Five Ten Sleuth DLX Flat Pedal Shoe


German sportswear giant Adidas purchased Five Ten all the way back in 2011, but despite many synergies on the marketing and manufacturing side, any visual cross-branding has until now been all but non-existent. Sure, the three stripes have been working their way into the outdoors and MTB realm for some time, but the all-new Sleuth DLX marks the first time that the famous Adidas logo has actually appeared on a Five Ten shoe (coincidentally just as TLD is releasing their all-new, Adidas co-lab Ultra kit). Read on to find out more!

Five Ten Sleuth DLX Highlights

  • Regular fit
  • Lace closure
  • Suede upper, weather resistant
  • One-piece molded rubber cupsole
  • Non-marking, high-friction “Stealth Phantom” rubber outsole
  • “Micro Dotty” tread
  • Textile lining
  • Weight: 447 grams, size 11 US, verified
  • MSRP: $130.00 USD

Initial Impressions

The Sleuth DLX is a slightly beefed up cousin of the previous Sleuth line, but it is in fact a whole new shoe. It was designed around an old classic Adidas model, the Samba – which at 35 million pairs sold worldwide is the brand’s second most popular shoe ever. Because the Sleuth DLX is meant to cater more to a street/DJ/slopestyle crowd, Five Ten went with their “Stealth Phantom” rubber, which is a non-marking and somewhat less grippy version of the classic Stealth S1 (with the classic Five Ten dotted lug pattern). The sample we were sent for this review is in fact a special edition made specifically for Five Ten sponsored slopestyle athletes, and features the even harder “Stealth Marathon” rubber.

Although the Sleuth DLX is based around the Adidas Samba last, it is specifically made for mountain biking. Aside from the Stealth rubber sole, it features a weather-resistant suede upper, a fairly supportive midsole and some extra protection. It is not as beefy as one of Five Ten’s full-on trail/DH shoes, but with a reinforced toecap and a reasonable amount of padding around the ankle area it’s certainly more resilient than your average skate shoe. And although it’s not meant to be fully waterproof, it should be weatherproof enough to shrug off the occasional downpour or deal with a puddle crossing or two.

One of the advantages of a skate style shoe is that it will blend in a bit better in an urban or post-ride environment. For those looking for something with a little more pop, the brighter colorway of our test sample will be available in 2020 – in the meantime you’ll have to make do with one of two much stealthier options that will look right at home anywhere from Starbucks to the Savoy Grill.

On The Trail

The Sleuth DLX runs true to size, and offers a very “regular” fit – not too narrow, not too wide. It is very comfortable on the foot, and despite offering a bit less protection than we are used to in our riding shoes, the Sleuth DLX does not feel flimsy at all. Yes it is fairly compliant, but the sole is stiff enough for pedaling around with, and offers more than enough power transfer for big days out. If you regularly stuff your feet in places they don’t belong, you’ll be better served with one of Five Ten’s sturdier models, but the Sleuth DLX will happily accompany you from the pumptrack to the trail.

Pair it up with a good quality pedal, and you can easily take it out on any trail in any condition.

So what about that grip then? The Marathon rubber on our test sample is less grippy than Stealth S1 for example, but its level of performance would still be pretty high on the wishlist of a certain number of competitors looking to leave their mark on the flat shoe market. It’s not quite as locked in as S1, but with light to moderate amount of pressure on the pedals it certainly won’t pop loose on you. Pair it up with a good quality pedal, and you can easily take it out on any trail in any condition. Re-positioning your foot is slightly easier than with S1, which is of course what most riders in the Sleuth DLX target market will be looking for.

With suede uppers, the Sleuth DLX can run a bit hot, but it does feature a few strategically placed holes in the upper to promote a bit of airflow. On the flipside, those suede uppers won’t draw as many curious looks in the pub – at least not in black or grey. A final observation regarding the heel cup, we found it not quite as deep as we would like, but that is probably par for the course with this type of shoe, and if you are used to it you likely won’t notice it.

What’s The Bottom Line?

More than just a new logo on a mountain bike shoe, the Sleuth DLX represents the first true collaborative effort between Adidas and Five Ten. It is built around a classic Adidas last with all the rubber know-how of Five Ten, and the result is a comfortable and good looking shoe that will feel at home anywhere from the dirt jumps to the singletrack – not forgetting the city in between. It features a non-marking and slightly less grippy version of Five Ten’s Stealth rubber, which makes it particularly well suited for those who like being able to move their feet around on the pedals a little bit more. And yes, you get those three stripes as well…whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to you to decide.

More information at: www.adidasoutdoor.com.

About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 45 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord