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REVIEW

Five Ten Trailcross GTX Gore-Tex

Words Pete Roggeman and Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Date Nov 18, 2021
Reading time

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait - Pete Roggeman

But oh boy, have we waited.

The first time we saw the Five Ten Trailcross line laid out on a table under a tent in the middle of Whistler village during Crankworx back in 2019, we've been waiting for those shoes to materialize. And waiting. And waiting. That Trailcross preview article drew a lot of attention, and for good reason. The look of the shoes was polarizing, but the tantalizing prospect that the dual-branded Adidas/FiveTen shoes hinted at was printed for all to see on the side of one of the prototype models: Gore-Tex.

Finally the flat shoe maestros were going to do what so many of us had been asking for since long before the wheel-size wars: FiveTen was going to give us a waterproof shoe. Or so we thought. Not long after, the Trailcross models were teased. Three of them. And they looked pretty good, but the Gore-Tex model wasn't to be found. There were whispers. Rumors. I think a couple dozen boxes fell off a truck somewhere near the Borders area in the UK (an area that is just as wet and nasty as it is here on the West coast of BC). They could't be bought, and there was no definitive word on when they'd be available.

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A prototype Trailcross "Mid Pro" that was designed to keep water and slop at bay, without being completely waterproof

In the interim I reviewed the Five Ten Trailcross XT - the slightly higher than low-cut version that I liked but that ultimately let in too much trail debris through the well-intentioned but loose-lipped ankle gusset. Next up was the Trailcross Mid Pro, which is a higher-cut version than the XT with a proper gusset and padding on the inside of the ankle. Better effort as an all-around trail shoe and really just about perfect for most conditions for me; the only thing lacking (other than a waterproof membrane) was that there wasn't any armour in the forefoot or toe area, which wasn't a big deal for many rides. Given that the Trailcross line is intended to blend trail riding, hiking, and bikepacking, I'd say it hit its mark. We were all, however, still left wondering when we'd see the GTX version. Winter is coming after all, and before winter is Fall - the wet season here is to be feared. Little did we know this year's wet season would be downright biblical.*

*Biblical to the point that our riding friends in the Fraser Valley are currently dealing with flooding and issues that waterproof footwear can't fix. We're thinking of you folks out there in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Merritt, and all points currently under water. We hope things get better soon.

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The familiar Trailcross sole with added grip at toe and heel for skirmishes that take place off the bike

Finally we got our hands on some of the elusive Five Ten Trailcross Gore-Tex (GTX) shoes, and it was both underwhelming and awesome. Underwhelming only because it took a long time to finally get my fingers on them after having seen proto version in the flesh, photos online, and having worn their close cousins for many rides. Awesome because after several rides and hikes, they've entirely lived up to what they promised to be: a mid-high cut FiveTen with Stealth rubber and a waterproof membrane. Typing it out now makes it seem fairly simple, but for whatever reason it's been an ordeal getting these shoes to market. At least when they finally arrived, they weren't a disappointment.

Almost everything I wrote about the Trailcross Mid Pro translates to the GTX version. There are small differences: the gusset in the GTX version uses hook-and-loop to close, which makes it snug as you could want and keeps out trail debris (unlike the Trailcross XT) and water - to a degree (the best way to keep water out is to wear pants with a cuff that comes down over the shoe's ankle gusset). The Stealth rubber sole hangs on to a good flat pedal like a crampon in a blizzard. They are comfortable and, as I alluded earlier, that comfort translates not only to pedaling but to hiking as well. This was a stated purpose of the Trailcross line, and I think the GTX version fits in to that trail/bikepack/hike category better than all the rest, if you consider doing those things in three seasons or four.

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You can just spray these off when they are still on your feet and be pretty sure they'll be dry in the morning

I have stood in puddles, walked across streams (ankle deep) and ridden in truly wet conditions where the spray off my front tire would have soaked any of my other non-waterproof shoes. And my feet stayed dry. While hiking, foraging, or clearing blowdown on trails and kicking out drains, my feet not only stayed dry, but I was comfortable. For less serious hiking of moderate distances (2-3 hours), these are perfectly good, making the 280 CAD investment a little easier to take if you're the kind of person who likes at least some of your bike gear to do double duty.

