“Five Ten” is a name that has a personality all its own. Once you evoke that name, visions of your favorite rider doing the seemingly impossible run though your head… that, and the shoes he wears. Yes, Five Ten is a pretty well-known brand for extreme sports. With a firm foot hold in the climbing and freeride mountain bike markets, the new Freerider VXi Element mountain bike shoe builds on their history of excellence.
The new Freerider VXi Element mountain bike shoe is designed for extended wear, and is good for almost all weather conditions. The DWR (Durable Water Repellent)-treated uppers repel water, and the layer of PUR (polyurethane) foam insulation doubles as a wicking agent and toe warmer. Underneath, the VXi uses Mi6 Stealth rubber. This new compound of rubber has the ability to generate a high amount of friction over smooth surfaces, compared to other rubber.
The shoe features a new, lower-profile pattern, which is slick in the area around the ball of the foot, much like a racing tire. The toe and heel, on the other hand, use a familiar Stealth pattern. The reasoning is that the center section of the shoe allows for the pins of the pedal to dig in, giving you unprecedented amounts of grip when compared to a shoe with full tread.
The Freerider VXi Elements are sold in half-sizes from size 3-12, and then full sizes in 13,and 14.
Construction consists of a low-cut, lace-up shoe with a pretty solid heel cup. The shoe provides plenty of cushion on the sole for walking around, but they’re stiff enough to put some decent power down on the pedals.
Out on the Trail
Having used Five Ten mountain bike shoes extensively in the past, I had some high expectations for the VXi Elements. Out of the box, you can tell these are very sticky. I have worked with racing tires in the past that haven’t felt as sticky! I was half-expecting to need some kind of release agent to get these off the pedals.
As a flat pedal shoe is concerned, the soles worked superbly! They do, in fact, grip as if you were clipped in. I personally love the super-solid feel the VXi Elements provided. The sole had enough give to slightly curve over the pedal, but not to the point where I felt as if I was losing the pedaling platform: definitely a happy medium.
I have used these shoes in all weather conditions, even slick slimy clay mud. I gotta say, they did well, considering their near-slick appearance. But to be honest, they slipped like every other shoe in the wet stuff… but in general, they were great when it came time for some hike-a-bike.
I find myself trying hard not to use the Elements as an everyday shoe. I always worry about wearing out the soles unnecessarily, but so far, so good.
Over the course of my review, I am happy to say that not a stitch came loose on the uppers, despite rocks and roots trying their best to cause damage. Considering the fantastic performance and grip of the soles as well, if you’re looking for low-cut skate-style shoes for shredding on flat pedals in all weather conditions, be sure to check out the Freerider VXi Elements.
Many thanks to the folks at Five Ten for sending down the shoes for review!