Back when I first started riding flat pedals it was tough to find good footwear. The biggest problem was the outer soles. Often there were gaps or lines where you wanted grip or the heel and toe section were divided by an area with no rubber at all. Because of this I would scour skate shoe stores and if I found a pair that worked I’d buy a couple.
This is what the Five Ten Impact 2 Mid shoe looks like out of the box.
These days we have some great options. I’ve had good success with Shimano’s MP56B shoes (they always have the best names) and the Nike 6.0 series when mated to the right pedals. My preference has been the über grippy Syncros Mental pedals which can take a beating without breaking a sweat. Nothing was broke so I didn’t want to fix it, or so I thought.
I had spoken to a lot of folks who had ridden Five Ten’s grippy shoes with a sole robbed from their successful line of climbing shoes, but I was resistant to change. Riders told me that the 5.10s are so grippy that you need to sit down to re-position your foot. That meant if your heel was on the spindle heading into a gnarly section you were stuck there. Some riders were experimenting with removing pins to find a middle ground between grip and the ability to tweak your perch on pedal. I didn’t want to deal with any of that.
This is what mine look like after about three months of hard riding – in all kinds of weather. Aside from a tear in the reflective 5.10 logo they are perfect.
In the past I have worn out the soles of shoes first. Channels would develop in line with the pins on my pedal – not far from my instep – and my grip would become increasingly compromised. There’s nothing as sweet as slipping a pedal while rolling into a steep, slimy rock face. The last time this happened I decided to try some 5.10s. I rolled down to Steed Cycles and , wanting ankle protection, slipped on both the Impact 2 Mid and the Nathan Rennie signature model. I decided, based on fit and price, on the Impact 2.
I also resisted moving from spds to flats for a long time but from the very first I was hooked – about 10 minutes into a ride at the Woodlot. The 5.10 shoes were the same. The hook up provided by 5:10′s Stealth rubber soles blew any other shoes I had tried out of the water. (Stealth is a separate company founded by Charles Cole who also founded Five Ten) Once my feet were on the pedal they practically planted roots.
The business end of the Impact 2 Mids are holding up well also – and the grip is as good as new.
I guess I was so happy with the grip that I wasn’t bothered by having to sit down to re-position – not at first. After the Saint camp in Whistler I had a set of Shimano’s DX flat pedals on my big bike. I never liked the low pro pins on the DX – until I got my 5.10s. They meted out the perfect compromise between grip and movement. I could reposition standing up and still have foolproof grip. The problem with the DX pedals is that any rock contact can rip out the pins and ruin them. I’ve lost a couple already but the grip is still great. After using the Shimanos the Syncros Mentals feel too sticky for me. I know several riders who have had success by pulling a few pins out of the Mentals and I will try that once the snow melts.
It’s all about the Stealth Rubber – 5.10′s secret weapon.
The shoes also lace up easily with one pull, offer nice protection and decent stiffness. I put in a pair of orthotics from Kintec Footlabs and that further improved their rigidity. They have a well padded wrap around tongue that only opens on one side. This keeps it in position and limits the entry of mud and water. The Impact 2 Mids act a bit like sponges in the rain but they still manage to keep the toes adequately warm. There is little in the way of venting and when the weather’s fine your feet get sweaty.
The Five Tens on Ladies Only. If anyone is counting this is the third time I have used this photo. Photo ~ Pete Chambers.
Bottom line: If you are riding on flat pedals go out and grab some Five Tens. Nothing I’ve tried comes even close. It’s my hope that a few other companies like Nike, Shimano, Lake and Adidas may work with Stealth to make their own sticky shoes so we have some choices – or maybe develop their own gooey sole compound. For the moment Five Tens are it.
For more hit up fiveten.com
Steed Cycles North Van Five Ten pricing in Canadian Dollars.
Impact 2 Low $109.99
Impact 2 Mid $119.99
Sam Hill Signature $139.99
Rennie Signature $144.99
Impact 2 Low $104.95
Impact 2 Mid $109.95
Sam Hill Signature $120.00
Rennie Signature $125.00
What is your pedal/foot interface of choice? Found something better? Like your Five Tens? Put your foot down here…