My only niggle with the Trailcross GTX is one that is possibly at odds with the designed intention of the shoe: it could have more of a toe bumper to guard against interaction with rocks and anything else that your forefoot could contact (or get squeezed into by your pedal if you end up in that awkward situation). That would add weight and bulk and make them less effective for longer days of pedaling, whether you're a bikepacker or just want to wear them for long rides. For me, it's an acceptable trade-off, and I hold out hope that there is a Freerider Pro GTX in the making. Until then, Adidas/FiveTen may have made us wait an awful long time for the Trailcross GTX, but it was worth it.


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Padding isn't a big priority here but Cam found the protection adequate

The Missing Piece - Cam McRae

Since my switch back to flats several years ago, I have spent little time lamenting the change. There are a few things I miss occasionally, like the knowledge my feet are likely to stay attached (particularly on janky single track climbs or at speed in rough stuff), and the ability to sneak through narrow spaces, but that's about it in terms of the riding experience. Shoes however are another issue entirely. COVID shortages aside, there has never been a better selection of quality flat pedal shoes. The days of Five Ten or nothing are long gone and other brands are unlocking the secrets of sticky rubber. You can choose between stiffer or more flexible soles, more or less protection, and even find a style that helps your feet look youthful, dewy, and desirable.

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I went hiking on the last day of our recent deluge wearing a pair of long discontinued pre-Adidas, Five Ten Camp Four Gore-Tex approach shoes. They did the job on the trail, and are much more robust, but in terms of waterproofing, I would have preferred the addition of the effective velcro gaiters found on the Trailcross GTX.

However, with minor decent exceptions along the way, a gaping maw had remained un-sutured in this market: an effective, widely available flat shoe for those of us who have to deal with both cold and wet conditions, generally at the same time, but without any performance compromise. I'm talking about something that is reliably waterproof and designed to also keep out muck from above. The Five Ten Trailcross GTX aims to be that shoe. Based on the fairer-weather Trailcross models, the GTX has an almost identical upper and lower to the XT and Mid Pro models. Neither is my current favourite, but I can ride well in either with few complaints. I wish the sole was a little wider, stiffer, and with less trail shoe camber, but lacing them up is no hardship. As a fussy flat shoe rider, they meet my minimum expectations.

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I had my doubts about standing in a creek or spraying my feet with a hose, but the Five Ten GTX shoes passed both tests

The GTX rides virtually identically to the vented versions, but with a neoprene ankle cuff and a Gore-Tex liner. I've already had ample opportunities to ride these shoes in atmospheric rivers and my feet have stayed completely dry. The velcro cuff fits my skinny ankles very well but some will find them a little small. In my experience, the fit is quite true to size, or maybe a little large (although I've heard others say the opposite) but I find the toe box excessively roomy, meaning my feet swim around a little even with thick wool socks. For winter shoes I'd prefer them a little large though so I'm willing to deal with that. Furthering the swimming theme, I'd appreciate a more contoured insole to support my arch and provide a more positive feel under foot. Grip is excellent however although not at the top of the Five Ten friction scale. I generally have to sit to reposition however so those who prefer less traction my feel too stuck.

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I don't really care if my shoes look like skate shoes or mountain bike shoes, as long as they work as advertised. And these look fine.

That underwhelming endorsement aside, I'm pretty thrilled with the performance of these shoes. I have stood in creeks and been doused by puddles parted by my front wheel, without feeling a hint of moisture. They are light, quick drying (on the outside mainly but perspiration is also dealt with efficiently), and extremely sticky. My favourite feature though is that very time I put these on, I feel a gurgle of mirth well up inside knowing my feet will be dry, and because they are dry they will be much more likely to stay warm. Warm toes are happy toes, and for 280 CAD, let's hope that joy doesn't fade any time soon. An even more satisfying feeling however is the knowledge that a big gap in my wet weather riding kit has been filled and henceforth wet feet will (hopefully continue to) be a thing of the past.

Five Ten Trailcross GTX Goretex

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Comments

danimaniac
0 Cam McRae Konrad
danimaniac  - Nov. 18, 2021, 1:48 a.m.

When you say: I'd appreciate a more contoured insole to support my arch and provide a more positive feel under foot.

I thinh I experienced the same with the Sleuth DLX that I still have (sitting around at the house somewhere) and this would keep me from buying these:
I experienced really bad pain after a couple of weeks only wearing them and actually felt comfy in them from the beginning. I think that came from exactly this. There was just no support for my arch and my whole middle foot began to hurt really bad.

When I switched to different footwear (Adidas Los Angeles for walking around, ION rascal Clips on the Bike) all pain went away, it took a couple weeks though.

