bad price wise
  • 6 0
 @nurseben: Try considering the long list of consumables for mountain biking versus the extremely short list for running. Comparably mountain biking is a very expensive sport and selecting items that last is very logical.
  • 7 0
 @nurseben: that might be true, but if the old shoes had the same grip with longer durability for lower prices, is it really asking too much when asking for the same durability again? Aren't things supposed to get better after further development, not worse? (Unfortunately the last question is rhetorical)
  • 3 0
 Addidas has a 2 year warranty. My old 5.10 freerider pros died about 1.5 years in (delaminated). I sent some pictures to addidas, they agreed to warranty, and now I have a new pair.

Not a perfect system, but at least they seem to be open to replacing defective product. Also the new pair has been seemingly more durable? We'll see.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: dude my shoes have lasted me 6 years so far, and they have all the function I need. Set the bar higher. You have to replace your chain, tires, and service your suspension annually too, so you cant really compare shoe wear to something basic like running.
  • 1 0
 In the old days, you'd take your shoes to the cobbler, and he'd just replace the sole. But decades of clever sports marketing has got us sheeple addicted to plastic landfill shoes.
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: I've been thinking about this a lot, and maybe you can answer some questions for me?

When you wore old shoes with longer durability, were you as good of a rider as you are now? Were you using pedals with as aggressive pins as you do now? Do you spend more or less time off the bike now?

I find that when I look back on how my gear used to last, I'm not remembering things correctly because I used to happily pedal my way through green and blue trails. Now I use the most aggressive pins on the market, ride much bigger features, and spend much more time off the bike re-building sections of trail or scrambling around scouting new lines. I think this has affected my judgement and I'm curious if you feel the same?
  • 1 0
 @Rudy2455: to be fair, I started riding flat pedals after people already started complaining about lowered durability. My first pair of Five Ten Freerider Canvas lasted a year of easy Dutch (=flat) trail riding once every week, one week long trip to Alpe d'Huez and one week of Leogang. Halfway through Leogang, they were practically worn out (huge holes in the sole). That's one year of very limited use and 2 weeks of heavier use. I'm a fairly novice rider, so relatively slow and easy on the gear. Pedals were the previous model Saints with the pins in the lower position (washers still installed).
Compare this with people writing about riding a couple of times a week on rougher trails and getting 2 years out of them, I'm not impressed. But to be honest, I never got to enjoy the supposedly more durable soles myself.
  • 12 1
 Is it that f*cking hard to make a flat pedal shoe that rivals FiveTen's grip, has ankle protection, and boa?
  • 2 0
 I'm bummed to hear this too. I've also seen others report back on the X-Alp with bad durability, both on the shoe's sole and the boa. I want to love this shoe so much. Five Ten just needs to put out one it seems.
  • 3 0
 @connorjuliusjohnson: I would disagree on the durability. I've got a lot of miles on mine between dh parks in the summer and all trail riding I've done and while they aren't new, I have very little wear on mine. The only real "issue" I've had is one of the loops for the Velcro strap tore slightly but that's because I took a slide on the side of my foot. No issues with the BOA so far.
  • 8 0
 Great comparisons. I really wanted the Launch to work for me, but on top of the issues Mike pointed out, I broke the crap out of them. Boa and both ankle straps all broke within 5 days of riding. Still holding out for a boa mid-top that works well.
  • 8 0
 For the love of god would one of these brands make a flat pedal shoe for winter. Jesus Suffering Christ I am this close to buying a pair of MW7’s and having them resoled!!
  • 1 0
 The closest we ever got was the freerider ELC, but they've stopped making it. Though, as it's a low top, it fills up with water running down my legs. I've even considered gaiters...
  • 1 0
 Check out Five Ten Freerider EPS. They've got primaloft. I can wear them down to about 15F without issues.
  • 1 0
 @ryan77777: I’m pretty sure they stopped making those this year. Most stores show them no longer available
  • 1 0
 @stuart70: yup, fiveten seem to be discontinuing all the "good stuff"...
  • 6 0
 For people with WIDE FEET check out the Specialized 2FO. They are the only flat pedal water resistant shoe I've found that has a big enough toe box for me (I usually run 2E width shoes/runners).
  • 2 0
 Thank you for the recommendation, I was literally just looking to see if 'wide feet' was mentioned in any way.
  • 4 0
 Interesting that makes them appealing, along with other things mentioned here. I have a wide foot, but have also found the free rider pros to be perfect, just wearing a 13 instead of my normal 12... Wide toe box sounds like such a gimmick until you actually experience it, which I have running in Altras, and just walking around in them too, the best feeling
  • 1 0
 *instead of my normal 12.5
  • 1 0
 Thanks, I've been looking for a wider five ten alternative for a while (Adidas doesn't sell them in Canada for some reason)
  • 1 0
 Man I got wide feet that also have a tall instep. Is that the case for you too? I have no found any wide enough shoes.
  • 1 0
 I must have tried on an odd pair because I could barely get my feet in. I typically wear 2E also.
  • 1 0
 @bobthestapler: The tongue and laces have some elasticity to them but since I loosened off the laces completely they've been fine.
  • 1 0
 @RobertGrainier: fellow Altra junky here, only shoes I own except for the Izumis! The Pearl Izumis are the only bike shoes I've been able to find that fit my Samsquanch feet, long wide and high volume but flat. I've got the low top version of these in 49 and they're great! I'd love to try some others, but no other companies make a 14+ that's wide enough for my feet.
  • 1 0
 @cogsci:

