As a small woman with size 4, narrow feet, it took me ages to find a decent pair of shoes for mountain biking with flat pedals. For a long time I made do with wearing a pair of Nike high tops, which were fine in many respects, except when it came to somewhat crucial matter of gripping the pedals! After shredding my shins on several occasions, and a few hairy moments involving finding myself mid flight with just one foot on the pedals, I stepped up my search for a better solution.
Most of the ones I tried looked like orthopedic shoes, and on the rare occasion that I was able to find a pair in my size, they looked and felt like boats on my feet. When, eventually, I heard that Five Ten were bringing out a pair of female specific Freerider shoes I was over the moon, and got my feet in a pair as soon as they hit the shops.
It was a revelation. Not only are the Five Ten Women’s Freerider shoes designed to fit a woman’s smaller, and generally narrower foot, but they look awesome too. The narrower fit on the heel and forefoot holds my foot more securely than any of the men’s or unisex shoes that I’ve tried, and the low profile design means they don’t feel clumpy.
However, what set them apart from any other shoes I’d used for mountain biking with flats, was the Stealth rubber sole, which grips the pedals amazingly well, whilst also allowing you to reposition or get your feet off the pedals easily enough when you need to.
The fact that the shoes look great is also an added bonus. I’m not one for overly girly colours or designs but think that the pink sole and trim on the otherwise dark grey shoe, looks great, and adds a touch of edgy femininity without being nauseatingly cutesy.
The only area where they fall down is in the wet. Unfortunately these shoes aren’t remotely waterproof and let in water really easily, which isn’t ideal for winter riding. I tend to wear them with waterproof socks if I know it’s likely to be wet, but my feet still get cold. What’s more, once wet, they can take quite a long time to dry out, and even with the insole removed, stuffed with newspaper and placed in airing cupboard, they take at least a full day or so to dry.
On a positive note, they’re pretty easy to clean and can even go in the washing machine if need be, although I try not to do that too often.
All in all, I’ve been really pleased with them, and despite their lack of wet weather credentials, they’re by far the best mountain biking shoes I’ve tried. They’re perfect for summer, but it would be great to have a more waterproof version for winter riding.
Stealth rubber sole – supper grippy
Female specific fit – narrower toe and heel
Not waterproof, at all
Take a while to dry out
What shoes do you wear for mountain biking? Any recommendations?
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Great article on the new women’s version of the Freeriders. I am a size 6 so can wear the unisex ones and I love mine.
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