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A Return to S1 Stealth Rubber & Much More

Five Ten Impact Pro Shoe Review

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Apr 9, 2019

The Impact was the first mountain bike-specific shoe Five Ten released. They started making shoes with Intense branding for Chris Kovarik and a number of other lucky pinners but eventually that shoe was brought in-house. That early version wasn’t perfect though. Grip was spectacular, especially coming from the skate kicks often used at the time, but the rest of the shoe was akin to a sponge. After a wet day on the bike, it was often next to impossible to dry them out before the next ride, despite loading them up with newspaper. They also soaked up weight, and their dry mass was porky already.

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As Five Ten's most protective riding shoes, I was surprised these don't come with raised ankle coverage. Perforations on the inside and over the toes, along with a heavy-duty mesh on the outside of the shoe, provide some airflow.

Despite their limitations, I always found the sole and pedal feel of the first version close to perfect. My first pair of Impacts were high tops. They lasted a couple of years before pin holes formed in the S1 rubber sole. They were retired when they began letting in too much trail debris. Being so happy with the original shoe—despite their sponge-like characteristics—I replaced them with the second version. They didn't lose much weight and still took ages to dry, but they were more water resistant and the great S1 rubber sole carried over. Unfortunately, they'd become quite bulky and the sole lacked the pedal feel of the original. After reviewing some other shoes I ditched them entirely despite longing for the grip offered by their magical rubber.

Now more than 13 years since the first Five Ten Impact, the latest version sets out to improve protection, grip, feel, and water resistance.

Features:

  • Abrasion-resistant, fast drying synthetic upper
  • Reinforced toe cap (with Poron XRD Foam)
  • Compression-molded PU midsole
  • Stealth S1 Rubber outsole
  • “Multi-dotty” sole pattern
  • Weight: 493g (claimed)
  • MSRP: 160 USD
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Five Ten is still at the top of the list when it comes to all out pedal grip. Also note the heavy-duty mesh beneath the label, providing some room to breathe.

The Impact VXi, which preceded this version, featured improved pedal feel but used a foam midsole and Mi6 rubber. Five Ten claims that to improve durability, they moved to a polyurethane midsole and went back to the classic S1 Stealth rubber outsole for this latest Impact Pro. The tread pattern has evolved as well with the front half of the sole incorporating smaller dots between the traditional discs. These changes were apparently made primarily to improve feel and edge control but also to help shed dirt and mud. The tread variety continues at the heal and toe, improving hiking traction.

Pedal feel has improved greatly since the second version and while they’re not as sensitive as the Freerider Pro, they’re close, while providing more support and protection. In fact there was good pedal feel straight out of the box. As with most new shoes though, they were on the clunky side during the first few rides, but they’ve been great since.


These are bulkier than the Freerider Pro, or any of the other shoes I’ve been riding in the last 12–18 months, but smacking my toes wearing the Impact Pros left me undeterred and uninjured. The generous toe box width adds to the bulky sensation for someone with an average width foot. After breaking several toes in lighter, less sturdy shoes, I’ll happily take that minor bulk.

Having a more positive feel combined with the sticky S1 Stealth rubber has resulted in an easier reposition than the past Impacts. Don’t get me wrong, these are still sticky enough that riders who prefer being able to easily hift their feet around should look elsewhere. For those who like to feel locked in, the Impact Pro provides a more positive feel, making it easier to know where you're positioned on the pedal.


Balancing feel, grip, and durability isn't easy but the updated Impacts show Five Ten has gotten mighty close. The pedal feel gets close to the Freerider Pros I am most fond of, while providing far more protection. The sole is stiffer than the Freeriders too and while I typically don't get on with stiff shoes, these strike a great balance, providing ample support for longer days riding while still allowing the rider to feel what's happening. Take a bow Five Ten.

Five Ten claims these more water resistant Impacts dry quicker than predecessors but I haven’t had a full soaking yet. Regular rain and showers did little to penetrate though and they dried in time for action the following day. The material is also proving to be very durable and despite all of the abuse these have received, the uppers show little wear. The tradeoff comes in hot, steamy weather and the lack of a mesh toe-piece compromises air flow. If only we could have the moon on a stick.

