The Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In was launched in early 2022, aimed at adventurous mountain bikers, gravel riders and bikepackers alike.
Its trainer-like construction is designed to make life easier for riders who might experience some pushing, pulling or carrying of their bike on rides.
Delving deeper into the construction and performance of the shoe backs this up.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes specification and details
Five Ten‘s hallmark is the brand’s Stealth rubber, used on the soles of all its shoes. The Trailcross Clip-In uses the Stealth Marathon rubber, a slightly harder-wearing version of the compound than you’d find on, for example, the Five Ten Impact Pro flat-pedal shoe.
The centre of the foot features the dimpled tread we’re used to seeing on Five Ten’s shoes, while the toe and heel have a longitudinal bar tread pattern, to help with grip when scrambling up or down muddy or rocky surfaces.
The cleat bed is broad, allowing full side-to-side adjustment of your cleat, and while the cleat channel doesn’t extend quite as far back as I’ve found in some shoes, I didn’t struggle to get the cleats far enough back for my tastes.
The bed has position markers, helping you place your cleats accurately. Chamfers at the front and back of the cleat bed are there to aid entry and exit of the cleat into the pedal mechanism.
My Shimano cleats didn’t sit proud of the sole, and so while there’s some cleat chatter on rough surfaces, I could walk through a restaurant without turning heads.
Five Ten has engineered extra toe flex into the shoe to help with walking, so the sole doesn’t have as much front-to back stiffness as some shoes.
EVA foam is built into the shank. This boosts the shoe’s comfort and contributes to the fairly deep-looking heel section of the sole.
Inside the shoe is a relatively basic-feeling insole. It has moderate levels of arch support and dries quickly. Some may argue that dedicated bikepackers might want to invest in custom insoles, anyway, and so I’ll excuse Five Ten for what feels like a functional rather than fancy insole.
The upper is one of the best-ventilated I’ve used in recent years.
The bulk of the upper has a fairly open mesh construction, but it’s bolstered in key areas to ensure longevity.
Toes are fairly well protected. The front of the toe box is solid, should you kick anything, while there’s reasonable protection for the top of the toes. The protection extends round the side of the foot, softening as it goes. This saves weight and helps with scuffs, but isn’t as protective, or as stiff and supportive, as some of the heavier-weight enduro/DH focused shoes around.
The heel doesn’t feature particularly bulky protection. There’s ample padding around the heel, though, with a fairly well-defined heel cup.
Laces are used to secure the foot in the shoe. I found the laces didn’t bind in their eyelets, making loosening or tightening the shoes nice and simple. The Velcro strap is there to increase foot security.
The shoe’s tongue uses the same mesh material as the upper, and is thin compared to some of the best mountain bike shoes.
Five Ten has added reflective details on the Velcro strap and on the heel.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes performance
I’ve used this shoe extensively over the past few months. It was my footwear of choice for a 2,600km bikepacking trip across Europe, as well as various mountain bike rides, including one with a 1,600m (vertical height gain) hike-a-bike segment.
While this is predominantly a cycling shoe, Five Ten highlights its off-bike performance as a key attribute, so I’ll start there.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes off-bike performance
Off the bike, the Trailcross Clip-In is one of the best cycling shoes I’ve come across. The toe flex extends far enough back to make walking in the shoe feel natural, and the EVA midsole ensures prolonged hikes are comfortable.
Five Ten’s Stealth Marathon rubber is tacky enough to stand confidently on marginal slithers of rock when clambering with a bike on your back. The tread pattern does a good job of providing grip in most situations, though in deep, slippery mud, I’d prefer a slightly sharper tread to dig in better.
The heel section of the shoe appears pretty deep, but also offers ample bump absorption when bailing from the bike or during prolonged on-foot descents.
Heel lift is near non-existent, in my experience, largely thanks to the Velcro strap. It gets in the way when tying the laces, but other than that is an integral part of the shoe’s overall fit.
The only criticism I have is with the toe box. It’s narrower than many other Five Ten shoes, though I’d counter that by saying if you fit in a pair of Adidas Sambas, for example, you won’t find the shape surprising – it’s much more Adidas trainer than Five Ten Impact.
This means, on walked descents, those with average-to-wide feet might find their toes getting squashed – again, the Velcro strap really helps mitigate this.
Despite plenty of pushing and carrying, the sole isn’t showing undue levels of wear.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes on-bike performance
On the bike, the flexible sole that so aids walking gives the shoe its one minor downside, certainly from a dropped-bar point of view. The shoe really benefits from a platform-style pedal, rather than an unsupportive XC pedal. I found when run with smaller pedals, a hot-spot under the foot would appear after a couple of hours.
With platform pedals, the shoe effectively and comfortably transfers pedalling power, all day. It’s not race-shoe stiff either, which further aids all-day comfort.
With the cleat sat flush with the bottom of the sole, I found pedal pins (on the Nukeproof Horizon CS pedals I use) dug into the sole aggressively at the start. This made releasing from the pedals a little stiffer than I expected, though after a week’s use, pedal and shoe meshed nicely, and I no longer suffered from stiff releases.
When pedalling, the first thing I noticed was how well ventilated these shoes are. A cool breeze easily cuts through the tops of the shoes. As such, I’d be wary of wearing them on cooler days if you suffer from cold feet. However, in hotter temperatures this is a real bonus.
Consequently, they also let water in immediately, the smallest splash getting through to your socks. They do, however, dry out quickly, no doubt helped by the thin tongue.
I found the shoes very comfortable on long rides. The upper half of the shoe helps here too. The laces allow control over the tension of the shoe’s upper. I didn’t find tension migrated across the laces during a day’s ride, and the Velcro strap didn’t press the lace’s knot into the top of the foot, even with the thin tongue.
The heel cup is well formed, and padding around the ankle unobtrusive, while still preventing any unwanted digging in.
Despite daily, unsympathetic use, other than a couple of scuffs, the shoes aren’t showing much wear, suggesting good durability.
In setting my cleat position, I pulled the thread from one of the cleat plates. I wouldn’t necessarily mention this, because these things can happen with any shoe. However, I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere with these particular shoes, so it may be worth taking care when mounting your cleats, pre-screwing in cleat bolts before securing the cleats for example, to ensure the threads are clean.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In shoes bottom line
In some respects, the Trailcross Clip-In is a shoe that fills a fairly narrow niche. After all, not many people go out of their way to head off on rides where there’s going to be a lot of pushing. However, if you are one of those people, it does the job exceptionally well.
It’s comfortable to wear all day, so long as the shape fits, it works well with platform pedals and its off-bike performance is exemplary.
As such, I’d have no qualms recommending it to bike tourers and gravel bikepackers, as well as mountain bikers who find themselves carrying their bikes up mountains to search out un-ridden lines.
As a trail or enduro shoe, I think there are better options. The upper could offer more toe protection, and the lightweight construction doesn’t give the foot quite as much stability and control as a burlier shoe might. However, if ventilation is key, it’s probably the best I’ve ridden.
On a regular gravel ride, I’d still pick one of the best cross-country shoes – my gravel rides include less pushing than my bikepacking did, and I generally use XC race pedals, with which these shoes didn’t work so well.