There are few pieces of gear that changed my life as much as my 5-10′s did. I ride platform pedals and while I love them I always had issues with keeping my feet planted on them.
For a while I was buying some $10 shoes from Payless that would work for about 2 months before the soles got ripped apart and then I would buy a new pair. I tried skate shoes as well but I still had issues, especially if they got wet.
I ordered a pair and when I got them I knew that my riding was about to change.
I lived in Hawaii at the time and getting your feet wet and muddy as part of the ride was not uncommon. No shoe I tried would work worth a crap if they got wet or muddy and I had some pretty hairy situations thanks to that fact.
Enter the Intense Sticky Rubber shoe. I first saw them at Interbike and knew I had to try a pair. The soles looked durable and the dude at the booth said they were made of the same rubber they used in mountain climbing shoes. Sticky rubber sounded very promising to me…
I ordered a pair and when I got them I knew that my riding was about to change. I put them on and went for a pedal around the parking lot and found that I literally couldn’t get my feet to slide off the pedals. In fact, I had to pick my foot up just to twist it a little so I could adjust the position. It was a pretty insane after experiencing all the other shoes and their pathetic attempts to keep me on my pedals.
After Intense stopped making them I lost track of how to find them for a few years and was even forced to buy another pair of skate shoes when my original sticky rubber shoes finally wore out. One day my wife was on Zappos.com and found a pair of sticky rubber mountain biking shoes from this company named 5-10.
Seems that this mountain climbing shoe company made the original shoes for Intense and they started to sell them on their own after Intense stopped carrying them. I was stoked and ordered 2 pairs, just to be safe in case they stopped making them again for some reason.
I can not recommend these shoes enough – they will completely change your riding experience with flat pedals. I think that every new rider should start out on platform pedals and that every rider on platforms should use these shoes. They stand up to a lot of use and you’ll get at least 1+ years use out of a pair, making them a great value as well.
While they now come in a pretty wide variety of styles and colors I mainly use 3 styles for the types of riding I do:
Spitfires – These are a very light, thin soled shoe that doubles really well as an everyday shoe. These shoes are really light and comfortable and I really like the thin sole on this shoe. I actually prefer it as my pedaling shoe but the lack of protection from the uppers makes it a less than stellar choice for areas that have a lot of rocks.
Freeriders – These shoes are pretty light but they are a bit more overbuilt than the Spitfires, making them a good shoe for pedaling around where you might catch a rock with your feet every now and then. These are also some good everyday shoes and are very comfortable to wear around before and after a ride.
Impacts – These are the most commonly recognized type of 5-10 riding shoe and is their heavy duty DH shoe. This shoe is overbuilt and has a thicker sole with a bit more stiffness to it, although it is still very pliable. The thicker soles help a lot when you have to eject mid-air and come crashing down feet first and the overbuilt toe box takes the edge off of rock impacts to the feet. What makes them so great for heavy duty use also makes them less optimal for long distance pedals and wearing them around all day – the extra stiffness starts to catch up to your feet after a while.
I have to admit that I have not tried the offerings from other shoe companies but I can not believe that they are better than 5-10′s. If you haven’t tried them give them a shot, especially if your still rocking the $10 Payless shoes…