Five Ten has been the benchmark for mountain biking shoes since the dawn of time. The Freerider is easily one of the brand’s most popular shoes, and the Freerider line has expanded over the years to include different materials, styles and sizes to fit virtually every type and size of rider.
Today the brand offers two main Freerider models: Freerider and Freerider Pro. The main differences between the two come down to the stiffness and construction of the shoe. The Freerider Pro offers a more supportive pedaling platform with a sleeker, more form-fitting upper, while the Freerider is more comfort-focused with a relaxed style. Both versions feature the signature Stealth S1 Dotty rubber sole offering plenty of traction. Read on to get more details on each shoe and to find out how each pair performs.
Ecological and Primeblue
With the heritage of making the most grippy shoes on the market, it’s hard to find new ways to innovate and improve on an already great product. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Five Ten have given their popular Freerider and Freerider Pro flat pedal shoes an eco-friendly facelift, offering the same great grip to cyclists with a more eco-friendly approach, paving the way for a greener future. .
We tested the Freerider and Freerider Pro with Primeblue, a textile created from recycled plastic, harvested from the ocean and woven into a high-performance fabric. Five Ten also offers non-Primeblue versions of the Freerider and Freerider Pro shoes which also use recycled materials.
Freerider Pro Primeblue
The Five Ten Freerider Pro is one of the most popular flat pedal shoes on the market for a reason. Featuring Five Ten’s famous Stealth rubber outsoles with their signature Dotty tread pattern, these low profile kicks will keep your feet glued to your pedals in comfort and style.
The teal color of this women’s version brings a nice touch to what is usually a pretty dull shoe category. The “Hazy Emerald” synthetic upper is made of 75% Primeblue fabric. With no virgin polyester in textiles, you can feel good about looking this good.
The shoe is fitted with a low profile. I like how light these shoes are and that they are comfortable enough to wear on and off the bike. A molded EVA midsole and ortholite sock liner provide plenty of comfort and support, while the three-layer toe box saved my toes from many rock-type encounters.
The Freerider Pros seem to have a lower stack height than their Freerider cousin which is more like a skate shoe, with a fairly thin but stiff sole. It helped me feel more planted on the pedals, riding the bike rather than floating on it. I also like that the toe box isn’t as aggressively rolled up as the Freeriders, allowing my foot to settle in more naturally.
My testing conditions were generally dry and mud-free, so I can’t comment on the water repellency of the Primeblue fabric. Literature on the Five Ten website describes them as “quick-drying,” so I would consider these shoes a warmer or drier weather pair that isn’t afraid of the occasional stream crossing (although I don’t plan to wade through just any puddles).
For shoes with flat pedals, the grip of the sole is the most crucial detail to consider. Five Ten is known for its Stealth Dotty rubber, with a slightly raised dot pattern on its soft rubber tread, a delicious treat for biting traction pins.
⭐️ Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue shoes are available at Competitive Cyclist and other online retailers.
This was my first excursion aboard a pair of Five Ten Freerider Pros, and I must admit I was skeptical of their tacky reputation. At first the sole was stiff and didn’t exactly accept the sharp grip of my flat pedals. It took a few rides, but the rubber eventually warmed up to the idea of being a pin cushion and lapped up nicely. Once the break-in period was over, I felt like I could trust the grip of the Freerider Pros to get me through anything.
Even if you already own a pair of Five Tens, I strongly advise you to try these shoes on before you buy. My normal size was too tight for comfort, so I went up a half size in anticipation of an expanding foot, but never felt like I filled the shoe out completely. Initially the fit was sloppy, but with a strategic tightening of the laces I was able to create a more precise fit, giving me better control while riding. The fit of flat pedal shoes is essential for ride feel and performance. The tighter the fit, the less likely you are to slip inside your shoe before stepping on the pedal. I highly recommend trying on several sizes and weighing the pros and cons of a tighter or looser fit.