I have a wide foot as well. Finding riding shoes has been hell, but Shimano SH-GR5 fit the bill. They actually have a wide toe box. I even removed the liner for more room.
  • 1 0
 You’d like the Shimano SH-GR5, I have a wide foot as well and run those without the liner. They are damn near perfect.
  • 1 0
 @goforbroke: can Confirm. Shimano gr5 size 12.5 fits better than RC.
Teva Links were the shit though.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: I'm running the Teva Links that I won at Sea Otter like 8 years ago, unfortunately they are nearing the end of their life. Didn't ride flats until recently, so they sat around a while. I really like them except they are pretty ugly, lol.

Trying to find new shoes that fit my feet has been tough. Ill have to check out the GR5s!
  • 1 0
 @fast001: Good to know, ill have to play around with a pair to see if I can get them to work for me.
  • 1 0
 @goforbroke: I tried the Gr5 and agree that they fit great with a wide toe box, but they had a soft noodly sole compared to the 2FO
  • 4 0
 I have these exact Pearl Izumis and I absolutely love them. Been riding them all winter in the PNW wet and are for sure my favorite shoe so far. Previously always on 5.10s. So. This may seem at odds with the review but Mike nails it towards the end calling them out as a shoe for people who reposition their feet a lot. Thinking on it, I believe coming from clips and going to flats made me really fidgety with my foot placement. So, unless my placement is pretty close to ideal I don’t really drop in or at least don’t like it when it isn’t. With 5.10s given their rubber adjustment was difficult, particularly when you’re in a spicy section of trail. So while the PIs rubber isn’t as grippy your path to readjustment and eventual ideal foot placement is easier so to that end I feel I have more grip bc my feet are where they want to be, not stuck where they don’t want to be. So really it’s a question of preference. If you want to send it in whatever foot position this isn’t the shoe for you. If you’re very particular about your placement then maybe it’s worth a try. I haven’t had any durability issues with the boa but I can see the ankle strap having issues if you hammer it down too much. I’m flat footed with a 102mm wide foot, ride with super feet and the fit is great. I ride them on pretty sticky deity tmacs and would imagine something like a Chester would be challenging with this shoe. I really hope they keep making it bc in sold for life.
  • 4 0
 "In addition, the tread pattern isn't that deep, which means the pedal pins don't have a secure channel to settle into,"

I though the Freerider Contacts proved that with the right rubber the pattern doesn't matter.
  • 3 0
 Hard to beat the reigning champion. Plus, if you concede to fate and buy a tube of Shoe goo the Freerider Pro will last as long as you are willing to wear them. I'm talking years with minimal upkeep if you so choose!