Verdict

I've beaten on these for the last four months. They've seen everything from cold and wet to hot and dry, and I have to say I’m really pleased with the updates. They’re proving more durable than their predecessors and despite testing some new pedals with (very) large pins, show minimal wear in the sole. The uppers have remained solid and the entire shoe continues to provide excellent support, despite multiple full day hikes throughout Asia. It appears the move back to the S1 Stealth Rubber and inclusion of a PU midsole has done wonders for performance during long days in the saddle.

The high level of traction won't be for everyone and the Impact Pros remain planted, even through the rowdiest of chunk and have shrugged off everything thrown their direction.

The new Impact Pro is a winner for any aggressive flat pedal rider who won't compromise grip.

Head to the website for more on the Five Ten Impact Pro.

Comments

GiveitsomeWelly
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Karl Fitzpatrick  - April 9, 2019, 2:21 a.m.

I'm tossing up between these and the new Ride Concepts for my next pair of kicks. I've had three pairs of Impact Lows in the last 10 years and always loved them apart from their insane ability to hold water. 

I've never liked the light weight look of Freeriders and the support from the stiffer Impact sole is always gonna be easier on my feet. #hardtail4lyfe

God damn love the reviews on this site. You may have tipped my decision over. Cheers AJ!

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - April 9, 2019, 6:37 a.m.

I'll try a pair of the Ride Concepts shoes, but I am waiting for half-sizes to be available.

Reply

RBWebb
0
RBWebb  - April 9, 2019, 9:39 a.m.

Bought a pair of Hellions about a month ago.  I wear a 10.5 in Freerider Pros, but the Ride Concepts 11 was perfect.  If you follow their Euro sizing, it’s spot on.  

Still breaking down the rubber and the uppers, but so far absolutely love them.  Pretty firm shoe if that’s what you dig.....

Just my 2 cents!!

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Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - April 11, 2019, 7:44 a.m.

Thanks. The main thing stopping me from jumping on the RCs is the fact I know I can order 5.10s and get a shoe that fits well 100% of the time. The first pair of RCs will be a gamble. OTOH once I am past the first pair [assuming I like them] it would be smooth sailing afterwards.

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RBWebb
0
RBWebb  - April 11, 2019, 10:42 a.m.

Agreed. It was a HUGE gamble that actually worked out.....  And it’s cool supporting a start up that’s taking on 5.10!!  :)

Reply

Vikb
+2 Tremeer023 Cam McRae
Vik Banerjee  - April 9, 2019, 7:29 a.m.

FWIW - I have a pair of the 2009 Impact Lows that saw a few years of use before I moved to lighter/less bulky Freeriders. I pulled them down off the shelf and just started wearing them as day to day shoes to use them up. Super comfy for all day wear pounding around on hard surfaces and unlike newer 5.10s no issues with the shoes just falling apart on me.

Reports over at MTBR say the new version of the Impact Lows are a pale comparison to this 2009 model in build quality. Too bad as they were the shoe that got me hooked on 5.10 and flat pedals after decades clipped in.

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Tremeer023
0
Tremeer023  - April 9, 2019, 12:56 p.m.

I've recently retired my old Impact Lows in favour of something lighter (Etnies mid crank) for the more mellow riding I do these days.  Still use the Impacts for winter walks with the family though and agree they make a very comfy cold weather walking shoe.  

The updated version looks much better, and totally agree that the old ones were massively heavy when soaked.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - April 9, 2019, 7:39 a.m.

these are a bit of a quirky fit, at least for my feet. even in the right size, they are a tad short. the next size up is too sloppy. too bad as i think they would be the perfect high protection flat shoe. i like the utilitarian look.

Reply

THELEGENDMTB
+1 Cam McRae
THELEGENDMTB  - April 9, 2019, 9:13 a.m.