Can you compare the Sleuth to the Trailcross GTX regarding arch support and fit? Because apart from this these sound like the solution to nice, warm, comfy winter riding on flats.

Reply

ham-bobet
+7 DadStillRides danimaniac Andrew Major IslandLife Konrad Cam McRae theaeriopagite
hambobet  - Nov. 18, 2021, 4 a.m.

I don't think this needs to be a deal breaker with the amount of readily available insoles around that you just slip in - or even separate arch supports?

Reply

danimaniac
0 Pete Roggeman Konrad
danimaniac  - Nov. 18, 2021, 4:51 a.m.

guess you're right... did think about this once or twice, than went straight to my proven and comfy shoes :D

lazy me

Reply

Vikb
+2 Cam McRae danimaniac
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 18, 2021, 7:05 a.m.

I have the low cut version of the Trailcross. I tried using my insoles in them and they didn't work. The stock insoles are very thin and my insoles raised my foot just a bit, but that led to them being unstable when walking. I went back to the stock insoles and the shoe worked well, but without the extra support. Different insoles may work better. This higher cut shoe may have different stock insoles, but it didn't work for me. YMMV.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 danimaniac
Cam McRae  - Nov. 18, 2021, 5:03 p.m.

I plan to try them with some aftermarket insoles which I expect will help. I’m afraid I can’t compare them to Sleuths though because I haven’t tried those.

Reply

Carmel
+2 khai Cam McRae
Carmel  - Nov. 18, 2021, 2:42 a.m.

I have these for about 2 months now and have only used them twice.

I think they will be very nice in cold/wet conditions, in warm conditions they can feel a little warm. Toebox and general cut is definitely roomier than than the more summery Trailcross options of the same size.

Reply

craw
+1 IslandLife Konrad theaeriopagite
Cr4w  - Nov. 18, 2021, 6:23 a.m.

Laces on a shoe like this seem like an odd choice.

Reply

Kenny
0
Kenny  - Nov. 18, 2021, 10:41 a.m.

Especially without a lace cover. 

I got some of these and have a few rides on them, and the slimy waterlogged laces aren't a deal breaker but certainly not ideal, I agres. 

The eyelets looks fairly robust, I think they could be converted to Salomon quick laces which would help. 

Even with waterproof pants I'm struggling to keep things totally dry, top of my foot right below the laces gets damp. 

Maybe stating the obvious but running short socks so they can't wick water down past the ankle cuff, and a really close pant-to-shoe interface are critical to success. 

If you wear these with waterproof shorts on a wet ride, while they'll likely be less waterlogged than usual, your feet are gonna be wet. Again maybe stating the obvious but I sorta imagined the ankle piece sealing water out well enough if used with short socks so it's directly against your skin to keep you dry but it's not the case. In fact apparently the angle piece is not waterproof all the way up so pants are definitely needed for true dryness.

Reply

craw
+1 Konrad 4Runner1 theaeriopagite
Cr4w  - Nov. 18, 2021, 11:10 a.m.

Lace tension varies with how wet the laces are. Plus retying laces with cold, wet or gloved hands sucks. This seems like a huge oversight.

Reply

Vikb
+3 Pete Roggeman Allen Lloyd Metacomet
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 18, 2021, 7:03 a.m.

I'm glad NSMB finally got a pair of these for review. It's like proof that Big Foot actually exists! I still haven't seen these for sale at any vendor I use. Hopefully that changes. Since I couldn't wait I bought a couple pairs of the 5.10 EPS shoes for winter use and a pair of waterproof socks. The EPS shoes keep my feet dry enough under "normal" winter conditions I'll save the socks for particularly wet days. I got them primarily for trail running since none of my shoes are even water resistant. I prefer the Freerider form factor for getting shreddy anyways.

It would be great if 5.10 moved the GTX tech to the EPS shoe. Insulated and waterproof with sticky soles and a MTB form factor...that would be sweet.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Vik Banerjee
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 18, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

Agreed. I'd be surprised if they don't offer more waterproof versions in future.

Reply

cheapondirt
+1 Metacomet
cheapondirt  - Nov. 18, 2021, 7:49 p.m.

My only bike shoes are Freerider EPS. The perfect spring and fall shoe, a little compromised in both summer and winter, but I love em anyway.