www.amazon.com/Repair-Adhesive-Fixing-Shoes-3-7-Ounce/dp/B002L9AL84
  • 3 0
 I came to mountain biking from skating and keep a tube of shoe goo next to my shoes. I've been on the same pair of freeriders for several years. Careful filling of pin holes with shoe goo means I get the same level of grip for as long as the rest of the sole manages to hold on.
  • 2 0
 @chachmonkey: That's also how I know of the product :Cheers
  • 2 0
 Same here, three years on my last pair of freerider pros.
  • 2 0
 E6000 glue works pretty good too. Keeps my impact pro in one piece.
  • 2 0
 @chachmonkey: I have shoe goo thanks to comments like this, but never thought of using it to fill pin holes. My freeriders just gained another year or 2. Thanks!
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer Nice Imelda reference. Probably went over a lot of heads!
  • 4 0
 Thanks, might as well include those random bits of trivia where I can.
  • 1 0
 It's a good thing we have Google these days. That way we can pretend to know all these references. Kudos to Mike for knowing this without googling (right?)
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: their home in exile was near my high school and there always beefy looking dudes in suits and American cars parked in the area.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. That was an age test anecdote. - Gramps
  • 2 0
 Glad they ran out of those X-Alp Mids before I was able to buy them now that I'm reading the reviews. I really need a weather resistance high top but I need traction on and off the bike more. Nothing is coming close to replacing the Impact High for digging, hiking and riding. If only they could make a waterproof version and stitch the sole on...
  • 1 0
 yeah i've had the low top BOA x-alps for 4 months now and while the water resistance and fit is really great, the grip is not great, even with chromag daggas. Sucks. I'll keep using them for mellow/lengthy rides, but going back to impacts for everything else.
  • 1 0
 Good luck to find any, it seems like the industry has not thought about a waterproof flat shoe yet. Try on Dexshell socks, they will keep you warm and dry.
  • 4 0
 Watertight mid-height flat pedal shoe with good grip?
--> Vaude AM Moab Mid STX
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: Thanks! Those do look promising. Going to be a challenge to find a pair though.
  • 2 0
 I bought them and took a chance since I’ve been desperate to get anything that may be wider than five tens. The build quality is incredible but the grip is worse than any shoe I’ve worn in 15 years. Both the rubber composition, the chevron shape lugs, and the shallowness of the lugs combined make an awful sole. I hope the product managers are listening because this shoe is maybe one iteration from greatness.
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: thanks for the tip. I've read a couple of reviews about them but they didn't seem to be very water repealent at all. How long have you had them for and what do you think about water protection?
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: yep I got a pair, fantastic for the winter, don't like the laces though
  • 1 0
 @konamat: the shoe itself is protected well from water. I've only used them approximately 15 times up to now though.

Of course, if you wear them with shorts, water can run in from the top along your legs. This is why for such instances I use small mountaineering gaiters so keep water out.
  • 3 0
 Been riding the X alp mids since last summer. Hands down my favorite flat shoe. Not quite as grippy as Five10's but I love the feel of them and the mid shoe is great for ankle protection..
  • 1 0
 So you have the boa and mid height version?

How does the midsole stiffness compare to other shoes?

Have you ridden the Northwave Clan?
  • 2 0
 Ive had them for months and love them but never use em cus they are not at all sticky
  • 4 0
 @nurseben: Yep I have the exact versions in the article above. I came from riding Shimano GR9 and find these to be stiffer. I also had some older Five10 freeriders and personally find the Pearl shoe to be much stiffer. I have had zero issues with foot soreness and find these shoes to be very comfortable to walk in although you can tell they are a stiff riding show. The ankle protection of the mid actually provides a good bit of support too having dabbed a foot a few that may have resulted in a rolled ankle.

I will again echo that they are not the grippiest but my complaint isn't so much when descending, I have had no more issues with my feet coming off than I have with any other shoe, granted I come from 25 years of riding BMX so I'm fairly used to my feet floating around a bit and actually did NOT like the almost clipped in feel of Five10's. I have issues when climbing, specifically on techy low sections.

