Recently I needed new mtn. bike shoes and wanted to try some Five Ten Shoes. Preferring to ride clipped in cause I feel it allows me added control while riding I chose the Hellcat because it was SPD Compatible.
Every shoe I’ve owned before was more geared to XC Race and Cyclocross. I liked the spikes for running up hill, the micro-adjust buckles and Velcro style strap on the shoes upper giving it the slicker look. Now that I’m not so slick I like the more casual feel of my new Hellcat’s.
Five Ten pioneered the rock climbing shoe in my opinion. It’s the first and only climbing shoe I’ve owned. So I was anxious to let loose on some new hipper shoes against my racing instincts.
Well I have to tell ya I couldn’t be happier, their breaking in nice. When I first got them I was a skeptic as usual and wanted to test them on the trail. Initially they felt stiff around the ankle and hard to pedal in.
I crashed through puddles and streams to see how absorbent the shoes were to regular riding elements in the spring. They stayed remarkable dry under splashes in small stream crossings. Being on the thicker padded side their not a race day shoe though. It didn’t bother me but I could see how they might get hot. Seeking more surface contact with the pedal I also switched to the new Shimano XT PD-M785 Trail Pedal from the Shimano SLX PD-M540. On the Trail Pedal Shimano added more contact area with the shoe and they also increased the cleat contact area adding a lot of control from the standard Race Pedal.
The Hellcat’s Sole is constructed of Five Ten’s proprietary S1 Stealth Rubber designed for shock absorption, added friction and control. Specifically when it’s wet and slick. They provide a whole new experience with added control of the bike. Plus when “Hiking my bike!” up hill on tough climbs they feel more natural like a wider trail shoe. Hiking on XC Race shoes it felt like hiking with ice skates when the ground was wet. The new width was noticed in tight technical sections and at first I was striking the shoes on rocks that I normally didn’t but once I got used to the new spacing requirements I was rarely striking but planning pedal strokes a little more.
The only catch is the shoes aren’t light but I think that’s the beauty of them. They aren’t trying to be anything but trail riding shoes and they work great for what they are designed for, All Mountain riding with control and comfort. While descending and doing drops the S1 Stealth Rubber really absorbs the chatter that I was experiencing with my old XC Race shoes. If you’re not racing XC and want control and comfort for more technical riding give them a try.