Tested – Five Ten Impact VXi Clipless Shoes
I won’t beat about the bush here, these are the kind of clipless shoes that I’ve always dreamt of. Why? Well on the one hand the fashion conscious part of me hates wearing XC disco slippers (plus they’re normally too stiff to walk in, and offer little protection), and then the performance part of me hates wearing a heavy pair of skate style shoes. If you think I am being picky about the weight thing then I challenge you to go for a ride in a heavy pair of shoes, and then do the same ride in a light pair. Honestly it makes a big difference, and if you ask me it’s a bit perverse trying to save weight off your bike when you then go and fix lead weights to the engine that’s trying to drive it. So, what I’ve always wanted is a light set of skate style clipless shoes, and that’s exactly what these are.
At around 420g for each these are lighter than many XC shoes, yet they feel remarkably solid. There’s a good amount of toe protection too, and I think Five Ten have got the stiffness of the sole pretty much spot on. It’s stiff enough not to cause problems on a decent length ride, and at the same time it’s flexible enough for those times when you need to get off and push. Somewhat unsurprisingly given Five Ten’s reputation the Mi6 rubber sole provides a whole pile of grip. Of course when you’re clipped in that attribute doesn’t really come into play, but it’s definitely welcome during those moments when you can’t quite get clipped back in and are left balancing on your pedals. I think these shoes are a winner for that fact alone.
What else do I like about them? Well the extra long cleat slots are a definite plus point in my eyes as they give far more scope for adjustment. If I’m just riding trails then I tend to run my cleats in a position that most shoes can deal with, but if I’m riding DH then I prefer my cleats to be set considerably further back as I find it massively reduces the strain on your leg muscles. To obtain this setting on most shoes requires some DIY modification, but with the Five Ten’s there’s none of that hassle. I also like the velcro strap across the top of your foot as this definitely helps to keep your foot in place when pulling up, plus it helps to keep your laces out of harm’s way.
Is there anything I don’t particularly like about my ‘dream’ shoes? Unfortunately yes. Perhaps my expectations were too high thanks to my initial impressions, but I was expecting these to be just the ticket for grotty winter conditions. To be fair they do shed mud like no other set of Five Ten’s I’ve used, they almost self-clean, but I was just surprised when my feet were soaking wet within minutes of starting a ride. Ok, so I was riding in pretty atrocious conditions, but I’ve ridden other shoes that have kept my feet dry for far longer. Aside from the discomfort, the water getting in also means that the shoes get considerably heavier, and then take a fair old while to dry out again. That said, these definitely don’t get as heavy as previous Five Ten’s (or other skate style shoes for that matter), and they also dry out quicker. Maybe it’s impossible to make a skate style shoe that doesn’t suffer from this problem? Maybe my dream shoes can be nothing more than a dream?
Those slight niggles aside, it’s fair to say I love these shoes, and I think you will too. To me they are clearly a big step in the right direction as far as mountain bike clipless shoes go, and right now I can’t think of any other shoes that I’d rather wear. If you too fancy trying a set out then my only advice would to be to make sure you try some on before you buy because we’ve found them to be very ‘roomy’, so much so that we’ve go down half a size, but once you’ve got the fit right I don’t think you’ll want to ride in anything else…well on your feet at least.
Five Ten UK 01709 300 150