And that concludes Nick's review of the X-Alp Launch Mid.

Also they look awesome
  • 1 0
 @nsmithbmx: Thanks Nick, that's exactly the feedback I was looking for. Once I wear out the Clans I'll see if I can find a set of the X-Alp Launch Mid on the low down.
  • 3 0
 I've been loving mine as well. It took a minute to break them in since the rubbed my Achilles in a major way but I love their comfort and protection from the elements. I too don't need a shoe that feels stuck to the pedals. I like how they feel and look.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: WRX Mid is maybe 20% stiffer than the Freerider Pro. Not as wide unfortunately and maybe 20% of the grip.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: you want to buy my size ten? Used twice.
  • 2 0
 @cogsci: size 13 here, thanks for the offer Wink
  • 1 0
 @nsmithbmx: have got them wet yet? I love mine too but the first puddle I went through, I felt my socks get wet almost instantly. They are not water resistant at all, at least mine aren't.
  • 4 2
 why can they just do away with laces all together ? the boa setup is cool, crank brothers new shows with the quick lace and velcro strap is also very nice upgrade from my freeriders. pretty much if your shoe cost more than 90 bucks it should be better than just a skate shoe when it comes to lacing ... my 2 cents
  • 2 0
 Call me oldschool, but for flat pedal shenanigans I like my shoes to look like shoes. But if you catch me on my XC hardtail, I'm in those atrocious "rocket red" 2FOs. Still laced tho.
  • 1 0
 @dirrrtbag: i just find myself tucking laces sometimes is annoying and uncomfortable. i eventually swapped laces in my 5ten's to bungee and really liked that option and really just use the velcro strap on the crankbrothers shoe ..
  • 1 0
 Laces, like flat pedals, for life.
  • 2 0
 I've tried pretty much all of the new flat pedal shoe offerings over the last few years and always inevitably return to FiveTen. I recently grabbed a pair of the new Roosts and have been QUITE pleasantly surprised. They are every bit as tacky as the former gold standard. Will need to put more time on them to see how they hold up compared to the Freeride Pros. Have not yet ridden them in the cold and wet. Looking good so far!
  • 3 0
 Awesome to see PinkBike respond to previous criticism of their flat shoe comparisons by adding the Benchmark of the Freerider Pro! Well done and very informative! @mikekazimer
  • 3 0
 For other folks looking for mid-high shoes, check out Ride Concepts Powerline. I moved to them after years on freeriders and have benefitted from the extra protection (and feel the grip performance is equivalent)
  • 1 0
 No, these are super soft shoes, strap causes mid foot arch pain, and they don’t stick that well. Love the company, like their shoes, but they soften up too much with hard use. Best shoe they sell is the Hellion.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: i have some live wires in 12.5 if uou know anyone in need. Practically new
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: hmmm I don't think you're talking about the powerline as mine don't have a strap. Maybe you're talking about the wildcat? Anyway, totally personal preference. Maybe go a few newton meters less on that shoe strap haha
  • 2 1
 Hey Mike K, I'm really interested in those Pearl's, mostly for the higher coverage, but how does the midsole stiffness compare to the other shoes?

I think sole stickiness is overrated, I've ridden all of these shoes (and many more) and I think a dedicated flats riders will not find an issue with most shoe because "stickiness" is more about technique than sole composition.

