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For many riders, Five Ten is the brand that tends to springs to mind when you think of flat pedals and, in my experience, it’s a rare thing for them to have serious competition, let alone being outdone.

However, I would say that until a few years ago there it felt like there was something missing from their range. A lot of their shoes were very gravity-focused. On one hand that’s to be expected considering that’s where their roots in the sport are, but on the other, Brooks Sneakers as a flat pedal rider who enjoys pedaling, I often wished there would be more of an emphasis on ‘tech’ products. I wanted to see slightly less armored shoes that carry over the best features. I wanted a flat pedal shoe built for trail biking, and I also didn’t want it to look like something Avril Lavigne would wear.

Trail Cross Gore-Tex Details• Weatherproof Gore-Tex upper
• Velco strap on neoprene collar
• Laces for the lower half of the shoe
• Dual compound stealth rubber
• Colors: Black
• Weight: 414g (pair of size 42.5)
• MSRP: $200 USD
• www.adidas.com

That really began to change with the Freerider Pro, and then the Trailcross range. We now had shoes that not only featured the legendary grip of their Stealth Rubber, but were also light and breathable, and offered something genuinely different to the race-ready Impacts. As hard to please as I am, I had one final wish, one final product that I wanted Five Ten to make – the waterproof flat pedal shoe for slogging it out in winter. So how do these shoes stack up?

Gone are the days when flat pedal shoes were inspired by Fred Durst.

Details

You can take a wild guess what the upper of the Trailcross Gore-Tex is made of. Of course, the Gore-Tex membrane is well known throughout the industry for its waterproofing properties, while also aiming to let hot air and moisture vent out through the membrane. Above the textile upper is a velcro-fastened neoprene collar. There is toe-box protection, Sorel Sneakers although maybe not as much as one might hope for if you’re intending to ride loose rocky downhill runs. For trail riding though, it’s very adequate. Below the neoprene is a lace closure. I’ve had issues with Five Ten laces snapping in recent years, but these seem to be less vulnerable to that annoyance.

The shoes feel to have more of a focus on waterproofing than insulation – they’re more of a wet-weather shoe rather than something for heading out on Arctic adventures. The tongue does have a small loop for laces but it isn’t as large or as elasticated as some of the other shoes in the brand’s range. This means that you can’t actually secure your laces in it which leaves them loose. Sometimes, the laces tap the shoe as you pedal which is only small but it is a slight irritation.

Laces combine with a velcro fastener on the gaiter.

Fit

The fit is quite generous on the Trail Cross Gore-Tex. In terms of length it fits very well, and is similar to other Five Ten flat pedal shoes. However, in breadth and volume I would say it’s quite large for its size. Compared to the standard Trailcross, it did make getting a secure and comfortable fit a little more difficult. I put this down to the ankle gaiter. While I liked it, I also found that it had issues.

Firstly, I found some irritation on rides around an hour or longer. This could be something particular to me – another editor is currently using these shoes and doesn’t have an issue. That said, it was still disappointing, and experimenting or altering the fit didn’t help. My second gripe was that while the velcro held my ankle very securely, it didn’t help pull my ankle back into the heel of the shoe. I found that my heel was able to lift very easily and this could give a disjointed, unconnected feeling to the pedals. The standard Trailcross, with its lace that runs high, doesn’t suffer from this problem for me. I eventually ran a half-size sole in the shoe to let the laces get my purchase on my foot and hold it down more securely. Again, this could be a “me issue,” since I have a reasonably high instep and relatively narrow feet.

The problem of heel-security is compounded by a relatively stiff sole. It’s not a big deal and some may be happy for the stiffness, but the flex combined with the somewhat loose fit meant that when driving and pumping the bike it did being to feel a little disconnected.

Performance

The performance of Five Ten’s soles is as can be expected – very grippy while on the pedals. This shoe features a slightly different tread pattern that aims to improve walking traction. Honestly, I can’t say I really notice it. I personally never found my go-to Freerider Pros to struggle in this regard.

When I got my heal secure within the shoe with the help of the half-size insole, they ride much as you would hope and they’re fantastic for puddle bombing. Nobull Shoes  Having dry and warm feet can really give you a lift in terms of morale on wet and grim winter rides. You can submerge these shoes and be confident that you’re going to stay pretty dry.

As with a lot of waterproof shoes though, they’re not invulnerable to water running down your leg, into your sock, and then getting trapped within the waterproof boot. The gaiter is great at keeping the crud out, though. It’s a great feeling taking your trousers and shoes off after a ride and being clean underneath, even if it’s as bad as it can get outside. As ever though, to get the most out of a waterproof shoe it needs to be run with waterproof trousers, otherwise they’re not that good for much in heavy downpours. That isn’t a Five Ten problem, but rather a limitation of the concept of waterproof mountain biking shoes that don’t have a skin-tight gaiter.

The famed Stealth Rubber is as good as ever.

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