Long term review: Five Ten Impact Low

Five Ten and their Impact Low flat pedal shoes need little introduction. They have been the benchmark flat pedal shoe since 2005, when the Impacts returned to the market. In the 9 years since then, they have expanded their line to include grippy sole shoes for just about any mountain bike application.
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The Impact Low features what Five Ten coins an action leather upper, mesh venting in the sides & tongue and their trade mark S1 Stealth Rubber sole. To eliminate heel lift, keep your feet secure in the shoe and eliminate hot spots & blistering they employ slingshot construction at the heel. All leather and mesh panels are double stitched, and the rubber parts are glued in place. Further proof of their attention to detail is the fact that the tongue is actually a half-tongue; meaning that it is only separate from the rest of the shoe on the outer side, the inner side being a continuation of the shoe, wrapping across the instep. This further helps to keep your feet in place while out on the bike. In addition, the soles feature a compression-molded polyurethane midsole to absorb vibration and impact to reduce fatigue.


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On the bike


The grip of the Stealth rubber sole is astonishing. So much so that I've found that I can use pedals with less grip or shorter, fewer pins. Paired with super grippy pedals it is almost impossible to move your feet around on the pedal and trails-slips are just about unheard of. You really have to experience it to fully understand just how much grip there is.

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The fit is spot on and they are extremely comfortable. I'm sure the mesh helps, but on summer days wearing these shoes can get hot. The heat has reached uncomfortably levels but they're definitely not breezy. The soles have just enough flex to give feedback through the pedals and to make hike-a-bike sessions comfortable, but are stiff enough not to hamper pedaling.

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The burly, abrasion-resistant leather upper offers decent protection. This does, however, come at the expense of weight and, as mentioned earlier, ventilation. I don't see this as a deal-breaker as Five Ten have other options available to suit those with these needs. If you're looking for a lighter version, go for their Impact VXi or Freerider. If it's more protection you're after try the Impact High and if you're after a more casual look the Dirtbag or Spitfire would be the way to go. 2015 will also see the launch of the clipless Kestrel complete with a BOA closure system and stiffer sole. The one thing you can be sure of regardless of the model you choose is all of them will provide excellent grip levels and quality. With the likes of Giro, Specialized, 661 and Shimano entering the market, it is good to see Five Ten are not resting on their laurels.


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Grip when it's wet and muddy seems even better than in the dry which aids confidence as you can focus on riding your bike and enjoying the trails. The Impacts do get heavy when riding in the rain due to the tongue and sides retaining water. It is easy to squeeze it out and they dry out fairly quickly, but it is something worth considering.

Verdict


I have had my pair since 2009 and they have only recently started to show signs of wear with some of the glued parts loosening. Nothing that a bit of super glue can't fix though.

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Comparison of Five Ten's Spitfire, Impact VXi and Impact Low (from top to bottom).

When I bought my Impact Lows, I did so after months of reading reviews and wondering whether the investment would be worth it. Considering how long they've lasted and the fact that they should last another year or two, the cost was more than worth it. They have never let me down and not once did I have to battle trail-side with a fancy closure system that bombed on me.

Product Specs


Action leather upper for lightweight, all-season durability.
Light and cushioned PU midsole.
Barrel lace-up closure.
Redefined patterns on the collar and Raptor tongue.
Slingshot construction on the heel locks the foot down for a comfortable and secure fit.
Reflective silver accents.
Stealth® S1 rubber outsole technology for friction and durability.
Available in sizes 7-13 and run pretty true to fit.
Weight 510.29g (Claimed for Size 9)






187 Comments

Steven Knoetze (sk27), Nov 17 2014 07:21

I have the same shoe, been almost a year and they wear really well.
Have heard of people using them for 5 years and thought they were full of it but I believe it now.
Best cycling money I have ever spent!!

DieBees, Nov 17 2014 07:23

Where do I get a pair?

Iwan Kemp, Nov 17 2014 07:31

Where do I get a pair?

 

http://dialdbikes.co.za/fiveten.html

SimpleDom, Nov 17 2014 07:35

The Five Ten Hellcat takes a cleat. Amazing! I have to get some.

marko35s, Nov 17 2014 09:31

Where do I get a pair?

In Capetown Trail & Tar stock them

GlennH, Nov 17 2014 10:48

Ive had a pair since Jan this year. Combined with Crank Bro's 50/50/3 pedals they stick like glue. Been through hell and back with them and they still looking good. They also grip well when you have those few moments when you have to get off the bike and push. Got mine from www.mountainmailorder.co.za really good service from them.

LazyEnduroRider, Nov 17 2014 12:01

Have heard of people using them for 5 years and thought they were full of it but I believe it now.

 

I've had a pair of Spez BG Sports for 7 years, and had a pair of Answer Accelerators for 10 years before that, both without issue. 

 

Waiting for my 2FOs, they're definitely *much* prettier than the Impact Lows ;)

Steven Knoetze (sk27), Nov 17 2014 12:03

Ive had a pair since Jan this year. Combined with Crank Bro's 50/50/3 pedals they stick like glue. Been through hell and back with them and they still looking good. They also grip well when you have those few moments when you have to get off the bike and push. Got mine from www.mountainmailorder.co.za really good service from them.

+1 on mountainmailorder.co.za, got mine there too and a little discount too.

