This is for all of you flat pedal riders out there!
Here I’ll take a closer look at two of the most popular mountain bike shoes ever – the Impact Low and the Freerider by FiveTen. This is a long-term review – I was riding each pair for countless hours over a few years and I’d like to share my experiences.
You will learn about the pros and cons of each shoe, its field of application and how it performs on the trail. By the end, you’ll know exactly which shoe is the right one for you.
The brand behind the shoe
Throughout the biking scene you’ll hardly find someone who doesn’t know the brand FiveTen. The legendary shoe makers are famous for their mountain bike shoes and for many other products outside of the cycling industry.
Durability, smart features and overall high quality are values the brand, which was founded in Germany, stands for.
When things are getting rough – the Impact Low
Let’s start with the Impact Low. This is a heavy-duty DH shoe with lots of protection and endless grip. It’s an all time favorite and one of the most popular flat pedal shoes within the downhill race circuit. Throughout it’s long long lifetime, the shoe received multiple revisions with the latest one called Impact Pro.
The shoe feels really sturdy due to the thick sole and the protection areas. Kind of like wearing safety boots on a construction site. At a weight of over two pounds for a pair, they are also quite heavy. Not the type of shoe you want to wear at the pub while enjoying a post-ride beer. But this is just not what these shoes are designed for. They are built to ride and to last.
The Impact performs well in all riding conditions and does a good job in preventing your feet from getting wet in muddy conditions. That being said, FiveTen’s high version of the shoe would even do a much better job.
The most impressive feature is FiveTen’s super grippy Stealth sole. It makes your feet stick to the pedal like superglue and slipping off seems impossible. This is pretty amazing. But to be fair, it can be a disadvantage when you have your feet placed on the pedal at an awkward angle.
Even though the pedal spikes really bore into the sole’s surface, it doesn’t seem to care.
In the first two years of extensive usage there was almost no wear!
I ended up using them at least 1-2 times a week for four years on long enduro tours and bikeparks laps until they finally gave up.
During the last year, the wear on the sole caused by pedal spikes increased up to the point where the whole material got ripped off in some spots. Water was leaking through and I was losing grip.
Considering the amount of miles I put on them, I’d call them super durable! This is a shoe where you can ride worry-free for a long time.
For every situation – the Freerider
The Freerider, on the other hand is an all-rounder and much more pub-friendly. It is still a bit stiffer and heavier than a regular skate shoe but feels pretty normal overall. I even use them off the bike regularly because I like the solid feeling. You can walk in them for a couple hours with no problem.
They offer more flexibility than the Impact does. Which makes them a much better choice for everyday trail riding as well for as ripping the crossbike or the dirtjumper.
My feet are sticking to the pedal almost as good as on the Impact, but I found the sole to be much less durable. It took me less than one and a half years to create the same kind of wear on the sole as on my Impacts.
To sum things up, both shoes are great products and have their specific type of use. I would recommend the Freerider over the Impact unless you are a full-on gravity racer.
The Freerider simply offers more comfort and flexibility while the downsides are only marginal. When it comes to pricing, they both sell for around 100 Dollars, depending on the shop you are looking at.
Like to hear more?
Make sure to check out Colin’s review of the FiveTen Greg Minaar Edition here!
Have you ridden a pair of FiveTen shoes before or thinking of getting one? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!