I’m not even going to beat around the bush with this review. If you use flat pedals and are looking for something grippy to help you stick to your pedals, stop reading this review now and just go buy these! I’m not even kidding.
Five Ten shoes are hands down, the best gripping shoes you will put your feet into. This company has its origins in rock-climbing, where the difference between staying on the rock and falling off is determined by how well you can stick to it. They’ve been doing this for a long time and probably know a thing or two about making shoes that perform and function as needed by its wearer.
I wore the Impact 2 low tops for a little more than 10 months, with 3-4 rides a week – doing some quick math (being conservative), I have about 120 rides on them. Retailing for around $95-$100, it breaks down to about 80¢ per ride. I’d say that’s a bargain for the kind of performance these shoes provide.
Here’s what I think about them:
SIZING & FIT
With any shoes you really need to go try them on first. Not all models fit the same. The models I have used – Impact 2 low, Impact 2 high, Karver and Nathan Rennies all run true to size. The fit is about the same on the Impacts and Karver (similar design construction) but felt slightly looser with the Nathan Rennie. I have thinner feet, so it just required a little more synching down on the laces.
If you are coming from a pair of skate shoes, the Five Tens will feel clunkier, stiffer and heavier than you’re accustomed to. I didn’t like them at first but was willing to tough it out (I heard too many good things). They just needed some break-in time. Do what I did and wear them to work for a week – just walk a lot in them so they’ll be great on those hike-a-bikes. And when the weekend rolls around, they will be feeling so nice, you’ll need to make room next to your Air Jordans for them.
FUNCTION & PERFORMANCE
What makes these shoes special is the Stealth rubber compound that offer an obnoxious amount of grip. So much so, that I’ve had to remove a few pins from my pedals so I can get my feet off quicker (as needed of course). Even in wet and muddy conditions, these shoes will stick. They are the closest you can get to being clipped in without going to cleat shoes. As an example, when you need to reposition a foot on a pedal. You literally need to lift your feet off the pedal and reposition them. It’s difficult to move them without doing this. The are that grippy.
The shoes are basically bomb proof, using synthetic leather, winbuck and rubber. The stealth rubber soles cradle the shoe body, wrapping around from the bottom to the sides, front and rear with more rubber used in the toe box area. If you’ve ever ridden through rocky trails, then you’ve experienced rocks flinging up and at your toes. This is one of the reasons why I love these shoes. Rocks just ricochet off them.
While they have a little heft to them, the benefits far outweigh any weight savings. Unique to the Impact 2 shoe design is the tounge; integrated into the inside sidewall of the shoe, is a continuous piece of material that wraps around your foot for additional ankle rolling support. The shoe uses a barrel lacing system that sits tucked under the shoe uppers. This design not only reduces pressure points but also keeps the laces protected as it is not on the surface of the shoe.
After 10 plus months of use, the barrel lace eyelet gave out on one shoe. I contacted Five Ten inquiring about whether it would be covered under warranty… and not only did they replace them for me, but they let me upgrade to the new Karvers. That’s just a classy thing for a company to do. Check them out at fiveten.com or call customer service at 909.798.4222.
GOOD: In all categories, fit, comfort, support, durability, protection and performance; there is no equal. This will be the best money you’ve ever spent. Unbelievable warranty replacement program.
BAD: I may need to reclassify this as “not so bad”. If I could improve one thing, it would be to reduce the weight.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham