Closeup view of the outside of the shoe, note the heel cup, padded cuff, large strap and toe box.
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.
The sticky Stealth S1 rubber soles with their dot shaped lugs, slight wear by the cleats.
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.
Showing each side, not the tough toe box and thick Action leather uppers.
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.
Showing the top of the shoe – well padded cuff and large Velcro closure.
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 have enough stiffness for good pedaling power.
The Five Ten Maltese Falcon are a good all-around comfortable and protective shoe, with a good combination of stiffness and flexibility, and 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.
- 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
- Slight power loss for pedaling – stiffness versus hiking compromise
- Rubber softness around pedal interface can cause premature release
- Not the most breathable
4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers