Before you all get too excited I should point out now that these new ‘Winterized’ versions of the Freerider VXi and the standard Freerider will not be available until around autumn of this year. Now that’s out of the way here are some photos of them…
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So what makes them winterized? Well firstly you might have noticed that neither of these new ‘Elements’ models have any mesh venting, which in turn will make them far better in wet, muddy and cold conditions. Maybe ‘UKized’ would have been just as good a description. I can’t actually ever remember thinking that my feet have been too hot on a ride, so personally I’d be more than happy to always trade in the venting for some solid leather style material instead.
The new approach to material usage on the uppers is only one side of the story though when it comes to the Freerider VXi Elements, and the other side is potentially much bigger. Basically Five Ten will be making the VXi sole from their new Stealth MI6 rubber, and if you thought their shoes already offered incredible grip then you’d better get ready to be amazed. Apparently the rubber was originally developed to help Tom Cruise and his stuntmen climb up sheet glass in a Mission Impossible film, and it’s so soft and grippy that Five Ten were unsure if it had any real use in real life. That though was until Five Ten’s founder and president Charles Cole tried out a sample pair of MI6 soled shoes on his bike.
With a durometer of just 48 these are by far the softest soled shoes that Five Ten have ever created, and the main idea behind using them on these winterized shoes is that in really cold temperatures their standard sole becomes harder and less grippy (just like any rubber), and so to offer the same level of grip in those kinds of conditions the only solution was to go for an even grippier rubber. And the difference really is quite noticeable, you can really squish and move the rubber with your finger.
Sadly we weren’t allowed to try these shoes out on a bike as they needed to be kept as box fresh samples, but if these prove to be a step up in terms of performance then we can see people going mad for this new sole, whatever the weather. How long will the sole last? Well it’s certainly not going to be as long as the usual sole, but the guys at Five Ten still reckon they should last a decent amount of time. For racing only shoes?
Aside from the added grip, the new MI6 rubber also has even better cushioning and damping properties. This should translate into increased comfort and help to reduce the chance of your feet bouncing off your pedals. And if you’re still wondering if it really is possible to make an even grippier sole than the one we already know and love then you might be interested to know that at a recent outdoor show Five Ten displayed their forthcoming MI6 soled climbing shoe by simply pushing them up against a vertical piece of glass…to which they simply stuck! Bonkers.
So are you going to be on the waiting list for these, or do you think you can ever have too much grip? Actually…that’s reminded me…didn’t Five Ten bring out this Freerider VXi sole because some people felt the Impact had too much grip? And now they’ve made this smooth sole from uber grippy rubber…maybe it will offer just as much grip as the Impact sole but with better feel? Who knows, but we sure as hell can’t wait to get hold of some…