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Five Ten Impact VXi

A Lightweight Pedal Lamprey

Words by Matthew Lee. Photos by Matthew Lee.
July 8th, 2014

Musicians often say that creating a Sophomore album is the hardest thing to do in their career. How do you follow up the thing that made you a hit in the first place? Five Ten ran smack into the same problem when it came to their legendary Impact shoe: how do you improve on the shoe that became the go-to for flat pedal lovers the world over?

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You won’t find a “New and Improved” sticker on the box, but the Impact VXi is definitely a big step forward from its predecessor.

The first thing you notice when picking up the new Five Ten Impact VXi is how light it feels. Surely something that’s designed to protect your feet against chunder-filled rock gardens and wayward trees should be more substantial? According to the folks at Five Ten, they’ve eliminated nearly a quarter of the mass of the original Impact Low shoes, for a claimed weight of 360g per shoe in a size 9 (our 10.5 testers came in at a smidge under 400). Another benefit of the weight loss? No more crank rub. That’s right: scuff marks and ruined graphics are now a thing of the past. Carbon crank owners rejoice!

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Along with the dramatic weight loss, the folks at Five Ten also made the bold claim that the new Impact VXi would dry overnight. Wet shoes have long been my bane, so naturally I had to test their claim. This being the middle of summer, poor weather is hard to come by. Substituting my garden hose for a sloppy day of riding, I thoroughly soaked the shoes inside and out, leaving them to sit in my garage overnight. Lo and behold the shoes made good on their promise, and while not bone dry, they were dry enough to ride in the next day.

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The hydrophobic synthetic uppers did an excellent job of drying out overnight, and the hefty layer of foam in the soles do an excellent job of cancelling out vibrations and pedal pins.

Much like the clipless variant of the VXi reviewed last week, the fit of these shoes is quite comfortable, with plenty of width in the toe box, and a decent amount of support through the midsole. Those with fairly arched feet may want to consider swapping out the insoles, as the included ones are quite flat and may not provide enough support. As always with personal gear, try before you buy.

So the Impact VXis are light and don’t stay soggy for long, but what about the things that made the original so popular: the grip and durability? To put the shoes through their paces I rode as much rough terrain as I could on several different sets of pedals, while picking the chunkiest lines in an attempt to get bucked off my bike. During this time I managed to break a spoke, puncture several times, and give myself a wicked hand cramp, but the Impact VXis clung to my pedals the same way Toronto Maple Leafs fans cling to the Stanley Cup dream. As for the durability, I’ve yet to see a stitch out of place on the shoes, and the soles (despite the abuse) are holding up nicely. If you do manage to destroy the bottoms of the shoes before the rest has worn out, Five Ten also sells resole kits to keep your shoes gripping and ripping for a while longer.

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The infamous Stealth Rubber, seen here in the Mi6 iteration. It remains as clingy as a terrified toddler.

The Impact VXi shoes take a big leap forward over their brethren in the weight and water retention departments, while still maintaining the family values of grip and durability. Colourways include the stealth black seen here, or a blue/yellow combination for those who desire more hue in their shoe. MSRP is $150 US, and can be found at most local retailers around the $170 CAD mark.  If your old kicks are getting a bit long in the tooth and parting at the seams, I highly suggest giving the Impact VXis a close look.


A worthy successor to the Impacts of yore, could you see a pair of VXi kicks in your future?

  • Spencer

    I purchased a pair of the new 5-10 XVi and after a month, I consider them a mixed bag. On one hand the new tech is great. They are light, dry easy and the sole is stiff where you want it on pedal contact and flexible in the toe box for walking comfort. Unfortunately for the price point, I think the new 5-10 XVI misses the mark of being a flagship flat pedal shoe. Despite the fact that I have wide feet, the toe box is so full that the shoes feel clumsy on my feet and effect response when riding. The Impact XVi has very little arch support for a tech savy shoe. For a $150 shoe I would expect a better insole. Even though I live in the PNW where the temperature is quite temperate, breathability has been an issue during summertime riding. I find that the new Freerider XVi to outshine it in these departments at a lower price point and shares the improved sole stiffness/flex. I am saving the Impact XVi for fall/ winter riding when the quick dry will be a bigger plus and I will add a set of Superfeet liners.

  • megrim

    I went to MEC the other day to pick a new set of flat pedal shoes. I have used the Impact’s for about 10 years and I have always loved them. I went to try on the new VXi and I was blown away at how much lighter they were. But they also seemed to fit a lot differently; it felt like there was much more room in the room compared to the Impact of the same size. It also felt like the sole was much more flexible than the Impacts. I ended up buying another set of Impacts mostly because the sole was stiffer. The faster drying times on the shoes didn’t really matter to me (garage + heat = dry shoes…).

    Mike

  • http://www.jerrywillows.ca Jerry Willows

    I like the fact that they aren’t as stiff as the impacts. Best flat pedal shoe I’ve owned by a long shot.

  • Guest

    Too bad they remind me of my grandma’s walking shoe…

  • Monica McCosh

    Too bad they remind me of a geriatric shoe…

  • Heathen

    Why on gods green earth would they make them more flexable??????
    Why not aggressive tread to the front to help off bike climbing

  • chad bono

    $50 more expensive… 50x less grippy.

    if pure grip is what youre going for, stay with original impact low, high, karver, etc