In Issue #111 of Singletrack Magazine, James gave us his verdict on the latest Freerider EPS shoes from Five Ten after a solid winter of use and abuse.
Five Ten’s classic Freerider is a ubiquitous flat pedal shoe much loved by many mountain bikers. Popular for good reason, combining both good looks and great function – they are a versatile shoe that offers excellent feel and grip and work well both on and off the bike.
The Freerider range features a number of different variants. This particular Freerider model has been designed for winter (and British) use, so is it ideal for wet and cold riding then?
EPS stands for Elements Primaloft System. It builds on the extra weatherproofing features of the Freerider Elements adding Primaloft (a synthetic insulating material with a high warmth-to-weight ratio) and packs in other heat-retaining materials and construction techniques to better deal with inclement weather. A layer of Primaloft insulation is present from the instep forward, the forefoot is one-piece synthetic leather DWR coated for water repellency and there are minimal seams throughout the shoe. Foam insulation is used in the heel and the tongue includes a layer of Primaloft, plus it is gusseted to help keep heat in and muck and water out. The heat retaining methods don’t stop there as, in addition, the footbed is insulated and heat reflective.
The classic repeating dot pattern Stealth S1 rubber is used on the sole of the shoe giving high-performance riding and hiking sections of trail and wearing well. Happily the extra materials used to keep feet warmer and drier have not added noticeable bulk – the familiar look of the shoe has been maintained and weight increase is minimal.
It’s been damp out most days the past few months (from late autumn onwards) and temperatures have been a mix of unseasonably mild and sub-zero days. Some rides have been very wet, most have been damp, there’s been some snow, lots and lots of muck and errant clart and some standing around on cold ground taking photos. My feet have been well looked after with the EPS shoes. Water has beaded off from splashes on rainy days and I have found the useable temperature range is good down to freezing.
While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that these are the definitive flat pedal winter shoe, I can attest to the insulating materials and features making for cosy, happy feet and keeping cold toes at bay. They have good keep-warm and keep-dry qualities, and work very well in cold weather when splashing through puddles.
This almost goes without saying, but they are not an out-and-out winter shoe. Depends on your definition of winter riding really – if submerged and there is water ingress, then expect core temperatures to drop; they are not totally sealed and there is no neoprene collar or similar sealing shoe to ankle/lower leg. If you are after more protection from the elements, a high-top model is available which offers additional coverage.
The Freerider EPS is an excellent poor weather shoe, for cold and wet conditions, splashing through puddles and sending spray from the trail, the shoes have been ideal for keeping feet warm. When they’ve got wet, they’ve dried in good time.
For the majority of the conditions described above, the EPS shoes have worked well and been a welcome part of my riding wardrobe at this time of year. Using these shoes my feet have stayed warmer than my usual wool sock and shoe combo and that is a certified Good Thing™
|From:||Five Ten, fiveten.com|
|Tested:||by James Love for 5 months|