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  1. #1
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    Flat shoes quick comparison

    In the 90's I was the local daredevil/freerider. Along came kids and 29ers and i turned into a bit of wuss. Had a really nasty crash about 15 months ago where I stayed clipped and became even more of a wuss. Decided I needed to make a change and went all in on flat pedals. That was more than a year ago and I can assure I will not go back to clipless pedals unless paid to do so. Tried then once in the last year and it felt like I was trying to balance on a tiny piece of metal. That's the background.

    Flat pedals seem to be gaining popularity so I thought I would share my experience with the Shoe part of the equation. All riding has been done on Xpedo Spys if you need to know. This may be a bit rambling, so sorry in advance.

    I picked up a pair of 5-10 FreeRider Danny MacAskill edition mostly because I liked the enduro blue color. The seemed a bit heavy for an upcoming six hour ride so I picked up a pair of 5-10 SpitFires. These were marginally lighter so wound up getting a pair 5-10 standard FreeRiders and later picked up a pair of Specialized 2FO on a whim. Here is a pretty loose and disorganized comparison of those four shoes. I hope those who are making the switch can glean something useful from this.

    Weight
    Probably not the most important aspect of buying a shoe but I do a bunch of long rides, IMBA epics and some Enduro and XC races and if I'm going to be picking these things up and putting them down thousands of times per day, I figure I should concern myself with weight. Here are the weights of the left shoe, all measured today.

    • 439g Specialized 2FO
    • 446g 5-10 FreeRiders
    • 470g 5-10 SpitFire
    • 559g 5-10 Danny MacAskill


    Shinner-proofing
    If your new to flats, your going to experience the dreaded "shinner". Get shim pads when you starting out. I use G-Forms --which run a bit small FYI. I have not had a shinner in a few month so I mostly only use the shin pads when its cold and wet or dangerous riding is anticipated. So which shoes stick to the pedal the best? There are two factors in my opinion: the softness of the compound and the flexibility of the sole. The SpitFires win on both accounts. Followed by the FreeRiders, MacAskills and 2FO in a distant last place.

    The SpitFires have the most flexible sole and are tied with the FreeRiders for the most stick rubber. I read that Danny doesn't like too much sticky so the MacAskialls are a bit less sticky of a compound and the soles are also a tad bit stiffer than than the FreeRiders --both are much stiffer than the SpitFires but neither can compare to the 2FO which are stiff as hell and have really hard rubber soles. I've only got a few rides on the 2FOs but I'm thinking a need to wear the shin pads until I figure them out. I can easily slide the shoe back in forth across the pedal. All three of 5-10 don't slide at all

    Comfort
    As I mentioned, I do a lot of long as rides so I want comfortable shoes. All 3 of the 5-10 are damn comfortable. I'd give the nod to the MacAskills because they have some kind of bonus insert that is just great.

    It doesn't seem to matter much to me, but there are vary degrees of heal cup ...a little achilles hugging part of the shoe that keeps it from slipping off I guess. I wear my shoes loose as hell and even then I could care less about the heal cup. The MacAskill have no cup. The 2FO have a very pronounced hear cup. The other two 5-10 have a reasonable amount of heal cup.

    Also, I ride with the pedal close to mid foot so sole stiffness does not matter too much to me.

    Hot Weather
    I live in San Antonio Texas and riding in wool socks like some old man. (Defeet's are my fav's especially WoolieBoolies and The Blaze. Last summer I only had the MacAskills and the SpitFires. Neither were ever an issue. It looks as if the FreeRiders and the 2FO will be cooler however. I'm going to give the nod to the FreeRiders because the 2FOs are kind of plastic feeling and may not breath as well

    Wet Weather
    Again, I'm from SA and it does not rain much here but from a keeping your feet dry standpoint, I'd usually put on the MacAskills. The 2FOs are suppose to dry out fast, but they also look like they would just let the water right on in.

    Longevity
    You can read in one of my other threads that I felt the quality was a little down for the MacAskills and the SpitFires. If you look at the pics both are suffering some pretty sever sole wear from the pedals' pins. I even tried giving the MacAskills to GoodWill but my wife said they would take shoes with holes in the sole. Both of those shoes have at least 1000 miles each on them so I guess I got no room to complain ...except that I've had Sidis last for a decade. The 2FOs look like they are going to last a long as time whereas I would consider all three of the 5-10s to be good for about a year or so depending on how much you use them.

    Random thoughts on each shoe

    5-10 FreeRider Danny MacAskill addition. Go watch his videos and if ride anything like him than get these shoes. These are just stupid comfortable and the soles are stiff and reasonable sticky. Because of the sturdiness, I wear these when it's highly likely that I will have to bail off the bike, if it's wet or old outside ...or if I need to color match the rest of my "enduro" blue garb.

    5-10 SpitFire
    These are the only pair of the four that are mid-rise so they have ankle protection if you need that. It has not been a factor for me. Really thin, flexible sole with soft rubber --these shoes make me feel fast because I can really wrap them around the pedals. Logic would say that the flexible soles would get old on really long rides but I have never felt any foot fatigue every. I grab these when I'm going out to do some skills work on the local trails with the dog.

    5-10 FreeRiders
    These are my favorites. They really only win in one category, tieing with the SpitFires for soft compound soles. I can't put my finger on the reason why, but I reach for these when racing or doing something really challenging. Because these are not the latest model --that would be the VXIs, which are soon to be replaced with yet a new model --you can get these cheap ...$67 is what I paid.

    Specialized 2FO
    I bought these on a whim and paid dearly ...something like $130 ...sight unseen. I did get a quick look at a pair but not much to go on. The toe box is smaller than any of the 5-10s. The soles are also taller/thicker which, while I don't notices too much on the bike, would in theory make one sit up higher on the bike. They have an extremely pronounced heal cup too. These are supposed to be well ventilating and quick drying but I cannot confirm that. Due to the stiff sole and the fact that I'm not super comfortable with the rubber compound, I can see these becoming my go to shoes on days when the trails are to muddy to ride and I'm riding around on the streets.

    I hope that helps someone.
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  2. #2
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    Great write up appreciate the insight 👍

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