The sticky-yet-durable Five Ten Stealth rubber featuring on the Freerider VXi was developed to grip a range of surfaces, and the application to a shoe for flat pedals is, in hindsight, obvious.
The grip is better than anything else out there, to the extent that a criticism sometimes levelled at Five Ten shoes is that they’re too grippy, making it hard to reposition your foot on the pedal.
Video: Five Ten Freerider VXi shoes – first look
The Freerider VXi addresses that by doing away with the tread pattern under the front of the foot – it’s smooth where the pedal sits. It looks a bit mad, but works well: you can twist and shuffle without an issue, but you’ve still got at least as much grip as with rival shoes. Some bobbly bits are retained elsewhere for a bit more off-bike traction.
The whole shoe is way more svelte than the pioneering Five Ten Impact Low, with a thinner sole and slimmed-down construction. The result is a lot less clumpy-looking and considerably lighter.
There’s still plenty of protection, with the sole rubber extending up the sides and additional layers of material in critical locations. An extra panel on the inside where you might get crank rub is a nice touch.