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  1. #1
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    Looking for flat pedal shoes, unable to try on, looking for recs/comparisons

    I live in an area that's an armpit of flat pedal riding (Indiana). Around here, it's definitely a "clipless or die" environment. I've been riding clipless since at least 2000. Currently on Crank Bros Candy SL's I've been using without serious complaint since 05. I have wanted for awhile to get platforms for the mtb, at least for part time riding, and have decided to just ride platforms full time in 2014 and maybe beyond if I like them full time.

    I've had cheap plastic pinned platforms on my commuter for a few years, and just this fall got a freebie set of Kona Wah Wahs for them. My wife got a sweet Blur XC Carbon with full XTR this summer, and was adamant about having no desire to ride clipless pedals. I got her a set of Blackspire Sub4 pedals, and she loves them.

    So, I'm switching my mtb over full time now. I figured it's time because my old Lake MX 165's have been glued back together far too many times. If I have to buy new shoes, anyway, might as well make the pedal switch. Not to mention, they're painful to wear when it's cold out. I'm going to be getting a set of Blackspire Sub4's, also, since I like the pin design.

    For now, I'll just be wearing whatever shoes I've got for the wintertime. Probably straight up boots for the coldest rides. I will be getting good shoes later. But I want to dive into researching what's out in the market, because I have access to exactly ZERO shoes meant to be used with platforms. I've met one local wearing 5.10 Impacts, and there's no way I'm wearing those clunky monsters on XC rides.

    I've been browsing 5.10's website, and am curious about differences people have noted between the Freeriders and the Freerider Vxi's. And with the Vxi's, how that smooth ball of the foot grips the ground when it's damp on HAB sections. The rocks we have around here are limestone, which are slick as snot even if they're slightly damp from dew. Clipless mtb shoes are like ice skates on these rocks with the hard rubber. But we also have a lot of clay (primary soil component) that is very slippery when wet so I'm concerned about the lack of tread on the Vxi's. I have read a few comments that they're stiffer than the regular Freeriders, but no true direct comparisons.

    I'm also curious if anyone has tried some of 5.10's Outdoor shoes on the bike and can compare. For example, the Æscent and the Guide Tennie. It looks like the Guide Tennie has a fairly flexible sole, but the Æscent reads like it has a stiffer sole that might work on the bike. Using them on the bike is even part of the product description.

    My wife just wears some regular Keen hiking shoes, but she's not as aggressive as I am, and she shies away from technical terrain that I will ride. I will be wearing some regular hiking shoes to start out with, but they definitely have hard rubber soles. I don't hold much hope that they'll grip the pedals THAT well. If, however, I could find a similar shoe that had a stickier rubber compound sole, I'd be interested. I'm not a fan of the super flat skate shoe style for walking in the woods on hike-a-bike sections.

  2. #2
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    Looking for flat pedal shoes, unable to try on, looking for recs/comparisons

    Well I have some Sam Hill impacts and switched to the freerider xvi and I love these shoes. Not as bulky and they grip like crazy. Haven't tried the regular freeriders. Good luck with your decision.


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  3. #3
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    I have been using the Five Ten Camp Four shoes for flat pedal riding for several years. On my third pair now. Before that I used the Five Ten Guide shoes for several years. I like the Camp Four shoes better since I do a lot of hike a bike or ride to a hike and the Camp Four are great for hiking also. The Camp Four shoes have a great grippy sole and are supportive and great for hiking or biking. The Guide shoes had great grip on the pedals but the soles were a little thin if you have long pins in your pedals you could eventually feel them. Lots of mountain miles on flat pedals on the Camp Four shoes and really like them for biking.

  4. #4
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    i've got both the regular freeriders and the xvis. i like the xvis better. they are slimmer and don't look like poofy skate shoes. the outsides of them are also easier to clean since they aren't a suede-like material. the soles are definitely stiffer, but i have no scientific evidence to back that up.

