The Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In launched in early 2022, aimed at adventurous mountain bikers, gravel riders and bikepackers.
Its trainer-like construction is designed to make life easier for riders who might have to push, pull or carry their bike on rides.
Digging deeper into the construction and performance of the shoe confirms this.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In Shoe Specifications & Details
Five Ten’s hallmark is the brand’s Stealth rubber, which is used on the soles of all its shoes. The Trailcross Clip-In uses Stealth Marathon rubber, a slightly tougher version of the compound than you’ll find, for example, on the Five Ten Impact Pro flat pedal shoe.
The midfoot features the dimpled tread pattern we’re used to seeing on Five Ten shoes, while the toe and heel have a longitudinal bar tread pattern, to help grip when riding. climbing or descending muddy or rocky surfaces.
The cleat bed is wide, allowing full side-to-side adjustment of your cleat, and while the cleat channel doesn’t extend as far as I’ve found in some shoes, I did had no trouble getting the cleats away enough recoil for my liking.
The bed has position markers, helping you place your cleats with precision. The chamfers on the front and back of the cleat bed are there to make it easier to get the cleat in and out of the pedal mechanism.
My Shimano cleats weren’t proud of the sole, and so even though there was cleat noise on rough surfaces, I could walk through a restaurant without turning heads.
Five Ten engineered extra toe flex into the shoe to help with walking, so the sole doesn’t have as much front-to-back stiffness as some shoes.
EVA foam is integrated into the upper. This improves the comfort of the shoe and contributes to the fairly deep heel section of the sole.
Inside the shoe is a relatively basic insole. It has moderate levels of arch support and dries quickly. Some might say dedicated riders might want to invest in custom insoles, anyway, so I’ll excuse Five Ten for what feels like a functional rather than a fancy insole.
The upper is one of the best ventilated I’ve used in years.
Most of the upper has a fairly open mesh construction, but is reinforced in key areas to ensure longevity.
The toes are quite well protected. The front of the toe box is solid, should you hit anything, while there is reasonable protection for the tops of the toes. Protection extends to the side of the foot, softening as it goes. This saves weight and helps with scuffing, but isn’t as protective, or as stiff and supportive, as some of the heavier enduro/DH focused shoes.
The heel does not have any particularly bulky protection. There is ample padding around the heel though, with a fairly well-defined heel cup.
Laces are used to secure the foot in the shoe. I found that the laces didn’t bind in their eyelets, which made loosening or tightening the shoes nice and simple. The Velcro strap is there to increase foot security.
The tongue of the shoe uses the same mesh material as the upper and is thin compared to some of the best mountain bike shoes.
Five Ten have added reflective details on the Velcro strap and on the heel.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In Shoe Performance
I’ve used this shoe a lot over the past few months. It was my shoe of choice for a 2,600 km bike trip through Europe, as well as various mountain bike tours, including one with a 1,600 m (vertical drop) bike tour segment.
Although primarily a cycling shoe, Five Ten highlights its off-the-bike performance as a key attribute, so I’ll start there.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In off-bike performance shoes
Off the bike, the Trailcross Clip-In is one of the best cycling shoes I’ve come across. The toe flex extends far enough back that walking in the shoe feels natural, and the EVA midsole ensures comfort for extended hikes.
Five Ten’s Stealth Marathon rubber is sticky enough to confidently hold onto marginal rock slides when climbing with a bike on your back. The tread does a good job of providing grip in most situations, although in deep, slippery mud I would prefer a slightly sharper tread to sink better.
The heel section of the shoe feels quite deep, but also provides good shock absorption when getting off the bike or during extended descents on foot.
Heel lift is almost non-existent in my experience, thanks in large part to the Velcro strap. It gets in the way when tightening the laces, but other than that it’s integral to the overall fit of the shoe.
The only criticism I have is with the toe box. It’s narrower than a lot of other Five Ten shoes, although I’d counter that by saying that if you tuck into a pair of Adidas Sambas, for example, you won’t find the shape surprising – it’s much more of a Adidas coach as Five Ten Impact.
This means that, on foot descents, those with medium to wide feet could find themselves stomped on their toes – again, the Velcro strap really helps to mitigate this.
Despite numerous pushes and carries, the sole does not show excessive levels of wear.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In performance cycling shoes
On the bike, the flexible sole that makes walking so easy gives the shoe its only minor downside, certainly from a drop bar perspective. The shoe really benefits from a platform-style pedal, rather than a supportless XC pedal. I found that when running with smaller pedals, a hot spot underfoot appeared after a few hours.
With platform pedals, the shoe transfers pedaling power efficiently and comfortably, all day long. It’s also not a stiff running shoe, which further improves all-day comfort.
With the cleat flush with the bottom of the sole, I found pedal pins (on the Nukeproof Horizon CS pedals I use) dug into the sole aggressively at first. This made the release of the pedals a little stiffer than expected, although after a week of use the pedal and shoe fit together well and I no longer suffered from stiff releases.
While pedaling, the first thing I noticed was how well ventilated these shoes are. A cool breeze easily passes through the top of the shoes. As such, I would be wary of wearing these on cooler days if you suffer from cold feet. However, in warmer temperatures it is a real plus.
Therefore, they also let water in immediately, with even the slightest splash reaching your socks. However, they dry out quickly, no doubt helped by the thin tongue.
I found the shoes very comfortable on long trips. The upper half of the shoe helps here too. The laces allow you to control the tension of the upper of the shoe. I didn’t find any tension migrated through the laces during a day of riding, and the Velcro strap didn’t press the knot of the lace into the top of the foot, even with the thin tongue.
The heel cup is well shaped and the padding around the ankle is discreet, while preventing any unwanted sinking.
Despite daily and unsympathetic use, other than a few scuffs, the shoes don’t show much wear, suggesting good durability.
While adjusting my cleat position, I pulled the thread from one of the cleat plates. I wouldn’t necessarily mention it, because these things can happen with any shoe. However, I’ve seen this mentioned elsewhere with these particular shoes, so it might be worth taking care when fitting your cleats, pre-screwing the cleat bolts before attaching the cleats for example, to ensure that the threads are clean.
Adidas Five Ten Trailcross Clip-In Shoes Bottom Line
In some ways, the Trailcross Clip-In is a shoe that fills a pretty narrow niche. After all, few people go out of their way to go on rides where there will be a lot of jostling. However, if you’re one of those people, it does the job exceptionally well.
It’s comfortable to wear all day, as long as the shape fits, it works well with platform pedals, and its off-the-bike performance is exemplary.
As such, I would have no qualms recommending it to hikers and gravel riders, as well as mountain bikers who find themselves hauling their bikes up the mountains to seek out untraveled lines.
As a trail or enduro shoe, I think there are better options. The upper could offer better toe protection, and the lightweight construction doesn’t give the foot as much stability and control as a sturdier shoe. However, if ventilation is key, it’s probably the best I’ve ridden.
On a regular gravel ride I would always choose one of the best cross country shoes – my gravel rides include less thrust than my bike, and I usually use XC race pedals, which these shoes use with weren’t working so well.