There are different schools of thought on the freeride pedal question. Some folks like to run flats because they can get away from the bike in a hurry if they need to and it's easier to get on the bike and drop in without having to clip in, especially in gnarly terrain. Others like the feel of being connected to the bike and the pedal-power that clipless pedals provide. With this argument in mind, Five Ten may very well have made the perfect freeride/DH shoe. Not only does the Maltese Falcon give you the option of running clipless or flats, but it also has a stiff-but-sensitive shank that provides all the pedaling benefits of a stiff-soled XC shoe and all the pedal-feel benefits of a dedicated DH shoe.
There are four basic ingredients that make the Maltese Falcon so good. The first is Five Ten's sticky Stealth S1 Rubber outsole. Stealth rubber gives you tons of grip so your feet stay firmly planted on the pedals. This soft rubber compound also provides grip when you're off the bike scrambling up a sketchy section. The next ingredient is the stiff-but-sensitive shank that provides a solid pedaling platform without taking away from pedal feel or the natural flex of the shoe. The third is densely padded collar and heel counter that keep your heel firmly locked into the shoe and provide impact protection during the inevitable digger. A Velcro ankle strap beefs up the already-beefy ankle support for a firm-but-natural fit. The final ingredient is the burly, abrasion-resistant leather upper that holds up to season-after-season of ridiculous off-road abuse.
The Five Ten Maltese Falcon is available in half sizes from US 6-12 and then a full-size leap to 13. The color is Raven's Eye Grey with Black and Red accents.
The Maltese Falcon is the all new lightweight shoe by Five Ten. The super stiff but sensitive shank provides balance cranking power, while still maintaining comfort during a hike. The two- hole cleat pattern allows you to clip into your favorite clipless pedals. The laces and strap help to hold the shoe onto your foot securely, even when the trail gets a bit rowdy. Stealth rubber absorbs shock so ankles are less fatigued than riding with standard rubber soled shoes. The high friction rubber is also designed for maximum durability.
These shoes are super comfortable. They look like skate shoes, but have a rigid sole to keep your feet from getting weary. You can walk around with crank bros cleats and they don't click and scrape while you walk on flat ground, you can drive in them too. I got them in early winter and they are warmer than my specialized shoes which are made with a lot of venting. we'll see if that's a bad thing in the Utah summer.
The best thing about these shoes is that with my acid pedals, they click in easy and the shoe tread contacts the rest of of the pedal body giving you a larger platform that you can feel so they don't have that "tippy toe" feeling like if you were riding on egg beater pedals. you can feel connected to the platform as well. I bet these would work great with any hybrid clip/flat pedals like the new XT trail or CB mallets and of course my Acids.
These shoes are pretty cool. They look like normal shoes which means you can ride to work and not have to worry about bringing shoes to change into. The Velcro strap is great to keep the laces out of the way when pedaling. I have found my feet do not get too hot in these, which is surprising because they don't have much ventilation. The material and construction is high quality and the rubber on the sole still looks new after much use. One downside is that my SPD cleats are slightly taller than the surrounding rubber on the sole. This means the cleats can grind on the surface you are walking on, I only notice it when I am walking on concrete. Not a big deal. I would recommend these to people that want a durable mountain bike shoe with a "normal" shoe look and aren't too worried about the weight of the shoe.
Let me preface by saying I love the Five Ten Chase shoe! These have the exact same fit and feel! Sans the plate underfoot.
These are my first pair of spd shoes so I don't have anything to compare them too
Really burly stealth rubber doesn't seem to wear and have enough grip to still hike a bike even with cleats.
Super comfortable and very breathable. The velcro strap is nice for a quick tighter feel or to loosen for some airflow.
nothing really. The they do seem to hold water in the foot bed if you step in a creek.
All in all; Awesome!
Here they are after nearly 30 miles on the Smith Creek\ Plains of Abraham ride at St. Helens
The best performing 'skate' style shoe for trail/all mountain riding with SPD compatibility that I have found.
Fit and function is great. Light enough for all day riding.
The soles are super stiff which is great for SPD use. The only downside of the soles are that the SPD cleat area is not recessed enough making it slightly taller than the sole (can lead to faster wear if you walk on them a lot).
The soles started separating around the SPD cutout after about 5 days of use on the first pair that I had. Thanks to Backcountry.com excellent customer service, this was quickly resolved and the second pair is holding up so far (I gave it 4 stars for durability).