Five Ten Freerider High

My Favorite Riding Shoes

Words & Photos by Drew Rohde

I’ve always been a fan of high tops. More than just a style choice, I find that high tops offer far more advantages than not. Five Ten’s Freerider Highs replaced the old Impact high tops I’d been wearing since… I can’t remember. I still wear the Impacts for trips to the bike park, but have found the slightly slimmer and more breathable Freerider Highs to be the ultimate aggressive trail riding flat shoe.

The Lab

Starting at the outsole, the Freerider shoes feature Five Ten’s famous S1 rubber in the classic Dotty tread pattern. There is a one-piece molded cupsole and a suede and mesh upper.

I do have one upgrade I highly suggest for any riding shoe. After several months I inserted an SQ Lab aftermarket insole and noticed a major increase in comfort. It also increased the amount of time my feet could go without feeling tired on long descents.

Five Ten Freerider High

The Dirt

There have been lots of grumbles online from people who have had Five Ten shoes fall apart quickly, but that has not been the case with my first or second pair of Freerider Highs. The pair tested here has been on my feet for over a year of use. I’ve taken them on everything from muddy rides in the PNW to the Arizona desert, and pedaled trails everywhere in between.

For those with free and liberal ankles, the confinement may feel like a straight jacket in a swimming pool, but if you’ve got ankle injuries, the support is very welcome. With a couple bone breaks and nagging ligament issues, high tops have become a way to ride without the constant threat of re-injury.

Traction and performance are as to be expected from any Dotty-patterned S1-equipped Five Ten shoe. The Freeriders are a double threat as they can quickly go from a good-looking casual shoe to capable trail performer.

Five Ten Freerider High

The Wolf’s Last Word

Beyond joint support, one of my other favorite benefits of the high tops is the reduction in crap collected in my shoes. The higher, snug collar reduces roost, shralpage and any other radical byproducts from entering the top of your shoe and distracting you from the good times ahead. They are a bit warm and thick if you’re used to low tops or XC slippers, but if you are looking for a secure, comfortable and stylish shoe that will perform and last, I highly recommend the Freerider Highs (or low tops if you prefer). I just got another new set to replace this trusty pair after a hard 16 months of service.  I look forward to all the trails we’ll ride together.

Price: $120

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