FiveTen Impact VXi Clipless

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I’ve tried a lot of pairs of clipless DH shoes that are on the market in my pursuit for that perfect pair that actually works for me. I’ve been trying to make the switch to clipless full time for the past 3 years now but after riding flats for 5 years it’s hard to find the right shoe that allows the cleat placement to be far enough back on the ball of my foot, along with actually having enough protect that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a flimsy pair of xc shoes. I know most flat pedal riders trying to make the change have had this same problem as your foot position on the pedal naturally floats towards back of the balls of your feet as you ride downhill. Now unless you learned how to ride downhill on clips, this can cause a lot of aching and for me cramping in my calves on longer descents. The cramping and aching goes away though as your muscles get used to new position but my biggest problem was cornering. Even though I was only at most 3 inches further forward on my foot I couldn’t slash corners as hard or ride as confidently either. It basically felt like I was riding my on tip toes the whole time down, while trying to wrestle that fact that my calves were cramping up, but on the plus side I was able to pedal better so I guess there was some pros. Anyways there’s a little background on my struggle with this whole clipsless fad, now onto why you all are reading this in the first place.

Whats New?

FiveTen developed this new shoe with Minnaar and integrated a bunch of new features since the old impacts definitely needed an upgrade.

  • Bigger strap over the laces to hide loose strings, I’m guessing they did this since the ones on the Hellcats broke from overuse
  • Lighter
  • Opened up the cavity where the cleat sits for ease of clipping in an to reduce the pack up of mud
  • Different material so the whole shoe drys quicker, this allows you to wash off you shoes with a hose and have them dry by the next day
  • Thinner width
  • Supposedly a different rubber compound on the soles of the shoe to cut down on vibrations from the pedal, though I haven’t noticed a difference
  • 25% more cleat adjustment, allowing the cleat to sit further back on the ball of the foot

Colors?

So far FiveTen just has the team black and the Minnaar special which is rasta colors. The team black also comes with spare red laces and the Minnaar comes with spare yellow laces.

Team Black

Team Black

Rasta/Minnaar

Rasta/Minnaar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weight

Earlier this year FiveTen came out with their new clipless downhill specific shoe. Before the VXi the FiveTen Hellcat was most riders go to shoe, and I personally used the Hellcats for part of a season as well. The Hellcats were pretty heavy, the cleat packet full of mud easily, and felt a bit like wearing a pair of clogs. First thing I noticed with the new VXi’s was the weight difference, those things are lighter than a normal pair of Impacts or the old freeriders even with a cleat on. It’s pretty nice too that FiveTen added a hard plastic molding around the toe area to protect your toes from slamming into a stump or root. The plastic modeling isn’t enough to save your toes from going head on with a stump at 30mph but it’s enough that those little stubbed toes on the trail are a thing of the past.

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VXi’s on the left compared to the Hellcats on the right.

The Fit

First of all I highly suggest going and trying on a few different sizes of this shoe before buying one. The sizes run a little bit smaller than most of past Impacts, and Hellcats. All of my FiveTen’s are size 11 and I got the VXi’s in 11 and they’re slightly too big for me, I wish I would have gotten a size 10.5 or maybe even a 10. Once you’ve got the right size you’ll notice these FiveTen’s are a lot thinner width wise, but they still kept the area around the cleat wide enough that your able to spread the pressure of your feet out evenly over the pedal. This thinner width is pretty nice for pedaling I’ve found that I’m not rubbing my shoe on the crank arm as much as I was with the Hellcats and again, they don’t feel like clogs.

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Cleat Placement 

With the VXi’s the cleat doesn’t feel like its sitting in a cavity, it feels mores like it’s flush with the rest of the bottom of the shoe. I know I always had a hard time clipping in on the fly with the Hellcats because you had to be so precise with your foot placement to clip in. With the VXi you kinda just stop your foot on the pedal and your clipped in. The biggest draw for me though with these new shoes was the 25% further back you could move the cleat, which is the problem I’ve had with all the other shoes. I’ve got he cleats slammed as far back as they’ll go and it’s almost at the same point as where I ride with flats. It would be nice if they could move like 5 more centimeters back, but it’s been close enough that I’ve gotten used to it and can corner confidently with them. I’ve only ran the VXi’s with Crankbros pedals so far, and haven’t tried them with Shimano’s yet but I’ve found that not running the little black plastic plate under your cleat helps a lot with reducing the amount of float you feel on the pedal. Not sure if the Shimano cleats come with that little plastic plate as well but it definitely made a big difference for me.

 

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On the left is the new VXi and on the right is the Hellcat

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The Verdict

So here’s my two cents on the new VXi’s. First of all they’re my favorite clipless shoe I’ve owned so far, they’re not perfect I still wish the cleat placement was a bit further back and that I hadn’t gotten the wrong size, but that was my own doing. The VXi’s also are definitely one of the easiest shoes to clip in with and I like the thinner more running shoe like feel they have to them. The ability to hose them off after a ride and have them dry is also a plus, I’ve only done it once and they were good to go the morning after. The bigger tongue flap thing is cool too, I’m actually able to hide all the loose ends from my laces in there keeping everything neat and tidy. One con to these shoes that I’ve found is how hot they can feel, they don’t seem to be very breathable which is fine for the winter but come summer your feet start to feel like they’re baking on some of the longer day rides. Also hiking in these shoes is a bit of a pain, the hellcats were a little more comfortable for the pushes. All and all I think FiveTen did a really good job with the VXi’s and is an option to consider especially for flat pedal riders looking to make the switch over to clipless.



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