Can a riding shoe be too grippy? This is a serious question, brought about by Five Ten’s constant pursuit of ultra-tacky rubber compounds in their shoes… which just keep getting stickier. The purpose of this test wasn’t to see whether the Five Ten Freerider Contact Women’s shoes would grip to pedals effectively; The Freerider Contacts use Five Ten’s Stealth® Mi6™ rubber, which was built to help Tom Cruise stick to vertical glass walls for his stunts in the Mission Impossible movies, they will definitely grip to spiked metal pedals. But there’s some question of whether the superior pin penetration and maximized pedal contact of the Mi6™ rubber would be so grippy as to keep riders from moving their feet around when they want to.
Our testing guinea pig is Lee Ann Slade; Digital Marketing manager, BMX Race champion, and Guinea Pig lover. She usually races in flats for their comfort, underfoot-feel, and “I dunno, because it’s what I’ve always done”. Having ridden, raced (and podium’d) in everything from beat-up converse sneakers to older-version Five Ten’s, we were eager to see what she’d think of Five Ten’s uber-tacky new rubber compounds on the track.
The Freerider Contact looks similar to most other Five Ten shoes until you turn them upside down. The Contact in the name refers to their new treadless Contact Outsole™ under the ball of the foot, which allows for quick, on-the-fly positioning adjustments without the lug interference of the classic ‘dotty pattern’ shoes. The shoes are purpose-built for ridings, with a stiff midsole and added toe protection to keep riders feet safe and supported on all-day rides. Despite all the reinforcement, the Freerider Contacts are actually one of the lightest Freeriders in the Five Ten line, thanks to a abrasion resistant textile and synthetic upper.
“The finish of these shoes is fantastic; great attention to detail. I’ve had my current pair of Five Ten’s for 3 seasons now, and I’d expect these to last just as long. The stickier rubber might wear out faster for everyday use though, so I’ll keep these for track and mountain bike days.”
-Lee Ann Slade
The fit of the Freerider Contact is reasonably standard, though riders are always encouraged to try the shoes on at their local LTP Sports dealer before purchasing – Five Ten sizing can run slightly small. Lee Ann went a half size up from her standard shoe size and found the fit perfect with a regular-thickness sock.
“The armouring on the toe of the shoe is great! Thankfully I haven’t had to use it yet in a crash [knocks on helmet for good luck] but the heavy-duty toe-cap is very confidence inspiring.”
The big question though; were the shoes too grippy? Has Five Ten finally made a shoe that sticks to pedals too well, and doesn’t allow proper adjustment while pedaling?
“The Freerider Contacts are really really grippy, but the beauty of the smooth rubber on the bottom is that you can still adjust your foot position while pedaling – even standing up. The cushioning effect of the soft rubber is great, they’re really comfortable to ride in.”
So a perfect score then?
“I’m going to give these shoes a 5 out of 5. The only possible downside I could see on longer rides is that the shoes may conform too well to the pedals and lead to cramping on really long days in the saddle. The next time I find enough time to enjoy a really long day of riding I’ll let you know- Don’t hold your breath.”
Five Ten Freerider Contact Women’s
• All day riding performance and adjustability
• Innovative Contact Outsole™ with Stealth® Mi6™ rubber
• Abrasion resistant textile & synthetic upper
• Added toe cap protection
• Stiff, compression-molded EVA midsole
• Low-profile, performance fit
• Weight: 318 g each (Size 7US)