Five Ten now makes the classic Freerider with eco-friendly Primeblue tech in a move to please everyone and the planet. Though the entry-level flat pedal shoe brings the famed Stealth rubber to a reasonable price point, the shoe is let down by its dated design.
- Buyer's guide to mountain bike and gravel shoes - a beginner's guide to flat and clipless options
- Scott MTB AR Flat shoe review
Since its conception in the late 2000s, the Freerider has been a go-to for many flat-pedal riders who are after some serious grip. However, it's never seen an update until now, after the new brand owner, Adidas, released the Primeblue collection.
Made with ocean plastic
The shoe may look the same as a regular Freerider, but the difference is in the fabric it's made from. That fabric is Primeblue, and it's made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic. The upper areas are largely made with a 75% Primeblue yarn textile, which is upcycled plastic that's been scooped out of our oceans. This Primeblue yarn replaces any virgin, never before used polyester that would otherwise make up the shoe's fabric.
Other than the new eco-friendly fabric, the Freerider design has remained untouched. So, you'll find a lace enclosure, a regular fit, a one-piece moulded cupsole, and the Stealth Dotty rubber outsole.
Straight away, you can see that it's a simple shoe with a rather casual design. There's no venting and no helpful lace tidy, which nods towards a more casual application.
How they ride
Both Jessica and I have had a pair of the FiveTen Freeriders on test for a while, both having similar thoughts and experiences with the shoe.
Jessica - Having a few pairs of Freeriders over the years, I was expecting some revision to the tried and tested style, especially as so many new flat MTB shoes have come to the market to compete with. The fit is very much the same as it has been for the past several years, with a flat sole that's quite hard underfoot. I found that the cushioned tongue kept slipping to one side as I rode, despite how careful I tied the laces, which was really annoying.
The grip was mediocre at best on the pedals, and the stiff build took a while to bed in for a more secure feeling. Even for casual shoes, the Freeriders are clunky and outdated against other models in the line and other brands on the market. While I applaud the efforts of Adidas FiveTen taking a more sustainable approach to shoe development, it's a shame they couldn't have updated the Freerider further.
Liam - On the foot, the shoe feels basic, and there's almost no cushioning in the sole, which becomes more noticeable over chattery terrain. Over such sections, it's easy for the shoe to eject off of the pedal, especially when climbing as the shoe and pedal aren't always weighted.
Though, when consistent weight is being put through the shoe and pedal, grip is definitely respectable. However, it can move around a little.
While the sole's grip is usable, the shoe's simplicity begins to let it down. As touched on before, there's no venting at all, forcing the shoe to rely on the fabric's natural breathability, of which there's very little.
It's also not the most supportive of shoes. The footbed is rather flat, so those who thrive with a bit of arch support will have to look elsewhere.
Value and verdict
You're paying for the Stealth sole and the eco-friendly Primeblue tech in terms of performance per pound. Shoes such as the Leatt DBX 2.0 Flat Pedal shoe offer superior weatherproofing, some ventilation, and a locked-in grip for £10 less than the Freeriders. The Leatt's also have a pretty casual look if that's what you're after, and I reckon they're comfier too.
Spend another £25, and you could go for the Crankbrothers Stamp Lace, my favourite flat shoe. The grip they offer is comparable with the Freerider's, and it's a much more stable shoe thanks to a cushioned midsole. There's also a neat lace tidy, and it's reasonably well vented. The Stamp just lacks off-bike grip. However, neither of those shoes comes with the eco-credentials of the Freerider Primeblue.
Suppose you're after a shoe that's designed for riding but also casual enough for a trip to the pub. In that case, the Five Ten Freerider Primeblue is exactly that but with an eco-friendly spin that only deserves praise. However, as a riding shoe, it falls behind its similarly priced competition due to its old-school design.