The toe box is spacious and leaves plenty of room to move your fingers. The downside is that the excessive bulk of material created a weird pinch point that attacked the top of my foot every time I bent on my knees or seriously bent my toes. While not a deal breaker when it comes to on-bike performance, it’s definitely an annoyance that made me reconsider my off-bike movements, like crouching down to change a tire.
Long term durability remains to be seen, but at this point I’m very happy with the construction and quality of the shoe. The Stealth rubber proves resilient and is slowly starting to show its scars, while the Primeblue uppers still look fresh and vibrant.
If you’re looking for a fantastic flat pedal shoe with an eco-friendly incline, consider the Five Ten Freerider Pro. The Stealth Dotty rubber has a short break-in period, and access to that legendary sticky sole is worth the wait.
The Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue shoes are currently on sale for $90 at REI, up from $150 previously. This version is available in Hazy Emerald, but new non-Primeblue models are available in additional colors. The pair I tested weigh 646g.
- Low profile
- Good grip and rigidity once broken in
Advantages and disadvantages of Freeride Pro shoes.
- Extra long laces are difficult to tie
- Toe box creates a pinch point
- Not much protection
The Five Ten Freerider is a great entry-level mountain bike flat pedal shoe with a little more flexibility and plenty of style and comfort for hitting the trails. Building on the Pro version, this budget shoe offers great grip and performance without breaking the bank.
These shoes have been part of the Five Ten range for years, with the biggest color change and now the choice of a more eco-friendly textile. The Primeblue fabric brings a mix of Parley Ocean Plastic made from recycled bottles, with a beautiful teal color to remind us of our connection to nature and the world’s oceans.
The bottom of the Freerider features a one-piece molded cupsole, giving the shoe a simpler design and construction than its Pro cousin. This sole is thicker and thicker, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to extra stiffness. I found these shoes to be softer and more flexible than the Pro version, which greatly increased the comfort factor, but detracted from their overall performance.
⭐️ Five Ten Freerider Primeblue shoes are available on the Five Ten, evo, or Competitive Cyclist website.
The sole features Five Ten’s Stealth S1 rubber with the Dotty pattern, giving you a Velcro-like connection between shoe and pedal – provided you take the time to break them in. Right out of the box I found the rubber to be less than sticky, but it quickly improved over a few rides. The slightly raised toe box is a bit odd at first, but gradually flattens out as you wear them.
With mid-range stiffness out of the box, the Freeriders felt great at first, but over time that rubber sole will break down and loosen. If you prefer a stiffer sole I would recommend the Freerider Pros.
I wouldn’t say these shoes offer much extra protection, but I did notice the upper was a bit thicker and padded in strategic places, like where your ankle makes contact with the crank. They did well with ventilation and heat regulation, but they don’t strike me as a particularly quick-drying shoe when things get soggy.
The fit of these shoes seemed to me more about comfort than performance. A roomy toe box leaves plenty of room to settle in, and a well-cushioned upper wraps comfortably around your foot to keep things in place. The downside was that I had to really drop the laces to feel any kind of control over my pedals. The looser the shoe, the more sloppy it rolled, so making sure my foot didn’t slip too much was key.
Bulk and excessively long laces detract from the aesthetics of the shoe, but overall these factors aren’t that distracting while riding. Managing long switchbacks seems to be a feature of the Five Ten Freerider experience, so come prepared with a more reasonable length.
Overall, the Five Ten Freeriders are a great shoe to start your flat-pedal journey, but if you’re looking for better performance and stiffness, give the Freerider Pros a try. My test pair weighs 769g.
Find yourself a pair of Freerider Primeblue shoes on sale for around $70 on the Five Ten, evo or Competitive Cyclist website.
- Comfortable enough to wear all day
- Strategic padding for protection
- great price
Advantages and disadvantages of Five Ten Freerider shoes.
- The shoe is bulky
- The soft sole is not very supportive
- Too spacious inside