Five Ten Impact VXi
When it was first introduced to the mountain bike world, Five Ten's original Impact shoe was an immediate hit, thanks to its super-sticky rubber and overbuilt construction. The unparallelled grip that the Stealth rubber provided made it easy for riders tired of slipping off their pedals and driving pedal pins into shins and calves to overlook the shoes' heavier weight and clunky styling, and the Impact became a ubiquitous classic, the shoe of choice for flat pedal riders around the world.
Over a decade after they were first released, Five Ten decided it was time to give the Impacts an update, and the new Impact VXi is the result. The revised version is a claimed 25% lighter than the original, and gets an even stickier sole that uses Five Ten's Mi6 rubber. Originally developed to help Tom Cruise run on glass in the Mission Impossible 4
movie, the Mi6 compound is slower rebounding and has a lower durometer than the S1 rubber that was previously used. The shoe's profile has been slimmed down as well, and hydrophobic foam is used throughout to help reduce the amount of time it takes for the shoes to dry. MSRP: $150 USD. Weight (one shoe, size 11): 435 grams. Sizes: US 5-14. Colors: Blue / Yellow, Black. www.fiveten.com
Fit and Function
The overall shape of the Impact VXi is much more streamlined than its predecessor.
Right out of the box, the reduced weight of the Impact VXi is immediately noticeable; they feel closer to what you'd expect from a trail running shoe, rather than a hiking boot. I spent much of last season wearing a pair of Five Ten's Freerider VXi shoes, and found the fit of the Impacts to be much roomier, particularly in the toe box. This will work well for riders with wide or high volume feet, but others may find there to be too much room for their liking. Installing a flat insole blank (the type used for ski boot fitting) to take up the excess room solved this issue, and my feet were much happier with the snugger fit.
A good portion of my time on these shoes was spent in the bike park, and even after multiple long days of downhill riding I didn't experience any hot spots or sore feet. The sole is quite stiff (for a flat pedal shoe), which does mute the sensation of your foot contouring to the shape of the pedal, but the sticky rubber sole ensures that slipping off the pedals will be a rarity. The stickiness of Five Ten's rubber is still unmatched, and the Mi6 takes it a step further, so much so that I found myself removing a few pedal pins in order to slightly reduce the amount of grip and to make repositioning my foot easier. I'd say this is a good thing, since I'd much rather be taking sharp pointed objects off of my bike instead of installing more of them.
It's all about the details. A rubber toe bumper, sticky Mi6 rubber, and a quick drying outer help keep feet protected and securely in place.
The last six weeks have seen the fall rains return to the Pacific Northwest, which provided plenty of opportunities to evaluate the Impact VXi's wet weather performance. I was consistently impressed by how dry my feet remained during rainy rides - the shoes shed water very well, and they never turned into saturated sponges like the previous version had a tendency to do. When they do become fully soaked, which usually happened after riding through puddles and streams that dumped water over the cuff of the shoe, the drying time was fairly short, and although Five Ten's claims of 'overnight drying' may be a stretch, it's still a marked improvement over the originals. The tradeoff for this improved wet weather performance is that there's not a lot of air circulation for those hot summer days, but they don't seem any steamier than the standard Impacts. As far as durability goes, after almost four month of solid usage, the Impact VXi shoes have held up extremely well, and even the high wear areas like the inner cuff near the ankle and the sole itself have plenty of life left in them.Pinkbike’s Take
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|The changes Five Ten have made to the original Impact to create the Impact VXi are all for the better, and the lighter weight, increased water resistance, and stickier rubber add up to make these some of the best flat pedal shoes on the market. I'd still like the fit refined slightly to be less boxy, but other than that, this revised classic is ready for another generation of riders to discover the benefits that Five Ten's extra grippy rubber compound brings to the flat pedal world. - Mike Kazimer|