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Product Intro

Fiveten and Adidas Reinvent the Flat Pedal Shoe - The Trailcross

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Date Aug 26, 2019

Puma has tried, Nike tried and even Adidas tried before the purchase of Fiveten but none of those gained any... traction. The hubris that led to that failure is pretty common, even within the bike industry, because how hard can it be to make something as basic as a flat pedal show?. I once went to a media camp and was told we would be given shoes for flat pedals to use. Luckily I brought my own because the shoes in question were SPD shoes without cleats.

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Adidas first effort at a flat pedal shoe made its debut at Eurobike in 2016. It's a little tough to tell from this shot, but it doesn't appear promising.

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More recently Adidas took a stab at it with the Terrex Trailcross Protect which were well-received in some circles and included Stealth rubber.

Good flat pedal shoes need to balance several factors to be considered; grip, stiffness, tread pattern, sole profile and protection. If a shoe is too stiff you won't be able to flex over the pedal for maximum grip. Too soft and your own soles will take a beating and generating power will be a challenge. Grip needs to range from high to maximum based on user preference, etc. etc. It's a minefield that has, until now, been best handled by companies immersed in the flat pedal universe.

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There are two models of the new shoe, one low and one high. This is the less expensive Trailcross LT. The shoes share a sole but other details separate them.

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The two slots in the forefoot are actually drain ports to allow water to escape. This model is designed to allow water to enter and then exit, making this a mild weather choice.

When big companies like Adidas purchase smaller companies, like Fiveten, they usually fold them in and dissolve the original brand. Before this Adidas hadn't meddled much that we could see but some riders have noted an erosion of quality in recent models. The newest shoes from Fiveten, the Trailcross models shown here, display the Adidas logo on the tongue which may be a sign of things to come.

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The outsole is the familiar Fiveten dot pattern with a twist. Under the toe the dots have been sliced to provide much needed walking traction. These use the Phantom compound, originally developed for military applications.

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It doesn't appear to be a lot of grip, but it's better than nothing.

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The heel ditches the dots altogether to dig provide grip on trail surfaces. Luke Honz called this a 'braking area.'

The idea here, in the words of Fiveten's Luke Honz was, "to combine the technology from Adidas trail running with our technology for flat pedals." The shoe tosses the skate shoe style out the window and uses a trail running midsole but thinned it by the mid foot for feel and to prevent bounce from excess EVA foam, and kept the thickness at the heel for protection and support.

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The Trailcross Mid Pro is aimed at keeping water and debris out, as well as providing more protection and ankle support. There is a full neoprene sleeve that isn't fully waterproof but should keep your feet warm if things get a little moist.

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The slots on the Mid Pro are sealed off to keep debris out.

Fiveten was beginning to feel the limitations of the skate shoe style, in terms of weight and ventilation and most significantly in dealing with water, despite admitting some responsibility for pushing that trend. I'm a little concerned about the absence of protection in some areas of the shoe, particularly the mid foot both inside and outside and relatively minor armouring at the toe, but the hightop version adds some welcome ankle protection with D3O inserts.

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Of the two models the burlier Mid Pro version has me more interested.

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These are very light shoes, although I wasn't able to get a number, but it remains to be seen if they compromise too much protection.

Eyeballing a flat pedal shoe will only get you so far and the most important factors can't be known until you stick them into some pedal pins and ride some trail. Will these have the right balance of stiffness and flexibility? The grip should be adequate but otherwise we'll have to slip some on to give you a better idea of how these compete on the dirt.

Expect to see these in Feb. 2020. Trailcross LT - 130 USD, Trailcross Mid Pro - 160 USD.

Comments

GolfChick
+5 Tremeer023 Mr.Contrarian Endur-Bro Ben grambo Dan AJ Barlas Sjwagner75 Saša Stojanovic
Alison Clarke  - Aug. 26, 2019, 12:02 a.m.

When will Adidas/FiveTen actually do some market research with their consumers to see what they want and what works best before making another god awful shoe that looks like it hit every branch in the ugly tree. We are not chavs or Olympic runners and we are not Lycra clad. Also new flash, shoelaces DO NOT work on mtb shoes. Sure maybe if you ride in California all year round but if you ride anywhere that experiences rain and therefore mud you’ll know that they’re useless. There’s nothing worse than having to undo soaking wet filthy laces when your hands are wet and cold. At least it looks like for once they’ve used a decent lace unlike my impact pros with seem to use ribbon!

Reply

metacomet
+5 mike Endur-Bro JVP Sjwagner75 ReductiMat
Metacomet  - Aug. 26, 2019, 11:16 a.m.

