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Five Ten Impact Vxi Review
Cons: Stiff upper material, toe box may be too high volume
Bottom line: Light downhill shoe capable of climbing and XC.
Narrow or Wide Fit?: Wide
Upper Materials: Synthetic Leather
Manufacturer: Five Ten
The Five Ten Impact VXi is designed for downhillers looking for a lighter weight choice in their sticky-soled foot armor, and they deliver. Of all the shoes we tested, the Impact VXi felt the most protective overall with a burly synthetic upper, tried and true sticky dot Stealth Mi6 rubber and a protective toe cap. As you might expect, downhill prowess comes with tradeoffs in overall comfort and durability. If your typical riding involves equal amounts of XC or climbing with your downhill, the Five Ten Freerider Contact or Shimano AM7 may be more appealing due to their all-around performance.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Stealth Mi6 proves itself a worthy competitor once again as the tread of choice on the Impact VXi. Five Ten's sticky dot rubber has a reputation for tenacious grip and the newer Mi6 compound has only improved on a good thing. For riders seeking a clipped-in feel but wanting the benefits of a flat shoe, the Impact VXi is worth a look. Five Ten's Freerider Contact has a smooth portion underfoot, but this shoe has sticky dots throughout, which provide unbeatable grip. This is one of the more significant differences between the Impact VXi and the Editors' Choice Freerider Contact. If you're a rider who fine tunes your foot position or wants an easier escape from your pedals, the Freerider Contact or Shimano AM 7 fulfill those needs. Riders looking for more of a pure downhill shoe will likely lean toward the Impact VXi.
The Impact XVi provided the most cushioning and protection overall, with a wider fit than the other five in our test lineup. According to Five Ten, the shoe is intentionally made with a higher volume through a biomechanical last design. This feature is intended to provide greater foot support while allowing for "forefoot swelling." While we can't completely attest to that claim, the shoes were roomy and kept our feet protected successfully.
The synthetic upper does well, shedding both moisture and dust. The material was stiffer than the other shoes in our test, occasionally pinching the forefoot. After a handful of rides, the material did soften somewhat. Similar to the Freerider Contact, the Stealth Mi6 rubber, molded EVA midsole, and compression molded insoles give the Impact VXi good shock absorption and vibration reduction, especially in rapid fire rock gardens and washboard.
Rigidity and Power Transfer
With the more aggressive downhill-oriented design of the Impact VXi comes the highest level of rigidity and power transfer of all the tested shoes, which edged out the Freerider Contact and the Shimano AM7, scoring a 9 out of 10. This level of rigidity does mean there is some loss of sensitivity on the pedals and while walking. Pushing the bike was easy enough in the Impact XVi, but the shoes felt clunkier than the other five shoes in our test. The Freerider Contact and Shimano AM7 display greater sensitivity, which results in a bit less rigidity than the Impact. Even though the Impact XVi isn't necessarily intended for XC riding, our experience was relatively positive during daily all-mountain riding; the stiffness of the shoe wasn't an issue.
At first glance, we assumed the Five Ten Impact XVi might be the heaviest shoe in our review, but we were pleasantly surprised to find they are right in the middle of the group at 14 oz for a men's size 9 (weight for single shoe). If you're contemplating this shoe, weight is not likely an issue, especially when dealing with minuscule differences.
With the abrasion-resistant synthetic leather upper, breathability was less than the other shoes from Five Ten, Shimano and the Giro Jacket. While this shoe scored the lowest on breathability, they're still adequate, especially in cooler climates. The uppers are hydrophobic and Five Ten claims they dry overnight, which we did experience after one wet ride. Other than the hottest days, the Impact XVi's breathability wouldn't be a factor, especially when riding DH, which is what Five Ten intended.
Check that box! The Impact XVi scored the highest of all our test shoes in this category. When a shoe is aimed at downhill riding, durability seems like an obvious expectation, and these shoes deliver. After several rides with more than a few rock and log scuffs, the Impact XVi's looked almost untouched, even the soles. The Shimano AM7s came in a close second place, but the Impact set the bar high, whereas the Five Ten Freerider Contact's life expectancy appears less, which brings up the topic of quality vs. quantity. The uppers of the Giro Jacket seemed to keep up with the Impact XVi so far, but the soles showed more signs of use even with fewer miles. If you're looking for a shoe that can take a beating, the Five Ten Impact is up to the task.
Heavy use and downhill. The hydrophobic upper sheds moisture well overall, though not as well as the Shimano AM7. Occasional XC riding and longer climbs aren't the shoe's forte, but they do perform relatively well considering their intended use. They're not the friendliest shoe for overall sensitivity but provide excellent grip and protection for aggressive riders on technical trails.
The Five Ten Impact is the best overall shoe for downhill riders in our test. It's still capable of light XC riding and casual riding, although not as breathable or walk-friendly as most of the other shoes in our test. If you're looking for a good solid downhill shoe that can still hold its own for all-mountain riding, especially in cooler and wetter climates, this may be your shoe.
Five Ten Impact High
Five Ten Impact Low
— Jason Cronk
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