Ten years since the first Five Ten Impact??? Oh AJ how young you must be to think that the Impact only came out 10 years ago, try closer to 16-17 years ago. I know because I bought my first pair around the same time I bought my 2003 Big Hit Expert. They were this ugly yellow/grey thing (https://ep1.pinkbike.org/p3pb650579/p3pb650579.jpg), but man were they awesome.  Also this https://www.pinkbike.com/news/article2443.html

FWIW, I will attest that the water resistance is amazing with the Impact Pro, having worn them through several very rainy days, many of them commuting, here in Seattle they are indeed quite water resistant. Still always good to pair with a nice waterproof sock for reassurance, but awesome none the less. Great shoes.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 9, 2019, 3:06 p.m.

A total miscalculation on my part, LEGENDMTB. In preparation for this I checked when Kovarik was wearing the Intense version and when he, Hill and Rennie began wearing Five Ten branded version and came up with 2001 for the Intense, 2005 for Five Ten. So it's more like 18-ish years for the Intense (which is what is pictured in your image link) and 13, coming up on 14 years for the Five Ten Impact. Not sure why I settled on ten years… My apologies for the error!

While checking the facts I came across this good piece outlining the history by none-other than Seb Kemp.

Reply

THELEGENDMTB
0
THELEGENDMTB  - April 9, 2019, 4:25 p.m.

AJ thanks for the history lesson, didn't know all that about Jeff & Intense, pretty darned cool. Sincerest apologies if I came in hot with my remarks, was not meant to be a diss, just trying to keep the timeline correct, which clearly I did not thanks for the lesson. 

Stay classy young whippersnapper. lol

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 9, 2019, 6:03 p.m.

Lol. No dramas LEGENDMTB. Without your remarks, I wouldn't have realized my math was off. Cheers!

Reply

Carmel
0
Carmel  - April 9, 2019, 9:24 a.m.

Is someone able to compare the sizing on these to the Adidas Trailcross? I have those in a US 12 (since Adidas usually runs small) and would like to know how the Five Ten compare. The Trailcross have a roomy toebox on my feet as well.

Currently torn between the Freerider Pro and Impact Pro, have the feeling the Impacts could have a really wide outersole at that size.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 9, 2019, 3:11 p.m.

I have a pair of the older Trail Cross Terrex shoes in a US 10.5. They're a tighter fit than these in the same size. The Impact Pro is a better fit where I should have bumped up to a US 11 for the Trail Cross. Hope that helps!

Reply

Carmel
0
Carmel  - April 11, 2019, 7:48 a.m.

Thanks for the info, I think I also have the older version (webbing instead of the eyelets). Is the internal length similar?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Carmel
AJ Barlas  - April 12, 2019, 4:54 p.m.

That sounds like the ones. I find the Terrex shorter in length and overall a snugger fit. I prefer the length of the Impact Pro and can walk or ride in them all day without any discomfort. The Terrex start to cause me some trouble in the comfort department after a few hours and that's with the thinnest socks I have.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - April 9, 2019, 1:44 p.m.

Not a bad looking shoe. I am a fan of lace covers though. But for drier weather those look worth looking into.

Reply

mightyted
0
mightyted  - April 9, 2019, 4:03 p.m.

I have these shoes and am quite pleased with them. I was out in a monsoon on sunday however and they get saturated but not too heavy even if the fit did loosen a bit.

Previously had the contacts from the previous model year and found the grip quite poor. Impacts are better for shore riding IMO and a better fit. I might dedicate my contacts for bad weather rides in the future.

Reply

Andeh
+1 AJ Barlas
Andeh  - April 9, 2019, 6:56 p.m.

As someone with flat feet, I like these much better than any other shoe I've tried.  SPD shoes are usually shaped for narrow ballerina feet.  Flats tend to be a bit wider in the midfoot.  What sets the Impact Pros apart from Freeriders for me is the midsole.  It's much better at dissipating repeated impacts (no pun intended), so my feet are significantly less sore after sustained descent.

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
0
Karl Fitzpatrick  - April 10, 2019, 12:05 a.m.

This could be a mind thing. I remember asking some local flat pedal gurus about why my feet might be sore after sustained rough down hills and they said (which turned out to be true) that I was unconsciously curling my toes to impotently 'hold on' with my feet. The fix was, once I could feel my feet cramping up, to consciously curl my toes upwards almost exaggeratedly which stopped the pain immediately. My trust in dropped heels and impact lows became natural after a short time..

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