By Jeff Britton, PCI #1205
Central Point (OR) Police Department
In February 2010, while attending the San Francisco Bike Expo, I met Luke Hontz, the rep for Five Ten. My experience with Five Ten started a couple of years ago when I went to Whistler for a downhill trip. I bought a pair of Five Ten Impacts and was impressed by how well my feet stayed on the pedals without being clipped in. When I returned from my vacation, I tried them on bike patrol. After using them for several months, I was sold. As the bike team supervisor and IPMBA Instructor, I made them part of our approved equipment.
Luke told me that Five Ten has designed a line of shoes for law enforcement and the military. I am always on the lookout for a good pair of shoes, so Luke agreed to send me a pair to try out. About three weeks later, I received a box from Five Ten containing a pair of Pursuit shoes, which are marketed for law enforcement.
The Pursuit shoe is a well-made, stealthy, black leather and suede rubber shoe. It is specifically made for military, special ops, SWAT, fire rescue and all other first responders. The Five Ten web site advises “the highly specialized Stealth® Phantom™ outsoles offer the highest friction available; the non-squeak, non-marking and rugged, protective non-reflective leather uppers make this the shoe of choice for the tactical market”.
I put the shoe on and immediately noticed that it is both comfortable and runs true to size. It is a great-looking shoe. I broke it in with my regular duty uniform and was satisfied with both its look and function – as a regular patrol shoe. I wore it the next day on bike patrol and discovered immediately that this shoe was not designed for bike riding.
I approached a person to contact and performed a dismount. As I was still moving and kicking down the rear mount kickstand, my laces got wrapped up in it. Luckily, I was able to get them unwrapped before I went down. This was not an auspicious beginning. The loose laces, coupled with the complete and utter lack of retro-reflective markings, spelled doom for the shoe’s bike patrol potential.
While we might consider the Pursuit for regular patrol, the Impact will remain the approved and assigned bike patrol shoe for our department.
Take a good look at the feet of many of the top downhill racers and you will probably notice that they wear Five Ten shoes. Five Ten got their start making climbing shoes, developing a high-friction, durable rubber compound dubbed “Stealth®”. Other athletes, including downhill racers, quickly realized that the extremely sticky Stealth® rubber soles grip flat pedals like glue. Honestly, this is like clipping in.
You have to make a genuine effort to pull your foot up off the pedal to move it. I had to adjust my toe straps at first and get used to putting my feet in and out of them all over again. Once I got used to the sticky soles, though, I was hooked. In fact, all eight of our bike team members are now wearing the Five Ten Impact shoe.
The Impact shoe is black with a retro-reflective logo and piping for great night visibility. It comes in both low- and high-top models, so if you have ankle problems or you like the extra protection, they got that covered. The tongue is designed so that you can tuck the laces down inside, out of the way. Neither I nor any of my officers have had any issues with the laces getting wrapped up in the chain ring, cranks, or kickstand. The shoe is very comfortable and runs true to size. The Stealth® rubber sole also wraps up around the sides of the shoe for protection and grip. The top of the toe has a rubber tip, which I have found keeps my toes a little drier and warmer during the cooler parts of the year. The shoe is also very comfortable for walking during those times you need to be off the bike.
The shoe has worn well and has not shown any signs of defects. It is available in US sizes 5-13, 14 and weighs 25.6 ounces. The cost is listed on the website as $124.95 for the low top and $134.95 for the high top. You can purchase them online at www.fiveten.com or use the website to locate a dealer. For more information, visit the website and select “Freeride” under footwear. The Pursuit can be found under “Enforcer”.
Jeff is a Lieutenant with the Central Point Police Department (OR). He has been a member of the bike patrol team since 2004 and a LEBA instructor since 2004. He was certified as an IPMBA Instructor in 2010. Jeff loves downhill and cross country riding in Southern Oregon and Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at or 541-210-7251 or email@example.com.
(c) 2012 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of IPMBA News.