I dunno.   I quite disagree with this.  I live in the northeast and ride 12 months out of the year and greatly prefer laces in every season.  Boa dials and ratchets simply do not conform and bend with your feet as comfortably and can create weird flex points on the shoe. And they are much Much more susceptible to breaking, rendering the shoe useless mid ride until fixed.  I've seen about 10 broken Boa's between myself and my friends.  And they can be popped open multiple times mid ride just from bumping against little things along the trail or snagging a branch while hike-a-biking. I guess I'm just not a fan.   Laces tend not to spontaneously break during a ride.  They also have a greater range of useable adjustment across the whole length of the tongue, meaning socks of different weights can be worn depending on the season.   I have yet to see a really well designed lace cover be incorporated into a shoe, and I think something like that would go a long ways to even further improve the functionality of laces as well as better sealing the shoe and keeping them dry and secure.

Reply

Vikb
+5 Metacomet Sjwagner75 grambo ReductiMat Dan
Vik Banerjee  - Aug. 26, 2019, 12:09 p.m.

We ride all year round in Coastal BC and I've never had issues with laces on MTB shoes. It gets wet here. I wouldn't be bothered by velcro closures, but I am not buying anything with a BOA closure.

Reply

Shinook
+1 Metacomet
Shinook  - Aug. 26, 2019, 12:14 p.m.

With proper management and retention, laces are cheaper, easier to repair, and readily available in various forms/colors/materials. 

That said, my 5.10 laces break faster than any others I've tried. Not that it matters much, the life of the laces is about the life of the sole of the shoe, so 3-4 months before it develops a hole and the laces snap. 

Jury is out on Ride Concepts. We'll find out in 3-4 months.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Aug. 26, 2019, 12:19 p.m.

I've had BOA closures on lots of shoes and ever had an issue. Usually I wear out the shoe and the BOAs are still working well. They are replaceable anyhow. I like being able to adjust tension while I'm riding, with gloves on.

Reply

metacomet
0
Metacomet  - Aug. 27, 2019, 12:51 p.m.

I have BOA's on my winter Lake MXZ 303's, and my 5.10 kestrels and I feel like adjusting them on the fly is more of a byproduct of the wires creating such rigid lines across the top of your foot.  Adjusting tension more or less becomes necessary because the rigidity grows uncomfortable over the course of the the ride as your foot heats up and swells, etc.  Laces tend to just become invisible as long as they're tied well to begin with.  BOA's are very quick and convenient getting a shoe on and off and allow for good micro adjustments, and they also work awesome on helmets.  Love their application there.   But after ripping them clean off both of my winter boots and breaking one on the kestrels, it feels like a major fail for a pair of $300 winter boots to be taken out by grazing a rock or a log. Spent a winter with a velcro strap around the whole shoe to keep it closed, and it honestly worked better than the boa. Did the same thing with the second boot the next winter.  BOA was great at sending me parts to fix it, as it was the entire base that ripped clean off, not just the ratchet, but it is comical when you think about how simple, durable, and perfectly functional a humble shoelace is in comparison.

Reply

GolfChick
0
Alison Clarke  - Aug. 29, 2019, 5:32 a.m.

Yeah I wasn’t even suggesting BOAs really. Velcro I think would be alright or a combination. I was more considering something similar to the quick laces that Salomon use on some of their goretex offerings as I have these on my walking trainers and they’re fab. Can’t say I’ve ever had to do micro adjustments mid ride shoes wise on my mtb though having said that. Once they’re on I don’t tend to touch until I finish a ride. My weight tends to be down on the pedals rather than pulling up to even notice them loosening. I’d say this would be different though if I did more hikeabike but then walking in fivetens is a compromise in itself!

Reply

kiwizak
+5 mrbrett Kent Saga Endur-Bro Saša Stojanovic Cam McRae
kiwizak  - Aug. 26, 2019, 3:04 a.m.

These (especially the high top) interest the hell out of me. I love when companies take a gamble and think outside the box. They could have played it safe and made something that is just like everything else, instead they've taken more of a performance orientated approach to the design.

I'm quite confident that a lot of people will turn their noses up at these though.

Reply

Grizzle
+1 Mr.Contrarian Dan Saša Stojanovic
Graham Mattingly  - Aug. 26, 2019, 4:16 a.m.

Yeah, I want to like the taking of chances, but these look too much like some $20,000 monstrosities Kanye would wear. We're talking weapons-grade ugly. Maybe the tech will be restyled in the 2nd gen...

Reply

Shinook
+2 Saša Stojanovic Cam McRae
Shinook  - Aug. 26, 2019, 5:33 a.m.

Really glad to see FiveTen adding a strap on the shoe to manage laces, that's a feature their other shoes lack and really need. I'm currently on the Ride Concepts shoes and the ability to tuck laces in easily and securely is definitely one of the best features of the shoe.

Reply

BrambleLee
0
C. Dyer  - Aug. 28, 2019, 1:22 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

djjohnr
0
John Rodriguez  - Aug. 26, 2019, 5:42 a.m.

Hmmm...besides the lack of protection from rock/log strikes the thin soles won't provide any of the damping that their thicker soled models do.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Cam McRae
Vik Banerjee  - Aug. 26, 2019, 6:45 a.m.

I've been after a shoe I can bikepack in that I don't have to take off at river crossings. So the low top ones look ideal and I'll probably try a pair. Currently I'll use some 5.10 Freeriders and if I don't take them off and walk across barefoot then put 'em back on again I'll have wet feet all day and into the next. Not a big deal when you have one river/creek to cross, but it gets old when you have to cross a whole bunch of them during a day of riding.

