Five Ten Freerider EPS High Shoe

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Five Ten Freerider EPS High
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First Ride: Five Ten Freerider EPS High

by Johan Hjord

Five Ten makes some of the best riding shoes on the planet, especially when it comes to flat pedals. The grip of their Stealth rubber is legendary, and they have recently been making great progress when it comes to the general construction of their footwear as well. Lacking in the line-up however was a shoe specifically designed for wet and cold weather riding. The Freerider Elements series was introduced a couple of years ago as a more water-resistant option, but the all-new EPS shoe takes it to the next level. With winter on our doorstep, we headed out to see if this meant our toes could now look forward to warmer, drier days on the trail.

Five Ten Freerider EPS Highlights

  • PrimaLoft insulation from the instep forward, including the tongue
  • Single piece leather on

by Johan Hjord

Five Ten makes some of the best riding shoes on the planet, especially when it comes to flat pedals. The grip of their Stealth rubber is legendary, and they have recently been making great progress when it comes to the general construction of their footwear as well. Lacking in the line-up however was a shoe specifically designed for wet and cold weather riding. The Freerider Elements series was introduced a couple of years ago as a more water-resistant option, but the all-new EPS shoe takes it to the next level. With winter on our doorstep, we headed out to see if this meant our toes could now look forward to warmer, drier days on the trail.

Five Ten Freerider EPS Highlights

  • PrimaLoft insulation from the instep forward, including the tongue
  • Single piece leather on forefoot to reduce seams and water intake, keeping feet warm and dry
  • Fully gusseted tongue prevents water and mud intake
  • Additional foam insulation in the sock liner and vamp plus an insulated, heat-reflective footboard
  • Stealth® S1™ rubber outsole
  • Weight: 575g each (Size 12US, verified)
  • Colors: Auburn, Midnight, Black
  • MSRP: $150.00 USD

Initial Impressions

The new Five Ten Freerider EPS (for Elements Primaloft System) is available in a classic, low-cut shape as well as the hi-top version we took delivery of. Weighing in at 575 grams per shoe for our size 12 pontoons, the EPS makes its presence known with sturdy construction and fairly bulky lines.

Part of the reason for the added heft (an Impact VXi shoe in size 12 weighs 417 grams, for reference) is the leather construction, but there’s more to it than just that. A Primaloft insulation layer and a reflective footboard help keep your foot warm and dry, while a fully gusseted tongue makes sure those pesky splashes of water don’t find their way down to your socks. In the case of our hi-top version, you also get extra foam padding around the ankle area to keep the warmth in and trail debris out.

Being dry and warm is all well and good, but your feet also need to grip the pedals. Five Ten gave the EPS a Stealth S1 outer sole, which is pretty much as sticky as it gets. Good news, it’s also strong and resistant to wear.

To make sure the elements don’t get the better of the new shoe, the stitching runs all the way around the sole, which bodes well for longevity. The rest of the shoe is equally well put together.

On The Trail

The Freerider EPS is a sturdy piece of equipment. Overall, the shoe is quite stiff, and the hi-top version even more so. It takes a while for the shoe to start breaking in, and we felt a little clumsy walking around in them for the first few outings. The shoe is very comfortable, but the stiffness makes itself felt around the upper part of the ankle area. If this is the sort of thing you think might bother you, the low-cut option might be a better choice, although that means foregoing a bit of extra protection from the elements in an area which is often particularly exposed in the winter.

We took full advantage of a couple of big winter storms to really put the new shoe to the test, and we’re happy to report that it did an excellent job of keeping our feet warm and dry. A few hours in constant rain did nothing to dampen our spirits nor wet our socks, and splashing through every puddle we could find left the EPS equally unfazed. Once back home and after getting hosed down in the garden, the shoe was a bit damp in a few spots on the inside, but essentially ready to go again. Because the padding around the top of the shoe is a bit on the thin side, it fails to completely close the gap between the uppers and your ankle, so the shoe will collect a bit of trail debris over the course of the ride. Short of duct-taping your shoe to your socks, this is a fairly tough problem to solve though.

As we would have expected, the grip from the S1 sole was faultless, even when covered in sticky mud. The stiffness we previously alluded to makes itself felt on the bike too, but it never bothered us while riding. Overall, the shoe inspires a lot of confidence with a solid connection to the bike and of course, a sense of protection from the extra padding and the hi-top design.

Things That Could Be Improved

Nit-picking, we’d like to see a little thicker/softer padding around the very top of the shoe, to help keep more trail debris out of the shoe.

Long Term Durability

With winter only just getting going for some of us, we have not yet put in the miles required for a full longevity report. However, based on our recent experiences with other Five Ten models, and in light of the sturdy construction on display here, we have no reason to doubt that the Freerider EPS will be up for a season of winter abuse at least. As for the sole, S1 rubber is harder wearing than Mi6, which again should contribute to keeping these shoes running for a long time. We’ll come back and update this article should further testing reveal any shortcomings.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Five Ten took their sweet time coming out with real, all-conditions mountain bike footwear. The Freerider EPS combines the much-loved Stealth sole grip with a proper winter shoe, to keep your feet safe from the elements and firmly planted on your pedals no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. That leaves you fresh out of excuses, so gear up and get after it!

More information at: www.fiveten.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.


Specifications

Product Five Ten Freerider EPS High Shoe
Riding Type Dirt Jump / Slopestyle, Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Rider Unisex
Construction Leather, Primaloft Insulation, Rubber
Rubber Type Stealth S1
Sizes 5-14
Colors Black
Weight 1 lb 4.3 oz (575 g)
Miscellaneous Weight: 575 grams for size 12 US

The Freeride / Bike Parkr EPS with PrimaLoft® was designed for winter use, protecting you from the elements and delivering the classic performance of the Freeride / Bike Parkr's Stealth® S1™ rubber outsole in even the coldest of conditions.
Price $150
More Info

Five Ten website

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