Five Ten Impact VXi review
Welcome to the Five Ten Impact VXI review. We have seen that Ed likes the new clipless Impact Vxi shoes from 5.10 but what about the flat version? The first Impact shoe from 5.10 set a new level in the world of biking shoes and you still see old versions going strong today. Even top riders like Sam Hill are still opting for the old model over this new version but we got a fresh pair in and gave them a good hiding just for you.
Basically what 5.10 have done is bring this shoe up to date with better rubber, less weight and a good stiff sole. The biggest thing about riding flats is getting enough grip, pedals pins rely on a few millimetres of rubber to hold on to and getting enough in all conditions will make or break a shoe. I’ve been riding the new Five Ten Impact VXI shoes for a few months now and I have to say they are some of the best performing shoes I’ve used, not perfect, but damn close.
The new shoes are lighter, stiffer in the footbed, offer more protection and definitely more grip. Since the first Impact shoes came out the look of the shoes has always been a talking point. The first versions weren’t exactly catwalk material but after some refining this latest shape looks good to me. Form and function can be fidgety bed fellows but tonight they are getting on well but what makes these shoes stand out?
Or lack of it, these shoes are a leap in the right direction. As Ed mentioned in the clipless review, sticking something heavy on the end of the levers that propel you is madness and saving weight at the business end of your legs is definitely a good thing. I’ve worn these shoes all day with no problems, riding, pushing back up and doing it all again feels good. The VXi’s flats weigh 420g (size 9.5UK) a little more than the claimed 340g (9US), bang on the same as the clipless version that we expected to be a little heavier. Overall they have been slimmed down and feel a lot lighter when pedalling, during a long day out this is a definite advantage and will make a difference you probably never expected.
Rubber is what 5.10 do best and the new Mi6 compound is their softest yet. I’ve been running these shoes on DMR V12’s or Vaults and they grip well but offer something extra, slower rebound. As with a tyre slower rebound means longer for the rubber to stay in contact with the ground. If a tyre knobble bounces straight back of a rock or root then you are going to get less grip than one that forms around the shape of an obstacle as your wheel passes over it.
All this stuff happens bloody quick but the combined result is very relevant, and with shoes it’s no different. Repeated impacts, manoeuvring the bike with your body weight and of course pedalling while trying to do all this means you need your feet to stick where you asked them. Some give is helpful when shifting weight at speed and if you have been used to moving your foot about then these will impress you. The new compound works with the stiffer sole and means that everything stays put, once you place your foot on the pedal it stays there, you get feel through the pedals but they grip is immense. It also translates off the bike as walking is just as easy, Iv’e spent time sessioning tracks in the local woods and walking back for another go. They deal with steep stuff, rocks and roots well and they are comfy enough to wear all day.
This is noticeably stiffer than the previous Freerider skate style shoe and a step on from the Freerider VXi’s, both these flexed around the pedal more. Some people prefer that feel but it can mean your feet feel it after a long day on the bike, for me the added stiffness was a bonus. If you are going to be spending time riding then being efficient and comfortable is important, the shape of the footbed supported my feet well, both walking and riding for long periods was comfortable. Other shoes on the market like the old Teva Links shoe felt solid but were let down by hard rubber in the soles that took a lot of wearing in before it came supple enough to grip flex. It was this flex that they felt reliant on rather than the rubber compound for grip which is where the 5.10’s excel.
I’ve got wide feet and I didn’t have a problem at all with the shoes pinching or feeling tight anywhere at all. There is enough adjustment in the lacing to cater for all sizes of foot and the laces grip well as you tighten them with the neat twisted elastic lace retainer taking care of the laces once tied. The one problem I found with the new Impacts is that they can get crap and stones inside, it’s more noticeable when walking rather than riding which makes this less of an issue. The internal padding has been slimmed down in the weight loss program and that means the gap between your ankle and the lining can get bigger as your ankle moves and flexes during riding. It’s not a huge issue and you probably won’t notice but we did a bit but maybe we have skinny ankles!
The main thing that 5.10 have done to protect your foot is the big rand around the toe box of the shoes. If you have ever caught your shoe on a root or flying rock and full tilt you will know how it can feel but the new shoes have this covered. There is also a raised arch section from the sole that protect the inside of your foot from any crank bashing as well as helping to absorb the rumble through your pedals.
After a few months of riding these shoes are well up for the job, they may cost more than a pair of skate shoes but you are paying for grip and the longevity that comes from solid build quality. Having got the shoes soaking wet and then stuffing them with newspaper they dried out pretty well, if you don’t bother with them and chuck them back in the shed then they probably will stay damp for a while but most shoes probably would! Comparing them to the old Five Ten’s as well as offering from Teva and Shimano these are way ahead in grip and as a package are, in my opinion, the best flat pedal shoe on the market today. The weight and new rubber compound is the main thing that makes the new Impact’s stand out and aside from the niggle with crap getting inside them they are shoes worthy of your cash.
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