New Five-Ten/ 5-10 Freerider VXI Shoe Review

A few weeks ago I received a mildly beat up 5-10 box in the mail, the kind that their shoes come in. I knew I had some shoes on the way so I thought there must be a pair in the box. I took it home and opened up, only to find a pair of shoes that looked like they had already had the soles worn out. I had never seen the design before but I slowly started to realize what I had in my hands.

I had heard about these new Freerider VXI shoes from the 5-10 rep Luke Hontz but I never thought I’d really get a chance to actually try them before they got into production. These new Freeriders had a significant new features – a new sole that had no tread pattern where your foot contacts the pedal. As it turned out, they completely changed the level of performance I thought possible from a flat pedal shoe.

The tread pattern is a subtle but effective change that greatly improves your contact with the pedal. With any sort of tread pattern you end up standing on top of the tread with part of the sole not contacting the pedal at all. By getting rid of the tread pattern where your foot rests on the pedal you now have 100% of the sole in contact with the pedals.

Your foot becomes noticeably more connected to the pedals because of this. The improved feel and stability at the pedal with this shoe is a bit surprising – while your feet won’t bounce off your pedals with regular 5-10’s, when you are railing down something particular nasty your feet can shift around a bit on the pedals. However, with this new sole pattern your feet simply don’t move in response to your bike plowing over rocks and roots. I’ve taken these shoes on the rockiest trail we have around here (and Grand Junction riding is known for it is the rocks) and could feel a definite difference in how connected my foot felt through the endless rock gardens.

Testing out the new shoes…

I can only assume that this insight came from their background as a climbing shoe company since climbing shoes – which rely on friction to hold your feet in place like no other shoe – use a featureless sole. At first the new sole looks a bit weird and you wonder if you’ll be able to hike around in them without tread everywhere on the sole but that never became an issue for me. There is still tread on 60% or more of the sole and I never had any issues with traction when hiking around or pushing my bike on the trail.

I have been riding these shoes for the last 10+ rides and really feel that the changes 5-10 have made create a new level of performance in a flat pedal shoe. I still love my regular 5-10’s and would not have thought it possible to greatly improve upon them but it took about 5 minutes on these new shoes to realize they were on to something really big.

The plan is for the new sole to be released with the Freerider VXI I some time next year and while I wouldn’t advise not getting a pair of regular 5-10s if you need something before they are released, I’ll definitely be saving my pennies to make sure I could get a pair when they do.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Shanti says:

    Any idea when these will be available to the public?

    Reply • October 15 at 10:22 am
  2. John says:

    The new sole makes sense. That “railing down something particular nasty” is what has kept me off flats. Hopefully they’ll put that sole in some of their other styles. Thanks for the update!

    Reply • October 15 at 11:15 am
  3. John (aka Wish I Were Riding) says:

    “pushing my bike on the trail”

    Wuss. haha Just kidding!

    The shoes sound great accept that I can’t buy them RIGHT NOW!

    Reply • October 16 at 10:28 am
  4. deadlywind says:

    I’m off to grind the tread off my 5.10’s!

    Reply • October 16 at 4:36 pm
  5. Glenn Sinsigalli says:

    5-10 has used this tread pattern already. I bought a pair of Warhawks from the “Clymb” buying group, same tread. I had to give them to my son, I realized too late that the sz 9’s were more like sz 8’s!! Way too tight.

    Reply • October 17 at 6:07 am
  6. I have always been told that you want the stiffest shoes (no flex)as possible in order to transfer power to the pedals.

    Is this true? If it is, are these shoes like that?

    Reply • December 12 at 2:31 pm
  7. Steve says:

    How does the stiffness compare to the Impacts? I find my Impacts to be adequately stiff, but I want something lighter and less bulky.

    Reply • May 9 at 8:14 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      They aren’t as stiff as the Impacts but they are stiffer than the Freeriders or Spitfires, a nice middle ground if you will.

      Reply • May 9 at 8:50 am
  8. Jarel Yantes says:

    James, I just bought a pair of deity decoy pedals and I am debating whether I should get the regular freerider fivetens or if I should get the freerider vxi. I am transitioning from clip in shoes and pedals(mallets and mavic alpin XML shoes). Any recommendation on what shoe I would like better? Thanks in advance.


    Reply • June 5 at 9:43 pm
  9. Jarel Yantes says:

    Also I am into all mountain/freeride style riding if that makes a difference in what shoe Is better.

    Reply • June 5 at 10:55 pm
  10. Jarel Yantes says:

    Hi,I tried to post yesterday but it looks as if the post has disappeared. I wanted to ask what shoes you would recommend if i am coming off of clip in mallets. I have already purchased some Deity Decoy pedals. Would you recommend the regular freerider shoes or the new vxi? My style of riding is all mountain/freeride. I do equally as much uphill riding as i do down. Any suggestions???

    Reply • June 6 at 3:29 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      To be honest I don’t think it matters much. The new tread design on the VXI shoe is nice and does give you a bit more grip but it isn’t a world of difference. My VXIs wore out and I’m riding my regular Freeriders again and don’t really miss the VXIs too much. I’d just pick one and get riding.

      Reply • June 6 at 5:07 pm
      • Jarel Yantes says:

        Thanks. I ended up getting some freeriders. Took them for a spin tonight. Flats are going to take a bit getting used to, but I think it is going to be an awesome experience. Thanks for all of your knowledge and input. I’m ready for the flat pedal revolution!

        Reply • June 6 at 9:47 pm
  11. Dave says:

    I think the big deal is being able to move your foot around easier, vs normal 510s being so grippy readjusting your foot on the fly is a problem.

    Reply • June 23 at 2:03 pm
  12. Tim says:

    Only problem I see is if the flat area is for contact with the pedal, then it’s following the principle of ball of foot contact point for pedal efficiency. There’s some (often heated) argument that for MTB and particularly freeride, the contact or more the pivot point is better slightly behind the ball of the foot to avoid being pitched forward riding over features and to improve control. Though of course less potential pedal performance on climbs, but then clipless would be better anyway if that concerns you.

    Reply • October 23 at 8:55 am

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