  5. #5
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    Any of you xvi users done much hike-a-bike in those shoes? That smooth area on the sole looks like it'd be death sometimes.

    Also, anyone compare with the Æscent? The Camp Four looks like a good shoe. I was a little concerned that it's more aggressive tread might engage less with the pedals.

  6. #6
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    I'm in the same boat....although I just started riding off road

    all of my buddies ride clipless, we have a lot of hills, nothing very long but lots of steeps, up and down. I picked up a turner 6 pack last year after having knee reconstruction acl/mcl/pcl all at once. I'm just now getting to the point where I feel strong enough to ride off road, but the clipless scare me at this point so I picked up a pair of cb 5050's to try out. I've got a pair of freerider vxi's coming, but I'm wondering if I should have went with the impact...maybe even the tall (for the winter)

    the freerider xvi defiently looks a lot smaller and "less remedial" compared to the impact, but I don't mind looking goofy if it will help me climb any better on platforms. On the other side, if the freerider vxi's perform as well, then I would rather have the lighter shoe that could be worn off the bike as well.

    I've read countless threads on the clipless vs flat debate and I've concluded the only way to know is to try both. at my skill level I know it's not going to be the shoe/pedal combo holding me back.

  7. #7
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    The grip of 5.10 is great. I wouldn't worry about the non-treaded portion of the new Freeriders for hike-a-bikes. I've used the base model Freerider for riding, casual wear, and when they're done for that they become my kitchen shoes (I'm a full time chef) and they get sticker in the slipperiest of kitchen messes.

    Platforms will change your riding habits, for the better. It's easier to start on an incline and bails are easier. It takes some adjustment in riding style to pick the rear end up versus clip in pedals. On flat ground, in grass the first few times, ride along; shift weight forward; grip the pedals by curling the toes forward; lift rear wheel off ground. Progress to doing bunnyhops using the same technique. Good luck.

    Keep in mind, the xvi has more ventilation than the base model. I've ridden in mine (base) down to freezing. With adequate socks and no wet weather the shoes were fine in those temps.

  8. #8
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    I have a Impact high's I wear in cold and crappy weather and Sam hill's I wear when its really hot out.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    Keep in mind, the xvi has more ventilation than the base model. I've ridden in mine (base) down to freezing. With adequate socks and no wet weather the shoes were fine in those temps.
    That is not a concern for me. Right now, I'm just wearing hiking boots for winter riding.

    FWIW, the xvi is also available in an "Elements" version without all that ventilation and some sort of insulating insole. For me, though, (at least for now) I'll just be wearing a summer shoe in the summer and something else when it's cold. My hiking boots have been working well enough with the Kona Wah-Wahs I transferred to my mtb for the weekend's winter rides before the Sub 4's are delivered.

  10. #10
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    my free rider vxi's arrived today, fit is spot on in the length, I usually wear 10.5 and order 10.5

    However they do feel a little tight in the width, is this something that will stretch a bit or do I need a different shoe/size?

    I also have a pair of impact high's coming later this week.

  11. #11
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    I've been using regular Vans lo-tops with Shimano DX flats/short pins,and have no issues with coming off the pedals.The one thing I am noticing,is the lack of padding where my ankle rubs the crank.

    I'm about to order a pair of Five-Ten Freeriders and was wondering about the soles,also. I was told that you have to lift your foot off the peddle if you want to reposition your foot.Not sure if I'm gonna like that or not. I would like to keep the short pins in because I really don't want the long pins slamming into my shins,so maybe they'll have just the right amount of grip on my pedals.Sounds like they'll be just fine for hike-a-bike.

  12. #12
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    My Freeriders are just great and grippy.
    The VXi Elements look great though.
    Iīm sure the elements sole is great.
    I also use Vans when riding, but not in heavy terrain though, the fivetens are better there. I donīt really miss clipless at all and havenīt even used my fiveten clipless shoes, Hellcats.
    rogbie:
    Thatīs a great way of explaining doing bunnyhops! Itīs exactly the way I looked at it, nice!

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