Advice: Five 10 low OR high top pro's and con's

Hi everyone,

I am sick of loosing grip on my Muni when doing DH and am also looking for a pair of shoes i can use on my 36er and am going to purchase a pair of these highly recommended shoes. The only problem is that i don’t know whether to go for the high or low models.

I pretty much ride equal amounts Muni and 36er and wonder if i get the high tops, will the extra ankle support that is good for Muni be a nuisance for commuting? The same goes for the weight of the shoe. I know KH uses the high tops for DH but wonder if anyone has experience using them for commuting/touring. Is the low version a better all rounder?

They are not cheap ($170AUS) so i want to make the right decision. Cheers guys,



I used to do muni, and always wore hightops for that. I also used to ride the 36" 30+ miles at a time with hightops, and they never bothered me a bit.

I do trials now, and use lowtops(cause its really my best pair, my hightops are completely worn now) and bash my ankle a lot with the pedal during failed hops…and wind up in a lot of pain that wouldve otherwise been prevented by hightops. ill be switching to hightops as soon as this pair i like goes on clearance (i work at adidas haha).

i havent had experience with these particular shoes, but with hightops in general i have, and i think you should just get the high tops. plus theres the additional ankle support.

another thing, downhill muni you always have that potential for your foot sliding forward off the pedal, falling backwards and getting a pedal bite on the back of your legs/back of your ankle…so itd be best to have as much as that covered up as possible.

I love my 5-10s. I have the low kind, but I’ve never worn high-tops for anything so I can’t say one is better than the other. You’re definitely picking the right brand though. They’re great for the trails (grippy) and great for road (stiff sole). But for Freestyle I’ll go back to the old turf shoes. I’m sure the 5-10s would work for that, but the feel is so different I’d have to learn to get used to them compared to the soft-soled turf shoes I used to use.

The more i think about it the more i’m leaning towards the low model. In all my years riding my globe skate shoes for muni i have never really had any issues with my ankles. But then again, having the extra support might have me tackling more grarly terrain…

I think that the extra material and weight of the high’s would slow down my 36er speeds. If they were just for muni i would go the high, but because i want to make them versatile i am leaning towards the low. I guess an option is to get the highs and just search for some cheap shoes for commuting where that need for grip is not so critical. Or do you think once i’m used to the grip from those soles i will be unhappy with my cheap commuting option?

any thoughts?


Hi Mark I got me some high tops for christmas and although they are great uni shoes their a bit hot to wear in our summer.In these cooler months I’ve been giving them a good workout.One minor thing is the thickness on the ankle on the high forces me to place my feet a bit wider on the pedals to stop clipping the cranks.


I am considering the high top version too. But because of the high price I would like to ask a couple more questions about them before buying:

Is anybody here riding them on a guni? How about ease of moving the foot back on the pedal for shifting? Does the wide ankle bit lead to more accidental shifting?

Also I’m wondering if things like gliding and wheel-walking are a good idea with these shoes and how long the soles would last then…

I’m on my second pair of Impact Hi-tops. I like having ankle-bone protection, and haven’t found it a problem for cokering - it’s not really ankle support, it’s just padding over the bone (you can still flex your ankle perfectly well). They are very expensive (about £80 in the UK) but my first pair lasted me three years of use for all unicycling, so it’s not really that bad. The new ones have silly ribbon loops instead of proper lace holes, which I can see snapping at some point, but there’s plenty of leather there to punch holes in if needed. The only other downside for me is that they take absolutely ages to dry when they get wet, but I can put up with that.


I say go for the hightops. That extra ankle support/proctection goes a long way. Don’t have these shoes, but I wear hightops for my street, trials, and little bit of muni that I ride.
Only problem I see with hightops is that you sweat a bit more (its worth the extra sweat for sure).

Definitely trade sweat for blood.

Don’t get either! The Impact shoes have nice sticky soles, but they are heavy, bulky, and hot! The heels are very wide, so much so that you’ll ride either partly off the pedal or with your heels splayed out! I retired mine a few weeks ago and got these: Five Ten Freeride

They are just as sticky, I get more “feel”, still plenty of support, just a tad rommier in the toe box, way cooler, lighter weight, and the sole contact is better. If you are going to use your shoes for street/touring also, then this is a great choice!

I’ll just add again that high tops don’t really add any support to your ankle. Padding yes, but if you’re going to land funny and twist your ankle, high tops probably won’t make a difference.

But there’s a lot to be said for padding if you tend to gouge up your ankles. I’ve been lucky in that area and never did it much after my first few years of riding…

I’d agree with most of that, but none of it is really a problem for me - the good points outweigh the bad.

They are very wide (they look ridiculous without pads IMO - unless you’re into gold chains and shouting “yo” a lot), but that doesn’t seem to bother me when riding. If they offered a narrower version of the same design I’d certainly go for that though. I use straight (“no Q”) cranks on the coker and don’t have a problem with heel hitting personally.

They are quite warm, but not compared with the walking-boot type things I used to wear for muni. If you live somewhere really hot it would be more of a factor in your choice.

