Stuff I Like: 5-10 Sticky Rubber Shoes

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…

-James Wilson-

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  1. Patrick O'Leary says:

    The Impact Low comes in size 14, too, for us big feet guys. I’m still on my first pair (going on a year and four months) and they’ve lasted through countless submersions and wet riding days up here in the PNW (if you want to ride at all in the winter you have to ride in the rain). You’d think the pedal pins (Easton Flatboy for me) would wear these types of shoes out in a hurry but mine are still going strong…

    Reply • June 11 at 4:03 pm
  2. John (aka Wish I Were Riding) says:

    I bought Teva’s. They are pretty good. However, I kind of wish I got some Spitfires after reading your descriptions. I probably would have ended up with the Impacts, but they wouldn’t have probably been right based on your descriptions. Thanks for this info though, I bet lots of people will find this useful. I have been riding flats for 4+ months now, and I really enjoy it even though my skills with them aren’t that good yet (staying connected all the time and hopping).

    Reply • June 11 at 7:26 pm
  3. Ivan Gastaldo says:

    We ride often, and we ride hard. I’ve been using a set of Mavic MTB shoes for the past year or so, and they have done the job, but every once in a while I get the feeling that my foot wants to slide out of the -sharp- flat pedals… (not a good thing!!)
    I’m thinking seriously about switching to 5-10’s Impacts, since a friend of mine made that switch, and they have showed to provide awesome grip & protection…
    Thanks for the write up James… we sure value your input, and it is now one more reason I should make the switch.

    Keep writing, and keep riding! 😉

    Reply • June 12 at 1:52 pm
  4. michael says:

    I have the spitfire’s and they’re better than my old vibramrubber approachshoes.
    I’m thinking about getting the Impact high, for downhilling, but I was wondering why aren’t there more high models?
    Does it hinder ankle movement too much? Is there another reason why lower shoes are more popular, even for freeriding and DH? I would think the extra height gives more support when you step of your bike inelegantly or protection against rocks.

    Reply • June 12 at 2:22 pm
    • Lee says:

      I have a set of Impact (lows), as well as a set of Lineking (high). The hightops don’t hinder any movement, but do give some nice protection to the ankle, which I like.

      Reply • August 6 at 10:28 am
  5. ED BIRCH says:


    Reply • June 12 at 11:51 pm
  6. Judd says:

    Ditto to all that. I only race on clips now. Platforms and 5.10’s for all other riding. I will say however that the new Teva Links are pretty nice too. My wife has them and loves them.

    Reply • June 13 at 1:05 am
  7. Joe says:

    Yeah, I got the spitfires several months ago. Luckily, the 510 warehouse is about 30 minutes from me. I swear by them! No slippage as long as your pedals(studs) aren’t flatten out. Great shoes and very light and comfortable. Just like snowboarding… If your feet are happy then your experience will be too.

    Reply • June 13 at 11:33 am
  8. Seaneria says:

    I ride the Shimano AM 41’s. I have ridden 5.10’s and loved the grip but always found them a little heavy and know that they are sponges in wet (Likely a biproduct of being a California company). I find the shimano are lighter, dry a bit quicker and have good grip (I wouldn’t say quite as good grip as the 5.10’s but I haven’t had any issues with slipping in them and bounce around a fair bit on my local trails here in the Kootenays). I also like the full lace guard and coverage of the feet. The soles also allow for a good pedal feel and are not too stiff. I’m very happy witht he 41’s and am on my second pair. (Have ridden the 5.10 Impacts and Freeriders if you are wondering which models I am using for comparison).

    Reply • June 13 at 1:28 pm
    • Seaneria says:

      Oh…and my pedals are Straitline (Both the De Facto and AMP depending on which bike)… relevent as they use the hex pins which add to the grip the pedal offers.

      Reply • June 13 at 1:30 pm
  9. Ashraf says:

    Just ordered a pair of Freeriders yesterday. Hoping they fit 🙂

    Reply • June 13 at 11:47 pm
  10. Jason says:

    So I got me a new pair of freeriders and they are awesome. Only thing I can’t figure out is how to tie the stupid things.

    Reply • June 22 at 6:04 pm
  11. […] 1) Shoe Selection: The #1 thing to know about riding flat pedals is that a good pair of flat pedal specific shoes is a must. If you are trying to ride flat pedals with your tennis shoes then you’ll never feel confident on the trail. You need shoes that are made specifically for riding flat pedals, preferably with a sticky rubber compound like that found on the soles of 5-10 brand shoes. I wrote an article going over the different model shoes 5-10 makes and the types of riding I use them for that you can read by clicking here. […]

    Reply • September 11 at 6:53 am
  12. Dave says:

    Loved this article and love your site. Just came across it on Pinkbike and it’s everything I could imagine a good mtb/strength site to be.
    I’m a huge fan of 5-10 shoes and won’t ride in anything else. For flat pedal riding (which I go back and fourth with between clipless for the skills aspects) I go with the Impact Low’s or the Freeriders. I’ve got a pair of spitfire’s as well, but they’re more for casual, everyday use. I love the fact that I can depend on my 5-10’s not only to last, but to be comfortable too. They’re one of the few things that I’m able to just wear and forget about!

    Reply • September 11 at 9:19 am
  13. Dan says:

    These sound just the job for my window cleaning round. I’m looking for a shoe with a firm sole for standing on ladder rungs but also grippy for when stood on slippery roofs. Now I just need to find a uk stockist.

    Reply • December 11 at 1:43 am
  14. jai 910 says:

    after reading this article, i bought a FiveTen Impact Low shoe…coupled with Spank Spike flatpedal. the result..amazing! tried other shoes, but not the same as impact low. the sole sticked to the pedals pin nicely. im a size 8 (UK) but my impact low shoe is a size 8.5 (uk). at first i think its big. but after i tried long distance cycle..its very comfortable, lots of room for my feet to breath. no pain at all for my feet.

    sticky, stable during descent, downhill, foot down.

    the bulky size of the impact low like giving me a bit more kick power to the pedal, like having a higher momentum during down stroke.

    when i put my foot down during climbing on sandy hill..the grips on the ground is not bad at all. its not slippery up to a point you will slip and fall.

    highly recommend five ten for cycling. looks good too.

    Reply • March 31 at 2:06 am
  15. Jake Carsten says:

    I’ve been wearing 5-10s for about 5 years now (Freeriders and Impacts) and love them. I just purchased a pair of Teva MTB shoes since they are being closed out on Amazon for $33. I love the fit and structure of the shoe, but the sole is just no match for grip compared to the 5-10s. After testing the Teva’s on my dirt jump bike and my trail bike, I felt way less confident with these shoes, so they will only be worn for daily walkers as the grip just does not stand up to my 5-10s.

    Reply • August 6 at 10:09 am

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