Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoe Review

by Brian Mullin on July 19, 2014

I reviewed the Five Ten Maltese Falcon last year and loved the all-around comfort, protection and sticky rubber soles of the shoe. I first saw the new and improved Maltese
Falcon LT Clipless at the 2013 Interbike show, and during my test period, I have been mightily impressed with this upgraded beast.

The new Maltese Falcon carries on the previous incarnation’s traditions, including durability, toughness, comfort, clipless compatibility, along with the always sticky Stealth S1 rubber soles. It’s now lighter, stiffer has a waterproof toe cap, and two Velcro straps to cover the laces and to prevent errant water and debris from creeping into the shoe. It comes in the sizes of 6-12 (whole & half) and 13, in the Mono Grey and Red color scheme and retails for $140.

Features

It uses a synthetic textile upper, which helps with durability, abrasion and water resistance, and quicker drying. The shoe can be run in a clipless mode or with flat pedals, making for a more versatile and functional shoe. The shank is moderately stiff to give good power transfer to the pedals, but it still retains good sensitivity and flexibility for walking. The Stealth S1 rubber outsole makes the shoe sticky on rocks, logs and roots so you have good traction and grip when needed though the low tread height won’t offer much digging in the deeper mud. Also, the outsole is soft, so it provides cushioning for walking and damping while riding and banging down the trail, all of which increase comfort and reduce fatigue. It has a tall and thickly padded collar and heel counter that keeps your heel firmly locked into the shoe, and the tongue has ample padding for instep cushioning. The dual hook-and-loop Velcro closure system, along with the laces, gives great security, adjustability and fine tuning for a perfect fit.

Impressions

Removing the soles middle cover to allow clipless compatibility was a breeze, and only required some needle pliers and some force to peel them off. The cleats for my SPD’s pedals went on easily, and there weren’t any fitting issues, and 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. 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. The Stealth S1 rubber certainly stuck like glue on rocks and most obstacles (even when wet), offering excellent traction and grip for easy and reassuring moves on technical sections, though I didn’t get much time with them in deeper mud.

I liked the shoes in rocky and technical terrain, where you regularly hit and bang into things, like trees and branches and rocks, and the thick toe box, sides and tough uppers, offered excellent protection for the entire foot. The synthetic textile uppers shed mud, water and dirt, helping to keep your feet dry and clean. They’re extremely tough and can take a lot of abuses and have shown very little wear with usage, and although they’re not the most breathable, I never found them oppressive on the hottest days.

The heel cup was snug, comfortable, well padded and high enough to help hold the shoe in place on the foot, and I didn’t sense any issues with heel lift. The laces worked well and allowed micro adjustments for tightening. The dual wide Velcro straps helped pull the foot down into the shoe for good security, and kept the laces down and unwanted debris and moisture from entering the shoe. Though the tongue was well padded and floated nicely, I wish it had some longitudinal attachment to prevent pebbles and contaminants from creeping into the shoe.

The sole was surprisingly stiff for a trail shoe and provided good pedaling performance, yet it had enough flexibility that it made walking and hiking forgiving. It’s not an ultra stiff x-country race shoe, but the compromises for power and flex are very optimal for a shoe in this realm.

I did find them slightly narrow for my big wide feet, but that was only noticeable after wearing them for a couple of hours, and I am unsure how much they might stretch (if any) due to the synthetic textile upper material? I found the shoe to be comfortable and supportive, with lots of thick padding through the interior. I am not much of a fashion person, but the shoes do have a sort of space age look (think moon boots) or perhaps a motorcycle race boot design.

Measured weight (size 9): 440 grams each

Bottom Line

The Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless offer superb protection when riding and walking down gnarly terrain, alleviating damage to the feet and toes from close encounters with rocks and trees. The new waterproof toe cap and dual Velcro closure keep the feet drier and cleaner in inclement conditions and stream crossings though a fully attached tongue would improve contaminant entry. The uber sticky Stealth S1 rubber outsoles gave excellent grip and traction on rocks and obstacles, allowing easy mobility on technical terrain though the lugs aren’t tall enough for digging into the deeper mud. The shank offers good stiffness for pedaling and flexibility for hiking, compromising neither entity’s performance though they certainly aren’t x-country race stiff. They’re slightly heavy at 980g pair, but offer up some incredible armor and water protection for the foot in return. The uppers are very tough, abrasion resistant and durable, and although they didn’t seem that breathable, I never had any overheating issues.
The Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless are a good all-around comfortable, secure, durable and protective shoe, with sticky soles and a moderately stiff and flexible shank.

Pros

•    Sticky and shock absorbing Stealth S1 rubber sole
•    Protective toe box, sides, and uppers
•    Waterproof toe cap
•    Good compromise of stiffness and hikeability
•    Wide dual -Velcro closure strap
•    Nice heel cup and padded cuff
•    Durable – especially the abrasion-resistant upper
•    Clipless or flat pedal compatible

Cons

  • Not x-country stiff
  • Needs a fully attached tongue
  • Lug height not the best in mud
  • Not the most breathable
  • Heavy

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: