Labeled the most winning shoe in World Cup DH history, the SPD-compatible Hellcat shoe has enjoyed the reputation as a favorite amongst gravity racing pro riders. This made it a top choice when I decided to try a clip-in shoe for use when riding more technical trails.
Until recently I preferred flat pedals for aggressive riding; my Five Ten sticky rubber soled Freeriders were my go-to for shuttling and/or riding DH trails. I felt more comfortable knowing I could easily take a foot off quickly if necessary. However, things changed when I started riding technical trails even faster and didn’t like having to worry about my foot bouncing off my pedals as I rode through rock gardens. (and I am a “drop your heels” nazi).
Due to my affinity for Five Ten shoes, it made sense to try one of their DH clip-less shoes. I chose the Hellcat’s because 1) there are a number of positive reviews despite the weight and 2) it was the only aggressive SPD-compatible shoe that didn’t offend me aesthetically. I wanted something a bit more feminine and the black/gray with orange accents was as close as I was going to get. I would love to see a black/grey with magenta accents version. Wishful thinking, maybe?
What I noticed immediately with the DH clip-in shoes verses my usual clip-in trail riding shoes is that it is so easy to quickly clip back in. Typical XC style shoes are lightweight, but the hard plastic lugs have a tendency to slide all over in rough terrain, making it difficult to clip back in when I really need to. For riding more aggressive trails, I’ll take the weight penalty for confidence and reliability any day.
Having a solid platform makes all the difference, I have yet to feel the need to go back to flats because these are so confidence inspiring. I’ve also noticed that they reduce chatter and vibration through bumps at high speeds. Something my light and stiff XC racer shoes do not do.
The current Hellcat’s are a tad bit lighter than previous models, which were known for being on the heavy side. While they are indeed heavier than my XC shoes, I don’t mind the weight for all mountain style rides. I’ve pedaled 30+ miles in Tahoe in them and did not feel any discomfort or that they were too heavy.
The Hellcat’s run true to size – I am a US women’s 8.5, wearing a US men’s 6.5.
Hellcat’s MSRP for $130.00.