As for the weight, I think they’re quite light for a strong pair of boots - but obviously heavier than a pair of skate shoes.


Hey Rob, that’s the whole point of why I posted about the Freerides, they are a narrower version of the same design, all the benefits of the Imapcts without the weight, width, and heat factor.

I have a beautiful pair of Same Hill Impact II’s in the closet, they haven’t been worn since I got the Freerides, I doubt they’ll get any more use since the Freeride is so much nicer to wear.

I think the only reason I’d pick the Impacts over the Freerides would be if I were into the “big armor downhill look”.

As to ankle protection, high tops will keep you from getting a seat “karate chop” to the ankle, but you could get the same protection from a good set of pads or some ankle pads (soccer type).

If you want the best of all worlds: ankle stiffener, ankle protection, cool wearing, lightweight, and sticky soled, I’d get the Freeride, then add some lace up ankle braces.

This is absolutely true. The padding can be handy, but there’s no real ankle support - I’ve had (very) bad ankle injuries while wearing the 5.10 Hi-tops.

Advantage for the high version: a couple more eyelets to lace up make the shoe better attached to your feet, with maybe less foot-in-shoe movement.

I have two pairs of them and never ride anything without them. I’ve ridden in nothing else for years, incuding tons of muni, and tons of road, incl. RTL.

I’d have low-tops for my spare pair, but they were more expensive at the time. Gonna google me up some of these Five Ten Freerides!

Edit: Wow - anyone have size 7.5 feet? $42!

Best reg. price for Five.Ten?

Hmm don’t see how that is accurate TBH, riding with the heels splayed out? The heel is narrower vs the front of the shoe, on my pair at least :wink:

Fwiw, I’ve had the lows (Sam Hills) for just on a year now and love em, great for XC, MUni with a bit of road riding thrown in. Doesn’t feel right riding with anything else on my feet.

A couple of months ago I was in a bike shop and tried on a pair of a pair of high tops, they felt too bulky and enclosed to me compared to the Low’s but each to their own.

The Freeride does look like a groovy shoe. Will be interesting to see if it’s as robust as the Sam Hills etc which have taken a beating over the last year and are still in great condition.

ok so i got paid the other day and decided to hunt down a pair of 5.10 low shoes to buy. I ended up getting the sam hill version in a funky white and green design for $180 from a local bike shop. Just went for a quick ride to wear them in and i am really impressed. It was wet and my feet did not move on my pedals (Odessy jim c’s) one bit. They are also a bit lighter than my old globe skate shoes which was a surprise.

When you think about it, paying that much for shoes but then not having to get new pedals makes getting intense amounts of grip quite affordable! I can’t wait to tomorrow and i will give them a more comprehensive workout.



I got myself a pair of low impact karvers the other day. They are absolutely amazing.
As you said, the grip is incredible even on the twisted pc pedals in muddy conditions.
The side facing the cranks has some extra padding that even covers the ankles, so hitting your ankles on the cranks would be painless.
And they have a velcro attached flap to cover the laces to keep them safe.
Did I mention they look pretty cool too? Highly recommended!

I just got a pair of 5.10 impact Hightop, I love them for Muni, because I have a torker, my ankles were starting to die. Then I got my new shoes, and I did hurt my ankles at all, I didn’t tryed them for Coker yet, it’s always raining here:(. They are so grippy! And for gliding I use my old Circa skate shoes because I dont know if I will kill my 5.10 or not, I just dont want to make a big flat spot under my new shoes. Anyway, They are awsome, no more ankle bite for me!:slight_smile:

Here are a few observations about how the shoes handled on my latest Muni ride for those that are interested:

  • nice snug fit around my feet with a roomy but stiff toe area
  • once you place your feet on your pinned pedals it is hard but not impossible to correct your foot orientation (after about the first 20min i had the new technique down) I guess this would be of some concern to riders with schlumpf hubs where you need to shift foot position to change gear. I honestly think that after a period of adjusting you would still be able to shift pretty easily despite the foot locking grip these shoes give you.
  • The soles on the shoes are really stiff. With my old skate shoes i used to have my pedals located closer underneath the arch of my foot instead of on the balls of them. With the 5.10’s though i felt secure and supported enough to ride with my feet more on their balls and still tackle rocky, drop filled sections without worrying about my ankles or feet.
  • Because of this i raised my seat a little and now climbs are noticeably easier on my leg muscles (get better pedal strokes) and the grip from the shoes into the pedals gives an awesome cranking upstroke. Today i climbed rock gardens that previously i had really struggled with.
    -I really felt locked into the pedals and were more confident in rocky DH sections of the trail- my muni really struggled to kick me off.
    -not only did i have fewer UPD’s but my overall speed felt slightly increased- probably the result in more confidence afforded by better grip.

Overall i rate the shoes highly and i think in many ways they justify the cost- better value than buying a set of kickass pedals and keeping the old skate shoes imo.

I’m just waiting now for my new thomson seat post to arrive to replace my twisting KH one and i will get more km’s in on these new shoes!