Okay, so I am a big fan of Five Ten riding shoes, and I just got a new set fresh off the boat, so I figured why not start a review thread for Five Ten shoes?
Impact II, Sam Hill version: http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/28-impact-low
This was my first riding shoe, having used Vans skate shoes up to this point, so after suffering through poor performance in wet conditions I sprung for a set of these I found on sale. The Impacts are quite a bit more shoe than Vans, the sole is stiff and bulky, uppers are thickly padded. The sole is far stickier, wet or dry, than a skate shoe. They are heavy and stiff, but you get used to to them after a while. They take a lot of abuse and last forever, though I did find the shape of the sole, esp where it’s contoured to the arch, to not have great pedal contact when riding with your foot centered on the pedal, they were still plenty sticky. I rode them for about a year, then passed them off to Knoxmuni. The Impacts are available in black, tan, low and mid, the newer version has a rasied ankle collar on the crank side to protect against ankle impacts. Lacing is “hidden” to protect against abrasion. There are related shoes that have an even more pronounced ankle padding and one has a velcro lace cover. All are built on the Impact platform. These are downhill MTB shoes, so don’t expect to “feel” the pedal. Think power and slam jammin, that’s the Impact.
>Fit is 1/2 size small, semi curved last, medium width.
I wanted a shoe that was lighter, more breathable, and more flexible than the Impacts, so I scoped some Freerides hot off the boat. The first pair started delaming at the rand after a few rides, so I sent them back. The second pair did the same, so I ended up using a razor knife to trim the rand back so the pedal pins wouldn’t tear at the rand; seemed to solve the problem. I really like this shoe, rode it 3x week in all conditions for 18mo, passed them off to my son yesteday. The only thing I did not like about the Freeride was that it got a bit soft and flexy in the sole over time. The flexibility might be nice for some styles of riding, but they became to soft to support my forefoot during hard muni. Note that there are a number of color styles within this model, my daughter has the black and white Freeride which appears to be the only style that has the improved sole without the rand problems and a more burly upper: http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/21-freerider-white-black
>Fit is true to size, semi curved last, medium width, cushy “skate” tongue.
I first saw the Baron in pics from the Outdoor Gear Retailer show in 2010. It was scheduled for release Jan 2011, but it was not available until this past week (April 2011); I ordered them Dec 2010 :o So, after waiting four months, my beautiful new Barons arrived yesterday. The Baron is billed as a tweener, more substantial than a Freeride, less burly that an Impact. My first impression is that they are closer to the Freeride, in fact they are very similar to my daughter’s black and white Freerides Okay, so now it’s time for a ride!
So, now I’m back, what can I say, they rock, great shoes, think Freeride with some burl and you’ve got the Baron. Sole is improved so no more delam, laces are protected like on the Impacts, upper is heavier duty, so it supports the foot, tongue is not super cushioned so it doesn’t have that “skate shoe” fit and look. Though I’d take a stiffer sole yet, these are certainly stiff enough for muni without being as bulky as the Impacts. My feet love the Baron, no more tired arches or aching big toes
>Fit is 1/2 size big, medium to wide width, high volume toe box, semi curved last, webbed tongue.
Freestyle = Freeride
Touring - Baron, Freeride
Muni = Baron, Impact
DH = Impact, Baron