Review by Cory Tepper // Photos by Emily Peterson and Cory Tepper
Five Tens. We all know about the radness of Stealth rubber. We also all know how hideous Impacts look when you're walking around town post-ride looking for IPA’s. Total Joey status right? Well 5.10 has made a shoe that is less hideous than any of its previous attempts….and it rides pretty damn good too.
Five Ten Sleuth Highlights
- Sole: Stealth Marathon Rubber
- Upper Material: Polyester Textile
- Color: Grey / Blue
- Closure: Lace
- Weight: 315g Ea. (size 9US)
- MSRP: $80 USD
The Sleuth is the lightest, most compact Stealth rubber shoe I have ever slipped my feet into. And on the subject of stealth, they look so normal that I even wore them casually a few times. My old Impacts never saw anything but the trail or the bag. I wore them with shame but loved the sticky rubber….although they were also clunky, heavy and really thick soled. I grew up riding in Vans and never really got comfortable with the Impacts so when the Sleuths arrived I was pleasantly surprised at the minimalist design/build mashed up with some Stealth rubber.
Out of the box I was in for a shock, the Sleuths were light, subtle, and built well. Even my girlfriend commented that they were “less ugly” than most MTB gear. I threw them on and went for a saunter around the neighborhood, feeling good and looking normal. The sole passed the first walking test by staying glued on for more than 10 minutes (cough-Impacts-cough), leaving my initial impressions on a high and my excitement to ride/drink in them growing.
I was a little concerned about the lack of protection on the shoes but quickly realized that I always rode with Vans which are just slightly better than socks as far as protection is concerned, so really, what could go wrong? Anyway, the real test was always going to be the trail.
On The Trail
The Sleuths come with a Marathon rubber sole which is a less grippy, longer lasting and non-marking version of Five Ten's traditional Stealth rubber. This was perfect for me out on the trails as I like the slightly loose feeling of traditional skate shoes, and it really made the shoes usable on the dirt jumper too - where traditional Stealth rubber has always been just too sticky.
I like being able to easily adjust the position of my feet on the pedals and these soles allow for just that without resorting to the semi slick sole found on Five Ten's Freerider Contact. This also makes the Sleuth a better shoe for hiking/walking IMO. My pedals have pretty worn pins and the Sleuths still seem to hook up just fine. I suspect others would find them a little loose if they prefer the grip of Impacts and/or Freeriders. I also suspect that those same people wear elbow pads…
I spent the last 5 months in these shoes for almost every ride, from all day pedal fests to laps at The Lumberyard. But I also spent several long days standing on concrete floors at my day job in them. They are comfortable. They are more supportive than a traditional skate shoe but not as overwhelming as most other 5.10’s.
They grip when needed, in the wet, on the chunder, and in the bar. They are also just loose enough to keep things fun and sketchy, like flat pedals should be. On the topic of pedals, the Sleuths transfer decent power - not KOM stiff but better than any skate shoe. The canvas uppers also deal with shedding water decently well, resist skuffs, and clean up really easy. The lack of protection was more mental than actual, and I had zero problems jamming my footsies into whatever the trail and situation required.
The low and casual cut of the shoe was a bummer on dry loose trails as small rocks would creep in there and really piss you off - but most things piss me off so I dealt with it.
Things That Could Be Improved
I would buy these again - if they came in a black version with a black or gum sole. The grey just does not look great with disc brake dust caking on the side AND they clash with my generally black kit. I would also snug up the cuff a smidge to keep out debris. Additionally, I found the laces annoying, they are a little waxy and didn't like to stay tight. So basically make them look like Vans but everything else was dialed. Throw a stiffer insole in there and you have high performance mountain bicycling shoe.
Long Term Durability
The Sleuths are lasting pretty damn good at 2-3 rides/week. The sole is looking rather unused still and most of the wear is dirt, light skuffs and brake pad dust. I don't wear them daily but I suspect they would last longer than Vans in that situation too. I also suspect an average rider can see a couple seasons out of these. A true MTB nerd will have several shoes for different occasions and get longer run times because of that. I have worn only these shoes on every ride for the last 5 months and they are wearing slowly. Approved.
What's The Bottom Line?
These shoes do their job without being noticed - they just work. I like that. I wish they had some crazy feature that I could talk about, but all I'm left with is that they pedal nice, grip decently, look acceptable and are not overly expensive.
I took a picture of these shoes next to my OG Impacts and Line Kings. Mainly to show how much more compact and less ugly they are by comparison. I then tossed the Impacts and Line Kings in the trash because I no longer have a need for overbuilt, heavy shoes. The Sleuths are now my go to….till I switch to clipless? Hahaha. NEVER.
For more information head to www.fiveten.com.
About The Reviewer
Cory Tepper is a life long MTB nerd. He’s been riding since 1994 and spent a little time in the now defunct Semi-Pro downhill category. He’ll always love street riding and pumptracks, and will occasionally scare himself on a decently sized set of dirt jumps. During the day he turns wrenches on $10,000 road bikes and documents the lesser known riders as a photographer and video guy in his free time. Tepper has a three legged dog, and he loves gas station coffee, Dominoes and Katy Perry - basically he is THE best product tester ever. Count on Tepper to keep it real.