The options for kids mountain bike shoes are limited. Fortunately, one of the only options — the Five Ten Freerider Youth — happens to be an exceptional one.
A miniature size of the popular adult Freerider shoe, the Youth version offers performance and comfort in a pint-size package. The only problem with the Freerider is that you might have trouble getting your child to take them off.
May 2023: Updated competitor information and additional purchasing options.
Review in a Nutshell
- Super-sticky sole
- Velcro closure
- Attractive design
- Comes in small sizes
Price & Where to Buy:
Five Ten Freerider Youth Video Review
Sole Provides Superior Traction
The real attraction of the Freerider is the sole. The Five Ten Marathon rubber does an exceptional job of keeping little feet planted firmly on their pedals.
Previously, my son had been riding with a pair of skate shoes, which did an adequate job, but it’s clear that the soles on the Freerider are superior even to a skate shoe. Even in wet weather, the shoes are sticky and stay put.
In comparison to skate shoes, the soles are also much stiffer. This ensures good power transfer to the pedals for the uphills and a firm platform for foot support when descending.
That said, the soles aren’t excessively stiff. They work well for mid-ride stops at the playground and for hiking up steep hills.
Of course, in addition to a good shoe, we also recommend picking a good pedal. Our favorite is the Chromag Radar. This pedal / shoe combo is stellar.
Velcro Closure Is Easy For Kids And Keeps Laces From Getting Tangled In Their Cranks
When we first bought Freeriders, we picked the velcro version, since he was 5.5 and couldn’t quite tie shoelaces yet. Evidently the velco closure was SO popular, that they’ve gotten rid of the laces all together.
Frankly, I wish they made the adult version with velcro too. You don’t have to worry about loose shoelaces, and they slip on and off quickly.
Super Durable, Will Last Until Your Kid Outgrows Them
Parents who have kids who do a lot of biking know: mountain biking can wreak havoc on shoes. There is no faster way to wear out a good pair of shoes than taking your child to the pump track a few times a week.
That’s another reason we like the Freerider: they are durable and stand up to frequent abuse. Let them tear up the Freeriders, and save your child’s regular shoes for school and the playground.
We bought my son a pair of Freeriders that were a little too big. TWO YEARS later they are still in great shape, and he’s just now ready to move up to a larger shoe.
Small Sizes For Small Kids
The Five Ten Freerider youth shoes start in a super tiny size 10.5. These are some of the smallest youth bike shoes out there. They come in half sizes thereafter and go up to a size 3.
For comparison, the Freerider Youth’s closest competitor is the Ride Concepts Youth Vice and it’s smallest size is a 2.
Availability Will Be Your Biggest Challenge
The biggest problem with the Five Ten Freerider Kids shoes is finding them. They seem to go in and out of stock frequently.
Still, if you spend a little time, and do a little searching, you’ll find a pair. And it’s totally worth the effort.
Five Ten Freerider Youth Vs The Competition
For flat pedals, the Five Ten Freeriders are one of your only options. The closest competitor are the Ride Concepts Youth Livewire and the Ride Concepts Vice.
We’ve also tested a few pairs of the Ride Concepts, and while they’re great shoes, my son chose to come back to the Freeriders for his most recent pair of shoes. The sole on the FiveTens just can’t be beat, and he prefers the velcro closure. In terms of price, the FiveTens are also a little cheaper.
If the price on the Freeriders scares you away, you can opt for a pair of skate shoes instead. There are also some clipless options on the market, but that assumes that your child is ready for clipless pedals and that it matches their style of riding.
Bottom-Line: A Youth MTB Shoe That’s Well Worth The Pricetag
For parents looking for a flat mountain bike shoe for their kiddo, go for the Five Ten Freerider youth. It is not only one of the only options on the market, it’s also the best.
The Marathon rubber outsoles provide superior traction on the pedals, and the insoles are stiff enough to perform well on both climbs and descents. Finally, the Freeriders look cool and that can go a long way in making your child excited to get out on the trails.
More Stuff You Might Like
- Best Kids Mountain Bikes: 13 Brands That Deliver
- 7 Best Full-Face Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids
- Your Guide To Downhill Mountain Biking With Kids
About The Reviewers
The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.
Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.
If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!