Drawing inspiration from classic 1980s Adidas trainers like Gazelles and Sambas, these Five Ten Stealth DLX shoes are a new model straddling the boundaries between dedicated bike shoes and ‘hanging out’ pumps.
With the Five Ten Stealth DLX being more off-the-bike focussed means a softer and comfier upper than most of the brand’s mtb models, and the EVA sole also uses a thinner, more flexible, mid portion. This bendier shank creates comfort to match your favourite slippers for mooching around in, and also helps that they are much lighter than clumpier mtb shoes, too.
Don’t write them off as being not much cop for riding though, as underneath, grip levels are as superb as the best mountain bike shoes, just as you’d expect from original Stealth S1 sticky rubber. The DLXs also use the same classic Five Ten dotty tread that’s been proven over decades, and meshes perfectly with platform pins from all brands for a totally locked-on feel in any weather.
What I really liked here is the increase in pedal feel through the slimmer sole – it’s amazing. It’s been ages since using a thinner Freerider-style Five Ten and I’d forgotten just how much feedback and nuance is transmitted from the bike, the tyres and the ground, compared to shoes with stiffer midsoles like a Freerider Pro or Impact Pro.
I wouldn’t choose the Five Ten Stealth DLX for a bike park uplift day or alpine riding holiday, where you’d want more protection and impact absorption against hits and vibrations coming up from the ground. And they’re also not best suited to muddy or wet days as they have less splash protection and waterproofing than some.
Where these shoes excel, though, is for bombing a few pump track laps, styling it up down the dirt jumps or shredding drier trails; they’re light enough to pedal and turn over easily, offer maximum sensitivity and feel from the bike with tenacious traction, and also look great to hang out in after riding.