Five Ten Trailcross Mid Pro Review: Bikepacking Meets Space Trooping
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Cass slips his dusty traveler’s feet into a pair of Five Ten’s spacetrooper-style Trailcross Mid Pros. After a few months riding trails, bikepacking, hiking, and kicking around town, find out how this aesthetically divisive footwear fared…
When Logan mentioned he had a pair of bikepacking shoes he could send my way as they didn’t fit him – more on that later – I have to admit I wasn’t as thrilled as I might have been. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but I looked them up online and it can’t be denied that Five Ten’s Trailcross Mid Pros are aesthetically divisive!
Still, I’d finally managed to wear out my Bontrager Flatlines – the last pair of shoes I reviewed for the site – and given that I’ve always been a fan of Five Tens, into the post and southwards they went.
About those looks! As a one-pair-of-shoes-at-a-time person, I wasn’t convinced they were quite my style. Think Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, or at least, that’s what I did. Plus, being located in the balmy Yucatan Peninsula when I received them, I eyed them up with some apprehension, fearing toasty toes and sweaty feet. I popped them straight on and got to work wearing them in on rides around town, though honestly, it wasn’t until I was back in the mountains that I really started to see their worth.
Because once I did wear them in – and their looks toned down a bit – the Trailcross Pros proved to be an extremely comfortable shoe, both on and off the saddle. Or boot, rather, though the neoprene cuff serves to cup the ankle and keep out stones, dust, and water, rather than provide much support.
Just as interesting to me- as it’s not raining much at present – is that this cuff has the added benefit of making the shoe easier to slip on. As someone who often breaks the heels of my shoes, I noted that there’s no excess padding to damage. Sure enough, several months on and the heels look as good as new. And if you’re wondering about how the cuff fits, I’d say I have average sized ankles and it felt just right, in terms of both tightness and its ability to keep things out.
So what kind of weather are they for? Cooler temperatures, for sure. I’d hoped to receive the Trailcrosses in the rainy season, but Covid complications meant I wasn’t able to get feet into them until mud had mostly turned to dust. This means I’ve only had the chance to try them in light rain rather than a downpour, though I can see that the mesh uppers, the neoprene cuff, and general lack of padding – especially compared to Five Ten’s sponge-like Freeriders – should ensure they keep you warm while riding and dry out quickly if they do get soaked. Because no, the Trailcrosses aren’t intended to be fully waterproof. The neoprene is even perforated, presumably for breathability.
Luckily, that high cuff also does a great job at keeping out dust and stopping stones from working their way in. I’ve had the dubious fortune of putting these shoes through several multi-hour hike-a-bikes – across extremely rocky and dusty terrain – and I haven’t suffered from any blisters at all. I put this down in part to the protective cuffs and their ability to ward off dust and stones from working their way into socks and rubbing tender skin. And when the terrain is rideable, impressive reinforcement around both sides of the ankles makes me feel invincible on trails. Side observation: these shoes should offer bonus protection when it comes to furry ankle biters too, of which there are many in Mexico!
Details-wise, there’s a lace tidy and a finger loop on the integrated neoprene cuff, along with a mystery tab on the outer side. Interestingly, branding comes courtesy of both the parent company Adidas and Five Ten’s classic insignia. Build quality is excellent. Careful inspection reveals absolutely no wear over four months of use, except to the sole of the shoe – see below for more on that. There’s no suggestion of cracking to the uppers either, which has sometimes been an issue for me with Five Tens in the past.
I’m not going to dive into the clipless v flat pedal debacle. After weaning myself off years of riding with SPDs, I’m completely sold on flat pedals, whatever kind of terrain I’m riding. When it comes to interface between the pedal and the tread, I’ve yet to try a shoe that’s a good as Five Tens and their celebrated rubber compounds – in this case, Stealth Phantom. Here, the circular lugs are more numerous than my old Freeriders – which Logan also tested a while back – and there’s also a series of horizontal ones at the toe and along the heel too. This combination serves to make the Trailcross Pros a far better all-round bike shoe, especially if hike-a-bikes are your preferred form of bikepacking expression. I’m certainly not suggesting that they’re as capable as a chunky hiking boot when scrambling across a scree slope or even tackling slippery mud and wet grass… But for that elusive sweet spot between proper mountain biking and extended bike-pushing in mostly dry climates, I’ve very happy. The EVA midsole is both thick and supportive enough that I haven’t felt any hot spots from my pedals, with enough flexibility to be very comfortable when hiking, too.
