When Five Ten launched the TrailCross Gore-Tex Mountain Bike Shoe earlier this year, they promised the holy grail of winter riding kit; waterproof flat pedal shoes. I absolutely had to get my feet in a pair. Where better to test waterproof kit than the midst of a Scottish winter? In addition to the countless puddles ploughed through, and myriad of muddy ruts roosted, I also took a more direct approach with the hose pipe. Here’s how the Five Ten TrailCross GTX MTB shoes fared.
Review: Five Ten TrailCross Gore-Tex Winter MTB Flats
It’s rather refreshing to see that Five Ten has done away with the 90s skater look with the new TrailCross GTX Flats, prioritizing function over the casual cool dude aesthetic rocked by almost all their other flat pedal shoe models. For winter riding I couldn’t really care less what my shoes look like, so long as they are keeping my feet warm and dry. And, in the case of flats, that rubber outsole needs to lock into the pedal pins to the point where I can pilot the bike well no matter what slippery conditions may lie underneath the tires.
So, have Five Ten ticked all those boxes with the TrailCross Gore-Tex MTB Flats? The binary answer: Yes. For a little more insight, read on.
Let’s start with the rubber. Despite a very respectable challenger in the form of Specialized’s SlipNot 3rd Gen rubber seen on the 2FO DH Flats, 2FO Roost and RIME Shoes, Five Ten rubber is still the Gold Standard for grippy rubber. And, the dual-compound Stealth rubber on the TrailCross GTX Flats is no different.
It gives me a locked-in feel on the pedals (tested with Pinnd Pedals and OneUp Pedals), to the point where changing foot position mid-descent isn’t really a viable option. I may not have been such a big fan of this feature as a beginner mountain biker many years ago. Now? It gives me complete confidence in the shoe pedal connection so I can focus all my attention on the trail ahead.
The fact that the EVA midsole isn’t too stiff is an important factor contributing to that solid connection, too. I find that overly stiff flat pedal shoes can often lead to feet bouncing off pedals no matter how grippy the rubber is. Being lightweight (58 kg) I’m fairly sensitive on this point.
But are they waterproof? Yes, but it really depends on how well you’re able to dress yourself (face palm). Throughout the test period my feet got wet just the once. On a particularly dreich (Scots for bleak) day, I got drenched to the point where the shoes had unfortunately taken on the form of wetsuit boots – you know, when they lock in a personal puddle of water. That morning, I had made the mistake of closing the ankle gaiters over the cuff of my MTB Pants. As you might imagine, as the pants got wet, as did my socks, which proceeded to carry water downwards into the shoe.
Needless to say, I have not made the same mistake since. With the ankle gaiters firmly closed underneath the tight ankle cuff of my Specialized Trail-Series Pants, my feet have remained warm and dry on every single ride since despite the hundreds of puddles I have ploughed through. Not yet satisfied, after hosing my bike down post-ride, I pointed the hose to the Five Ten TrailCross shoes. I’m pleased to say my feet remained dry, even after several minutes of hosing. The hose isn’t a jet wash, but it still puts out a decent pressure. Beyond the testing, this is awesome on another count; it means you can clean all the muck off your shoes outside without soaking the inner liner.
So, to no one’s real surprise, we determined the Gore-Tex membrane inside the Five Ten TrailCross GTX shoes really is waterproof.
I also found my feet remained toasty warm on rides, even on days where the mercury barely went above 2°C. The Gore-Tex membrane must also have decent breathability properties too, as I didn’t find my feet ever got too sweaty in there.
There’s no doubt about it, the Five Ten TrailCross GTX shoes are a game changer for winter riding here in the UK. I’ve recommended them to all of my riding pals, and now I’m recommending them to you. Pick up a pair for $200 USD at REI.
A final note on durability: This pair of shoes has seen regular use over the last two months, and so far there are no signs of any significant wear. We’ll update this review as and when signs of wear do appear.