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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
From the manufacturer
Perhaps the most talked-about shoe in bike history, the Impact is burly enough for the most hardcore riders, yet comfortable enough to wear around your local bike shop. Breathability is enhanced through the lateral mesh panel while the Slingshot construction at the heel locks the foot down for a secure and comfortable fit from heel to toe.