Reply

thaaad
+2 Vik Banerjee Cam McRae
thaaad  - Nov. 18, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

I have a pair of the low top Trailcross. For walking around and casual use they are some of my favorite shoes I've ever owned. Super light, super comfy, grippy, they dry super fast, I love them.

For riding? Not a chance. I took them for one casual ride around the neighborhood to feel them out and the soles just do not have enough support. I can feel the individual pedal pins in my feet. If I can feel that just around a flat road I can't imagine how bad it would be on a trail.

I do love them I just could never ride MTB in them.

Reply

Vikb
+2 thaaad Konrad
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 18, 2021, 10:37 a.m.

I can see bikepacking or urban riding in them since there is a fair bit of hiking/walking with both those activities. I wouldn't use them as a dedicated MTB shoe either.

Reply

Kenny
+1 thaaad
Kenny  - Nov. 18, 2021, 3:19 p.m.

The soles on the GTX version are quite stiff, only three rides in but at this point they're actually stiffer than I'd consider ideal, they'll probably break in, though.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 thaaad
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 19, 2021, 9:29 a.m.

I have the GTX - the sole is stiffer than I like (I'm also not particularly heavy). You're definitely not feeling pedal pins.

Reply

IslandLife
+3 Vik Banerjee 4Runner1 Cam McRae
IslandLife  - Nov. 18, 2021, 9:38 a.m.

Not for me... too soft and unprotected... I don't need to be able to hike in my MTB shoes.  Good to finally see the innovation though.

What, I'd really like to see, is the addition of the Gore-tex layer to the Freerider Pro Mid VCS.  That, in my opinion, would be the perfect fall/winter shoe.

Reply

finbarr
+1 IslandLife
finbarr  - Nov. 19, 2021, 6:36 a.m.

I was just thinking that. Those are what I use for winter, and the only missing piece is being waterproof, especially on the top sock-like thingy.

Reply

khai
+1 Cam McRae
khai  - Nov. 18, 2021, 11:36 a.m.

I'm liking all these reports of the wide toebox.  That tends to be a challenge for me in most shoes, and winter shoes in particular tend to sacrifice that even more as designers try to fit in additional layers of insulation/waterproofing without creating footwear that look like moon boots.  If I can find a pair in store I'll definitely give them a try on!

Reply

4Runner1
+1 Pete Roggeman
4Runner1  - Nov. 18, 2021, 3:15 p.m.

I tried very hard to buy a pair of these late summer. Was told by many shops that they aren’t really getting these until ‘22…sometime.

Could have ordered through Canyon but that proved impractical as they only had a few sizes left and I wasn’t willing to take the chance on ordering an incorrect size. 

Ended up with WM7’s. I was a little nervous about switching over to clips, as I have been on flats for 20+ years. Stoked I took the chance on the shoes as they are all the things I was looking for. Comfy. Warm. Dry. 

And, super happy to have re-discovered clipping in.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+3 Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 theaeriopagite
Cam McRae  - Nov. 18, 2021, 5:08 p.m.

Any change like that keeps things fresh and teaches something new. I used to be relucstant to change what works but now I actively look for changes (like flattening my brake levers) and every time I try something the end result is positive even if the change doesn’t work out.

Reply

bummel42
0
bummel42  - Nov. 19, 2021, 4:41 a.m.

I tried these shoes for some rides, but unfortunately they are quite cold.

We had Temperatures below 5 degree celsius and i got cold feet after two hours while wearing merino socks.

I was very hopeful about these shoes, but now i am not sure about them.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 19, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

I'd add a couple notes here - Cam generally rides in pants. "Who cares its a shoe review?"

If you're me, and ride in shorts most of the time, even in the slop, these won't keep your feet dry when its biblical. It seems obvious, but bears repeating, there's two big holes in the top of the waterproofness to let water in. Your feet will stay much warmer as they just turn into a wetsuit with warm water, so its not unpleasant. In anything less than sopping wet conditions they're great, and its very odd to remove saturated merino clothing, pull your shoes off.... and your socks are dry.

I'd actually prefer a slightly less roomy toebox, and slightly less stiff overall; both the sole, and the toe protection. But I'm not very heavy, and like light shoes. And I understand folks are going to want to cram extra sock into these in the cold; the toebox isn't detrimental to my GTX experience, its just something I'd change if I had the power. 

When these *DO* get wet on the inside, the only way to get them dry is a boot dryer. 

I'd love to see these with a BOA, but that just goes for any mtb shoe, ever. Laces are fashion over function.

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