Review: Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT clipless shoes

Protective, grippy all-mountain shoe balances stiffness and hikeability

Apparel Shoes

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Clipless Shoes

Five Ten’s new Maltese Falcon LT all-mountain shoes bring lighter weight, better water resistance and a good blend of sole stiffness-to-hikeability to the substantial feature set of its predecessors. Already known for superior durability, comfort, and clipless compatibility—not to mention the always sticky Stealth S1 rubber soles—the new, $140 Maltese Falcon LT’s show Five Ten is keeping a finger on the pulse of the sport and developing product accordingly.

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Top

Tough, sticky and balanced

The Maltese Falcons use a synthetic textile upper for improved durability, abrasion and water resistance, and quicker drying. A waterproof toe cap, along with two Velcro straps cover the laces and help prevent the entry of water and debris.

While most riders will run the Maltese Falcon’s in clipless mode, their grippy Stealth S1 rubber outsole is sticky enough for use on flat pedals as well—though we’d recommend a dedicated pair of shoes for serious flats riding. Our point is that the grippy outsole also makes the shoes sticky on rocks, logs and roots, even when wet. It also provides cushioning for hike-a-biking, and damping while banging down the trail, all of which increases comfort and reduces fatigue.

The moderately stiff shank provides good power transfer to the pedals, but still retains good sensitivity and flexibility for walking. It has a tall and thickly-padded collar and heel cup to keep the foot firmly locked into the shoe. The tongue has ample padding for instep cushioning, while the dual hook-and-loop Velcro closure system, along with the laces, provide wide-ranging adjustability for good fit.

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Sole

Easy set-up, great on-bike performance

Unlike other shoes which require heavy equipment to get at the clip mounts, removing the Maltese Falcon’s covers only required some needle-nose pliers and a steady pull. Our SPD’s clips went on without a hitch and required no extra trimming to clear the pedals. Click-in was positive and definite, and the sticky Stealth rubber added to the grip on our wide-bodied Shimano XT Trail pedals.

In rocky and technical terrain, where you regularly hit and bang into things, 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.

Because the shoes are so tough they do give up a bit of breathability, but we never found them oppressive, even on the hottest days.

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Flex

All-mountain-tuned sole, functional looks

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 cross-country shoe, but the blend of power and flex are optimal for a shoe in this realm.

As looks go, Five Ten went with functionality over fashion on the Maltese Falcons. They look more like slippers than cool kid skate shoes, but we don’t really care—we’re here to mountain bike, not pose.

Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Side

Bottom Line

The Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT clipless shoes offer superb protection when riding and walking down gnarly terrain, helping to protect the feet from close encounters with rocks and trees. The new waterproof toe cap and dual Velcro closure help keep the feet drier and cleaner, though a fully attached tongue would improve their resistance to contaminant entry.

The uber sticky Stealth S1 rubber outsoles give excellent grip and traction on rocks and obstacles, allowing easy mobility on technical terrain, though the lugs likely aren’t tall enough for digging into deeper mud. The shank offers good stiffness for pedaling as well as flexibility for hiking. While slightly heavy at 980 grams per pair, the shoes offer up incredible armoring and water protection in return. Though the uppers are very tough, they aren’t the most breathable.

The Five Ten Maltese Falcon LTs are a good, comfortable, secure, durable and protective all-mountain shoes with sticky soles and a moderately stiff and flexible shank.

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

Weight: 980 grams (pair, size 9)
MSRP: $140

More info:

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • sean says:

    I owned the previous version and they had two glaring weaknesses that I found after a few months of riding in the Northeast:
    1) the sole, while sticky and flexible, ended up cracking from side to side under the ball of my foot, near the cleat.
    2) too warm.

    A long term test would be more useful to see if 1) has been addressed. As for 2), these look less breathable than the lay version.

    No shoes are perfect, but these failed far quicker than I expected. I did receive a full refund after 3-4 months use though so I can’t complain too much.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      I have used the previous version also, and after over a year of abuse, they are still running strong, without any issue like you had experienced, and I hike-a-bike a ton. Perhaps my feet don’t get very warm or perspire much, but I haven’t really had an issue with overheating.

  • Patrick says:

    If you’re using these with a clipless pedal that does not have a platform you’re missing the point of these shoes. They really need something like the a Crankbrothers Mallet to make sense (It’s a flat pedal with a clipless middle so you get the grip and control of a flat pedal with the efficiency of a clipless pedal).

  • colin list says:

    “Five Ten went with functionality over fashion ! “Understatement .

  • Kyle says:

    Of the hundred or so bike shoes I’ve owned, I was surprised and delighted with these. The heel-less setup is terrific for dancing pushwhack rock beds and Appalachian creek crossings. Stiffness is terrific, while walking comfort remains excellent. Rubber stickiness, a great benefit. The one glaring flaw, unmentioned anywhere I’ve read, is the SPD cleat sticks out above the sole. Placement under the most critical point on the foot for slick rock creek crossings. Clacks on concrete, slick on linoleum. Needs to be recessed just a tad, voila!, the perfect shoe.

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