Five Ten Trailcross GTX Shoe REVIEW
TOASTY TOES IN WINTER RIDING
Review by Drew Rohde | Photos by Max Rhulen
Designed to be the best winter and waterproof mountain bike shoe, the Five Ten Trailcross Gore-Tex shoes arrived just in time for some snowy trail days here in Bend, Oregon. As someone with terrible circulation, meaning permanently cold feet and hands, I’m always on the hunt for warm pieces of gear to keep me pain-free on the trail. Even though I talked a whole lotta crap about how ugly these ‘hiking shoes’ were since the first pictures were released, I had to try them out and see if the performance could outweigh the looks.
According to Five Ten, “The Trailcross range was built from the ground up, starting with the Five Ten dotted outsole…Then refined with hiking in mind, bringing additional ridged grip to the toe and heel.” There is no denying Adidas’ influence is visible on the Trailcross mountain bike shoes, and while that turned off riders like myself, we’re sure some others find them attractive…right?
These high-top mountain bike shoes are different from the normal Trailcross shoes in that they employ Gore-Tex waterproof technology. Gore-Tex material is impressive stuff and remains waterproof and warm while still allowing some breathability.
Five Ten uses a neoprene hook and loop ankle cuff to help reduce debris from entering the shoe, which is does nicely. They claim it aids in the secure fit of the shoe, but we don’t buy it as neoprene is a thin and flexible material and does little to offer ankle support, so if you rely on a high top for support, you’ll likely need to run an ankle brace. It also makes the shoe a little bit harder to put on as it doesn’t open very wide and requires some wiggling to get over the heel. Minor inconvenience but still worth mentioning.
The Trailcross GTX shoes have a dual compound Stealth rubber outsole that is insanely tacky. Five Ten also uses a slimmed down midsole with EVA technology. The EVA foam helps increase comfort, especially on gnarly downhills and long days in the saddle.
Looks aside, these shoes absolutely perform when it comes to cold weather protection and gripping the pedals! My feet tend to run cold and my old favorite winter shoes were the Five Ten Freeride EPS shoes we reviewed a couple winters back. Comparatively, these shoes are a lot more comfortable, lighter feeling and just have a more “performance” sort of a vibe, as you could probably guess by the looks. My first ride out in the Trailcross GTX shoes was a sunset mission to find a new trail just before a snowstorm was about to hit. The recipe for a disaster and call to the local Search and Rescue team.
We followed mountain lion tracks in fresh snow for a mile as the sky darkened and we looked for tire tracks that would lead us to the new trail. Just as the sun set we found the trail and started shredding powder on the way down, hoping we’d find our way back to the truck before it was completely dark. Despite the sub-freezing temperatures, misting snow and high speeds, the shoes kept my tender toes warm and cozy.
As far as traction on the pedals is concerned, Five Ten’s Stealth rubber is grippy as ever and the Trailcross GTX shoes felt glued to the pedals. We could see some riders thinking they’re too sticky and making minor foot placement adjustments could be an issue. If you are the type who puts your feet on the pedals and don’t take them off until the bottom of the trail, you’ll likely love the clipped-in feel. They truly stick like glue.
The Wolf’s Last Word
While the performance of the Five Ten Trailcross GTX shoes is stellar when it comes to cold weather protection and traction, the looks are certainly a polarizing point. I must admit, once they were on my feet they didn’t look quite as ugly as they do online, but I would love a shoe that’s a bit more robust and casual in appearance. Compared to my old Freerider EPS winter shoes, they’re a much more performance-oriented fit, look and yes, they do perform a bit better.
Some riders may not like how grippy the Stealth rubber is, but when the conditions are cold, wet and sloppy, we’d err on the side of too much traction compared to not enough. The Gore-Tex membrane does a great job keeping warmth in and cold air out and the neoprene cuff also helps reduce the ingress or dirt, snow or other debris. Overall, we’d say these shoes are definitely worth buying if you regularly ride in cold and wet conditions. The fit and function are top notch.
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.