I'm currently ride Northwave Clan, great shoe overall, sole grips fine, midsole is plenty stiff, but they run narrow and long, so no option for me to go up a size. I previously rode RC shoes, they rode fine, but the midsole tended to soften to soften too much for my likings.
  • 4 0
 I'd say the Peal Izumis fall right in the middle - the 2FOs are a little stiffer, and the Freerider Pros are softer, especially once they've broken in. I disagree about sole stickiness being overrated. I'd rather have sticky soles with plenty of traction over needing to pay extra attention to my foot position and technique on rough trails.
  • 3 0
 The pearls have very little to no traction. I cannot exaggerate how bag they are. The rubber barely grips on pins. The soles honestly feel hard. Not quite like walking on a freshly waxed and polished floor with a pair of dress shoes, but it’s not far off
  • 1 0
 @Mntneer: My wife has a set of these in pre boa and she doesn't complain or have slippage issues, so did the sole composition change??
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: yo Kaz: did five ten stop making freerider pros??? I can’t find them on adidas website.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: I just noticed this too. They only have the Impact Pros and some lifestyle shoes.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: it’s a real bummer!! I can’t figure out why adidas bought five ten just to slash all of their options...I do think the freerider pro came out well after 5.10 was bought out, maybe adidas decided theirs not enough money in Mtn biking, at the worse time possible!
  • 1 0
 @Mntneer: I agree.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: I'm pretty sure Adidas / Five Ten just don't show you their models on the site when they're not in stock. 99.999% sure they haven't cancelled Freerider Pros.
  • 1 1
 @brianpark: that’s good to hear, they are the longest lasting flat shoe I’ve tried so far, and they don’t weigh a ton...hopefully production gets sorted!
  • 2 0
 Pearl Izumi is on the right track, however Vaude already beat them to the punch about 2 years ago with their AM Moab Tech. Is there a review on PB for these shoes? How come these aren't in North America?
  • 2 0
 Those are some nice shoes as well, might be time for a mid height shoe comparison??
  • 1 0
 I have some 510 Freeriders, basic ones with canvas uppers. On longer decents, sometimes my feet start really hurting. I've tried different pedals etc, even big ones like WahWah2's that I'm riding now (I'm 11.5 us shoe). Could it be the shoe or something else?
  • 1 0
 You sound like you have pain from dorsal flexion/extensor tendons, which means you may need a stiffer sole, the original free riders are very flexy. You can try putting a stuff carbon shank sole in there like a green super feet insole, but probably better to buy a stiffer shoe like the Freerider Pros.
  • 2 0
 Uy an orthopedic insole with stiff support, solves 99% of issues, just ask shop/boot filter to find right for your arch; did this with ski boots, oh gush solves 90% of issues
  • 1 0
 I personally got away with some Dr. Scholls insoles with a hard arch support. It takes most of the flex out of the shoe, I sound like Frankenstein walking on pavement though.
  • 1 0
 Same here, freeriders make my feet hurt, but the soles haven't come off at least. Have tried a insole and that didn't help.
  • 1 0
 @dirtpedaler: I also have some GameChanger insoles in mine and its not fixing things. I've molded them with a decent arch support as well. I definitely think its that tendon. Have you tried the Freeride Pro shoes? Wondering if those would fix it.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: Was always hoping they would make a high top freerider pro, if they do, then I might try it. I have RC Livewire and TNT now and they are good for riding but traction when working on steep take offs and landings isn't comparable to the impacts.
  • 1 0
 510’was always win win, except of they soaking water like crazy! For dry climate always 510, for wet will consider f20;

I would love to try other options, however price/performance wise they are all suck even on the reviews
  • 1 0
 " Grippy" ? isn't that the same term that boat deck shoes have used for half a century ? LOl
Don't get me wrong with my rants about industrial hype being lapped up by willing prestige seekers ,i LOVE this site but a little sensible dissent now and then can be a healthy thing.
  • 1 0
 I've always been a fan of the Freerider Pros, but I'm excited to see Specialized has come out with a shoe that seems to rival it... Now if they'd just ditch that awful suede/cheap looking leather upper I'd buy a set. Maybe offer some more color options and a boa option while they're at it, and they could have a real winner.
  • 2 0
 5.10 is just one of many companies that make climbing shoes with their proprietary rubber, why can't PI partner with Scarpa or La Sportiva or Evolv and make the perfect mtb shoe? Seems like a no brainer.
  • 2 0
 Ride concepts powerline my current favorite for protection, heel hold, comfort plus a place to stash your laces. Rubber compound is slightly harder than 5 tens but I haven't slipped yet off my specialized bennies.
  • 2 2
 Surprised these guys arnt in the review, Suplest offroad flat pedal