DeFconOK, Nov 17 2014 04:22

Got a pair of Impact VXi's a couple months back, they're so grippy that they have stripped all the paint off my cranks, took like ten rides. Otherwise they are amazing

Edge540, Nov 17 2014 04:42

In Capetown Trail & Tar stock them

Got mine there with a 20% discount. Good price and awesome shoes

Omega Man, Nov 17 2014 04:49

I've had a pair for 5 years. The sole needs to be glued but that's about it. I've done 4 Alps trips and countless build days in them too. Some riding too.

 

I've also got a pair of the new ones and they are lighter but also have questionable styling.

 

The funny thing is I think they actually get better as they get older. When they're brand new they are almost too grippy and you can't move your foot around on the pedal.

trail - er - park, Nov 17 2014 05:27

Had my Impact Lows for about a year now and they are worth every cent. Been using them with Spank Spikes and Nukeproof Neutrons and they are brilliant in ALL conditions.

In my experience the trade-offs from SPDs in terms of power are negligible; yet the benefits they have in real-world conditions are significant.

When you try them you will be convinced after the 1st ride.

lesego.2, Nov 17 2014 08:03

A must have!

Iwan Kemp, Nov 19 2014 01:48

Great to see so many happy users. 

Hairy, Nov 19 2014 02:09

This has my interest in a big way.

 

Been keen to give the flat pedal thing a proper spin, my SPD shoes are close to duying and they are around the same price as the 5:10's .... so might take the leap.

 

Should maybe just slap a pair of flats on my bike first and try it out with my H-Tec trail running shoes with Viram soles first to see how things work.

 

It is really a big investment moving over to flats if you are running SPD's already.

Iwan Kemp, Nov 19 2014 02:17

Should maybe just slap a pair of flats on my bike first and try it out with my H-Tec trail running shoes with Viram soles first to see how things work.

 

DO NOT do that. I used my trail Solomans for a ride when I forgot my 5.10's at home. I remember thinking "how bad could it be?". Sheet in your pants all over your bike bad is how it could be.

 

When you're used to flats that GRIP there is no going back to riding with tekkies or whatever you have lying around the house. Definitely not out on the trails.

 

A lof of people ride in their running / tennis tekkies on cheap, plastic flats and then complain or comment that their feet slip off the whole time and they have no confidence...no kidding!

 

It's not the same. It never is. 

rudi-h, Nov 19 2014 02:39

So how much difference between impact low's and freeriders? I bought freeriders cause i preferred what they look like... any meaningful differences?

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Nov 19 2014 02:42

So how much difference between impact low's and freeriders? I bought freeriders cause i preferred what they look like... any meaningful differences?

Nope. Same rubber, different insole & upper. The Impact Lows have slightly more protection around the edges (toe box / sides etc) and a slightly higher heel box, but the grip should be pretty much the same. 

 

The only thing they may differ in is stiffness - I think the IL's are sliiiightly stiffer than the Freeriders. 

Thermophage, Nov 19 2014 02:44

DO NOT do that. I used my trail Solomans for a ride when I forgot my 5.10's at home. I remember thinking "how bad could it be?". Sheet in your pants all over your bike bad is how it could be.

 

When you're used to flats that GRIP there is no going back to riding with tekkies or whatever you have lying around the house. Definitely not out on the trails.

 

A lof of people ride in their running / tennis tekkies on cheap, plastic flats and then complain or comment that their feet slip off the whole time and they have no confidence...no kidding!

 

It's not the same. It never is. 

I dunno...I rope in my Salomons for a long time on my DMR V8's and currently ride in my Montrails ...both trail runners and very sledom loose a foot off of a pedal. Sure the 5.10's would be better, but these I had so why replace when I have little issue with them :)

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Nov 19 2014 02:45

I dunno...I rope in my Salomons for a long time on my DMR V8's and currently ride in my Montrails ...both trail runners and very sledom loose a foot off of a pedal. Sure the 5.10's would be better, but these I had so why replace when I have little issue with them :)

You'd be surprised... Really, you would be... 

Thermophage, Nov 19 2014 02:47

You'd be surprised... Really, you would be... 

At what...loosing a foot off of a pedal 1 in 15 rides as opposed to 1 in 10? I am sure they are much better, but at this point I have much better things to spend my cash on...Like a dropper :P 

Maybe my body has just grown accustomed to riding my trail runners to the point where it doesn't really make much diff anymore  :thumbup:

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Nov 19 2014 02:50

At what...loosing a foot off of a pedal 1 in 15 rides as opposed to 1 in 10? I am sure they are much better, but at this point I have much better things to spend my cash on...Like a dropper :P

Maybe my body has just grown accustomed to riding my trail runners to the point where it doesn't really make much diff anymore  :thumbup:

Not only that, but also stiffness, longevity, resistance to wear on the pins, and just plain traction on the pedals. Trail running shoes pale in comparison... 

Thermophage, Nov 19 2014 02:52

Not only that, but also stiffness, longevity, resistance to wear on the pins, and just plain traction on the pedals. Trail running shoes pale in comparison... 

That's not the point. I don't disagree with the fact that they make better shoes.

I disagree with the suggestion of going to buy 5.10's when you have trail runners already which work more than well enough for the purpose.

Sure, when they're worn out (yes that will be soon) then get the real deal, but no need now

Odinson, Nov 19 2014 03:01

Damn! Those shoes look like something Avril Lavigne wore in 2003.

 

 

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Nov 19 2014 03:03

That's not the point. I don't disagree with the fact that they make better shoes.

I disagree with the suggestion of going to buy 5.10's when you have trail runners already which work more than well enough for the purpose.

Sure, when they're worn out (yes that will be soon) then get the real deal, but no need now

yeah, 100%

 

and yes, a dropper is important as well!