Flat pedal bike shoes are somewhat of a tricky beast, even for being the more casual alternative to stiff clipless pedal shoes. Flat pedal shoes should have a stiff sole with grippy tread, either a traditional lace-up closure, and maintain breathability with the armor to defend toes and bones agains rock and stump strikes and the elements on the trail.
The Five Ten Trailcross shoes take a sharp stab at these objectives and the popular shoe received a slew of updates this year.
About the Five Ten Trailcross XT
The shoe is still a low top flat pedal shoe with flex engineered into the build. There are cuts in the sole perpendicular to where the toes bend. Five Ten says this helps for hike-a-bike situations but doesn’t take away from pedal stiffness. The sole is made from a lightweight EVA foam.
Five Ten still uses the Stealth Phantom sole, for sticky traction.
New in this edition is an upper made from at least 50% recycled material and it’s made from open mesh for better breathability. There is also a synthetic overlay on the uppers for abrasion resistance.
Five Ten adds an elastic lace closure to keep laces restrained and a molded toe cap gives the shoe some defense. The shoe has also notably lost its neoprene ankle cuff.
The Trailcross XT comes in three colors for men and two colors for women.
On trail with the Five Ten Trailcross XT
Intrigued by the latest update and a sleeker and more athletic look than traditional Five Ten shoes like the Freerider, our tester was curious to try the latest version of the Trailcross. The obvious bonus is that they don’t stand out like a bike shoe for trips to the cafe after a ride. Looking at the silhouette, the shoe could be mistaken for a trail runner if it weren’t for the flat sole.
Our tester found these shoes easy to put on and take off. The upper is relaxed and the shoe opens up easily.
On climbs, the Five Ten Trailcross maintained a reasonable amount of grip and pedaling efficiency but did have the tendency to slip from the pedals a little on more technical sections, something that also translated to slippage on downhills too. It’s hard to say if this was exclusively a grip issue, as the rubber compound is still fairly grippy, or if it’s because the sole is very flexible compared to other bike shoes.
On hike-a-bikes, the shoes allow the toes to break easily and find traction walking up steep sections of trail.
The Trailcross XTs are lightweight and breath well, but the fit wasn’t perfect. The toebox and width across the meta tarsals is on the narrower side, so they were not a great match for our tester.
Because of the more minimalist approach to the Trailcross and seemingly because of the low profile tongue, the shoe was also hard to secure around the ankle as tight as we would have liked.
On the descents, because of the flexy sole near the ball of the foot, our tester’s feet were working harder than she would have liked to keep her feet stable on the pedals, resulting in fatigue through the arches.
Who’s the Five Ten Trailcross XT for?
Though these were not our tester’s favorite bike shoes, the Trailcross XT still has some notable highlights. The looks, breathability, hike-ability, and minimalism of the shoes should make it great for those who live and ride in hot climates and who find themselves hike-a-biking in numerous sections.
Pros and cons of the Five Ten Trailcross XT flat pedal mountain bike shoe
- Great looks
- Breathes well
- Flexible sole for hiking
- Flexible sole takes away from climbing, descending capabilities
- Narrow toe box
- Could be more stable
The Five Ten Trailcross XT is a modern and athletic shoe from Five Ten with great flexibility for steep bike pushes. It loses some points on the climbs and the descents for the amount of flex in the sole, resulting in a loss of pedaling efficiency and stability, but if your rides are shorter in nature, this could be a great shoe for you.
Share your Five Ten Trailcross XT shoe review
Tried it? Tell us what you think about it.