Reply

DemonMike
+1 Kent Saga
mike  - Aug. 26, 2019, 8:09 a.m.

White MTB shoes , like WTF!!! Interesting design , has potential for a decent wetter weather shoe. IMO it needs lace covers as well. Will add some protection to the shoe, and help keep the water out. One of the main things I love about my AM7,s Also these kinda remind me of the French shoe company. That had the high tops with the removable liners. The name slips me , but they are supposed to be working on their 2nd design as well.

Reply

andy-eunson
+3 person person Cam McRae mike
Andy Eunson  - Aug. 26, 2019, 8:58 a.m.

OWN I think. I thought it was British actually. The shoes looked like something Arcteryx would make. The market certainly seems to want a cycling shoe that does not look like a cycling shoe because heaven forbid that someone see you cycling and think your a cyclist because your wearing cycling shoes while wearing brightly coloured cycling clothes.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Aug. 26, 2019, 9:28 a.m.

https://dirtmountainbike.com/longform/own-fr-01-shoe

yup your right , they are a British company

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andy Eunson Metacomet
Pete Roggeman  - Aug. 27, 2019, 10:16 a.m.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
+2 Mr.Contrarian Dan Cr4w Saša Stojanovic
trumpstinyhands  - Aug. 26, 2019, 11:09 a.m.

Looks like something you'd wear when you have a broken ankle.

Reply

oldschoolsteel
0
oldschoolsteel  - Aug. 26, 2019, 12:53 p.m.

I really like my 5.10s for flat-pedals, I've owned several pairs. I really haven't liked any of the non-5.10 flat-pedal shoes I've tried. There have been plenty of companies try to make similar products unsuccessfully. 

I really like the low-profile soles that stick to the pedals and hold you as low as possible on the bike. I really can't imagine why they stuck a bunch of foam under the heel. Seems like a good way to mess with peddling and handling. 

Can anyone recall thinking to themselves "ya, these 5.10s are good, but I wish they had more in common with my trail runners." Every now and then I wear my runners on my flats and they suck. They're too high and they don't grip. Cyclists tend to put their feet down sideways at odd angles from time to time and height matters when determining how much force it takes to roll an ankle.  

The 5.10s were already among the most comfortable shoes to wear off the bike, and no one is going to take them for a run. Why cross them with a trail runner?

I do think the changes to the heel and toe tread design make sense though. Stealth polka dots stick to pedals, but not much else.

I hope adidas doesn't F-up 5.10.

Reply

stinkbat
0
stinkbat  - Aug. 26, 2019, 2:17 p.m.

Are they going to be as narrow as most Nike shoes?  If so I'm going to have change shoes.  I love 5:10  but I have square feet.

Reply

wishiwereriding
0
John Keiffer  - Aug. 26, 2019, 3:49 p.m.

I would be interested in the low tops, but only if the toe box is bigger than the previous models.

I have an older pair of Adidas Cross Trails. I don't think they are too narrow, but I also think they would be way better if the toe box was wider. I can't tell from the pictures above if the toe box on the new ones is larger or not. If it isn't, then I think you should look elsewhere. Hope that helps.

Reply

kiwizak
+1 Saša Stojanovic
kiwizak  - Aug. 26, 2019, 3:05 p.m.

We mountain bikers are a vain bunch. Lol. Too many people value form over function.

Reply

Sethimus
0
Sethimus  - Aug. 27, 2019, 2:03 a.m.

because the form of bike shoes so far was something to show off? finally a shoe that looks like it‘s made in 2019 and not in 1999...

Reply

JVP
+2 person person Andrew Major
JVP  - Aug. 27, 2019, 9:39 a.m.

Really?  Then how did the original Impact become the holy grail of mtb shoes for 10+ years?

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Aug. 27, 2019, 8:32 a.m.

That high top with the neoprene sleeve could make a very, very good trail building shoe. Would be nice to throw loam without having to put on gaiters.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - Aug. 27, 2019, 11:08 a.m.

Mid tops are the Adidas OWN. 

I’m willing to try them. Be a good cold weather flat shoe for pedal rides. The Giro Riddance Mid is nice but pretty bulky and skate shoe like  

Would be nice to see an Impact Clip brought back.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - Aug. 27, 2019, 11:12 a.m.

What’s with the 420 on the ankle strap of the OG Terrex?

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Mr.Contrarian
0
Mr.Contrarian  - Aug. 29, 2019, 1:01 p.m.

Heaven forbid the folks designing the shoes are actually mountain bikers... That's what happens when you re-locate your headquarters out to the boonies of German farmland territory.

Reply

Verbl_Kint
0
Kent Saga  - Aug. 29, 2019, 11:03 p.m.

Lace covers would be great and I don't really mind the velcro.  Coming from a place where people ride even during Cat. 3 typhoons, lace covers make a whole lot of sense.

Reply

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