But onto my old bugbear about Five Tens and proof that you perhaps can’t have it all. As you can see from the images here, there are already a few chunks gouged out by my flat pedals – Hope’s infamously-flesh-eating F20s – after a couple of months of hard use. I’d add, however, that if you rotate your riding/bikepacking shoes with day to day footware, it stands to reason that you’ll get a lot more life out of them. This is the only pair of shoes I’ve worn since November so I’m looking at them through a different lens – I’ll add more longterm feedback a few more months down the line.
In terms of fit, it appears they’re about a half size out, fitting larger than they suggest. For example, Logan is normally a US 9.5 and they came up too big to be wearable. I’m normally a UK 9.5 and these (a UK 9) fit perfectly. To add further confusion, my last pair of Five 10s was a 44 in euro sizing and these are listed as a 43 1/3…
All of which means you may well want to try a pair before investing, especially if you’re thinking of ordering online. Size sorted though, the general fit is pretty standard to Five Ten; a little roomier if anything. I’d comment that the neoprene cuff means the shoes feel like a ‘commitment’. By this, I mean that you know when they’re on! As a result, I’ve preferred to carry a pair of Crocs so my feet can breathe around camp at the end of the day. Note that if the idea of a cuff isn’t to your preference, they are available as the Five Ten Trailcross LT ($140) too; in this version, it looks like the heel is lightly padded. And there’s a lower cuff version, the Trailcross XT ($165), that looks to be a great all-round option too, sacrificing some ankle protection for added comfort in summer. It’s also sized up to US 15, too.
- Size Tested: Men’s US 9 (UK 9.5, EU 43 1/3!)
- Size available: Men’s US 6 to US 13
- Weight (from Manufacturer): 510 grams (1 lb 2 oz)
- Actual Weight: TBD
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Price: $170
- Manufacturer’s Details: Adidas.com
- Extremely comfortable – both on and off the bike
- Suited to mixed climates (but not the extremes)
- Really well made
- Classic Five Ten tackiness on platform pedals – SPD riders, you better believe it!
- Great protection from trail ruckus… and dog proof?
- Drains well and dries out quickly
- Keeps errant stones and dust at bay, which makes for blister-free hike-a-bikes
- Sticky dot rubber is prone to wear, especially with aggressive flat pedal pins
- Fit is larger than other Five Tens we’re tried
- Despite the looks, these shoes aren’t waterproof (but they are water resistant and dry quickly)
- Neoprene ‘boot cut’ means they’re rather warm; there’s a low rise version too
- Crocs/flip flops are recommended boot antithesis at the end of a long day
It’s taken me a while to get used to wearing the Trail Cross Mid Pros – time for them to both soften up in fit and for me to get used to them visually. Now that I have, they might just have become my very favourite bikepacking shoes, simply because they’re so capable on the bike and comfortable off it.
Being a boot-style cut, I admit that there’s a certain relief to removing them at the end of the day, especially after long hours in the saddle in a warm climate. But the high cut also means they offer lots of protection on trails and in mixed elements – be it rain or dust – along with classic Five Ten tackiness on pedals, though this does come at a cost to wear and tear. Take note of sizing too, as it’s different from the rest of the Five Ten range.
I haven’t had the chance Trail Cross Pros through a wet winter but my gut feeling is that the neoprene cuffs will come into their own when riding in inclement weather. Whilst not waterproof, they help shed rain and should keep you warm – and when the shoes do get soaked through, they’re relatively quick to dry. But even if storms aren’t in the forecast, I expect you’ll be surprised by how useful the cuffs can be in keeping dust and debris out of your socks, particularly during extended hike-a-bikes. If the height seems like overkill for your needs, there is also a low cut version – the Trailcross XT ($165) – that may suit you better, particularly if you tend to ride in warmer climates.
With thanks to Emma Bucke for additional images.