Five Ten Maltese Falcon Shoe Review

by Brian Mullin on August 17, 2013

For the longest time, I was only familiar with Five Ten as a rock climbing shoe company, but they have really ventured into biking, canyoneering, base jumping, paddling, kayaking, fishing, adventure racing, etc. What they always kept as the one design and feature across all their shoes is the use of their sticky Stealth rubber compound.

The Maltese Falcon
mountain biking shoes are durable, tough, comfortable, clipless
compatible, and best of all, use Five Tens uber sticky Stealth S1 rubber
soles. They use PU coated Action leather for the upper material, a lace
up design, with a wide upper Velcro closure, and can be run with flat
and clipless pedals. The shoes come in sizes 6-12 (full and half) and 13
(full only), a Raven’s Eye Gray color, and retail for $135.

Removing
the soles middle cover to allow clipless compatibility was a pain, and
required a good sharp knife and a lot of strong force to cut, and then
peeling it back with some pliers. The cleats for my SPD’s pedals went
easily on and there weren’t any fitting issues. They weren’t always the
easiest to get clipped into my pedals with, but once there, they were
decently stable and secure. Even when you popped out, the sticky Stealth
rubber allowed good adhesion and grip to the pedals, and they worked
nicely on my wide-bodied XT Trail pedals. There wasn’t any issue with
flat pedals, though the rounded lug patterns of the Stealth rubber gave
an odd feeling when the pedal’s pins interacted with them. I did notice
that the soft rubber could cause a premature release if you torqued the
shoe awkwardly, but it only happened sporadically. There was some slight
wear around the sole by the cleat section, where the pedals rub, and I
can see that wearing away to a flat spot at some point in time, but the
rest of the sole has seemed to be reasonably durable, even during my
long hike-a-bike forays.

I
liked the shoes in rocky and technical terrain, where you regularly hit
things, like trees and branches and rocks, and the thick toe box, sides
and tough uppers, offered really nice protection. The Action leather
uppers shed mud, and took a lot of abuse with very little wear, though
they weren’t the most breathable. The uppers were handy in the rain and
mud, as they kept my feet drier, unless it was a huge downpour, in which
case, the perforated venting at the base of the tongue leaked. The heel
cup was snug and high enough to help hold the shoe in place on the
foot, but the sides of the cuff need to come upwards more to prevent
errant debris from entering into the shoe. The cuff was nicely padded,
so it didn’t cause any irritation or pinch spots around the ankles. The
laces worked well, and allowed micro adjustments for tightening, and the
wide Velcro strap helped pull the foot down into the shoe for good
security.

The shoe had a decently stiff sole, especially under the
ball of the foot for pedaling performance, yet it still had enough
flexibility that it made walking and hiking forgiving. They were nice
for just walking around scoping out a line, or strolling somewhere while
riding, and these might even be decent commuting shoes. The shoes look,
and design gives it a Dirt Jump and skateboarder vibe, so it doesn’t
look you’re a bike geek prancing around in public. The ultra sticky
Stealth S1 soles were great for waltzing up steep rock faces, rock and
logs, and the rubber allowed you to rock climb up things without any
slippage. Although they’re moderately stiff, they aren’t a full-on stiff
biking or race shoe, so there is a slight power and energy loss.
Instead, you get better comfort, increased stickiness on the terrain and
pedals, and the ability to walk and hike comfortably.

Bottom Line
The
Five Ten Maltese Falcon aren’t the lightest shoe on the market, nor the
stiffest, but they offer superb protection when riding and walking down
gnarly terrain, and my foot and toes appreciated the less damage they
got when they had close encounters with rocks and trees. There is always
some compromises with shoes that are asked to be multifaceted, and the
Maltese Falcon’s shine a bit more for the heavy duty freeride, All
Mountain and Enduro conditions and terrain. They offer excellent
protection to the foot, have great flexibility for hiking, yet has
enough stiffness for good pedaling power.

The Five Ten Maltese
Falcon are a good all-around comfortable and protective shoe, with the
uber sticky Stealth S1 rubber soles that lets you pretend you’re a rock
climber, carrying your bike and yourself into all sorts of terrain,
without the slip-n-slide feeling a normal sole tends to have.

Pros

  • Sticky and shock absorbing Stealth S1 rubber sole
  • Protective toe box, sides and uppers
  • Good compromise of stiffness and hikability
  • Wide Velcro closure strap
  • Nice heel cup and padded cuff
  • Durable – especially the abrasion-resistant upper

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Slight power loss for pedaling – stiffness versus hiking compromise
  • Rubber softness around pedal interface can cause premature release
  • Not the most breathable

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers 

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