world.suplest.ch/shop/shoes_all/offroad_series/offroad-pro-flat-pedal

Amazing shoes, build quality and attention to detail is far better than a FiveTen and the Boa is joy.
  • 7 0
 Holy moly those things are ugly. Do you have to see a doctor to get a prescription to buy those?
  • 2 0
 Just checked those out, nice looking shoes, still need some midsole stiffness feedback before considering further. Maybe a PB review??
  • 1 0
 as soon as i read that they also cared about soledurability and want to strike a balance between grip and durability im out
  • 1 0
 The toe box is supposed to be wide so your toes have room to move around. Specialized must of learned this from Shimano. Oddly enough these 2F0 roost resemble my Shimano SH-GR5 heavily.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Mike, this is the first flat pedal shoe comparison I feel like I can trust. FINALLY a shoe that has the same grip as five ten. I'm going to have to give these specializeds a try.
  • 2 0
 I have the Pearl Izumi, that exact model, and I found the rubber to be super grippy. Love the shoes for cold / wet weather riding.
  • 1 0
 Also finny enough i have best performance with mavic apparel despite worth performance with their wheels (which for they are known for)

Shoe, gloves, jersey offers best in class
  • 2 0
 Really wish Nukeproof would get into the flat shoe game and deliver us some better value. With protective toe caps please.
  • 3 0
 Everyone knows Imelda Marcos rode clipless.
  • 2 0
 Sam Hill sweats glue so strong he gets 5 rides from a pair of 5Tens before the sole falls off.
  • 1 0
 I do think that a decent weather resistant flat soles shoe with good grip is missing from the market. SPD riders get all sorts of GTX winter boots, etc, but not us.
  • 1 0
 @MIKEKAZIMER would you be so kind as to compare the "stickiness" of the Peal Izumi sole to......Ride Concepts.

Yes, on paper the PI shoe would be my soul mate.

cheers
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know if the fiveten trailcross gtx (goretex) will be launched soon?
  • 1 0
 If the PI X-alp mid had 5.10/adidas trailcross shoe, it would be my hands down fave
  • 1 0
 Pending lawsuit against Specialized from Slipknot with only one line on the cease and desist letter... "Wait and Bleed!"
  • 1 0
 So the Pearl Izumis do everything right, except the most crucial part? So close...
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer would you say the roost is a wider shoe than the Freerider Pro? Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Yes, particularly in the forefoot area.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks Mike. You are the man!
  • 1 0
 Just wore the new Roosts on a ride, wow the first shoe in 10 years that is marginally grippier than a five ten!
  • 1 0
 I’ve always wanted to know what an AF1 mid looks like with BOA, now I know.
  • 2 4
 MTB specific shoes and apparel is soooo ridiculous .
one has to be pretty naive not to see through this hype.
Take a good look at the shoes in the photos and then go to numerous shoe store websites and see if you can find a pair of sneakers that are almost identical in materials and style . My god people , these are flat bottom sneakers sometimes called deck shoes or other names that have been around for decades and some clever manufacturer has now designated them as MTb specific . ????????????????
  • 1 0
 the question is which one would you wear to state street bar
  • 1 0
 Of course I love the look of the one with the least grippy sole.
  • 2 0
 No carbon laces?
  • 1 0
 Etnies still looks like the best choice
  • 1 0
 biggest con of the 2FOs is that theyre outta stock
  • 1 0
 Where is fiveten mi6 sole? Adihash don't sell it. F.... wan....rs
  • 1 0
 Finally a shoe review that mentions the big FiveTen elephant in the room.
  • 2 0
 We tested shoe A against shoe B and shoe C.
And the winner is:
Old 5.10s
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: that’s the kind of reviews I like. Pretty much anyone interested in one of these shoes knows the 5Ten benchmark but probably has no way to reference/comprehend different durometer and rebound measurements. At least I don’t anyway.
I like it when they just tell me how it compares to the most popular/common competitor.

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