by Gary Strang, PCI #1457
London (ON) Police Service
IPMBA Membership Coordinator
Several months ago, I was on the hunt for a new pair of department-compliant cycling shoes. I had never owned a pair from the “Five Ten” brand and thought I’d give them a try. These folks are on our IPMBA list of “friendly” suppliers that offer an excellent discount to IPMBA members. I had already heard that Five Ten shoes were top quality products specifically made for cyclists, so I needed to see for myself. I was impressed that they offered the elusive size 12.5. Many manufacturers only offer full sizes after size 12, which usually forces me to select between a tight size 12 and a loose size 13. I ordered these shoes in early spring to make sure I had them for our riding season. Up here in Canada we don’t get the full 12 months of riding that you southerners get, darn it, but what we do get, we fully enjoy.
It seems many manufacturers don’t offer shoes that you’d have a prayer of passing muster with your department’s senior staff. The endless colors and decorations just don’t fly with your local dress protocol, but I sure do like them. In this case, the Impact VXI is available in team black with an acceptable amount of red on them. They are suitable for any police department, at least up here in Canada. What I really like about these shoes is that they lace up extremely well, and then the clipless version has a wonderful and sturdy Velcro® strap that covers the lace-up and increases the closure of the shoe, making it as tight as you like. The Velcro® is top-quality and over the past months hasn’t shown any decline in grip. You don’t have to worry about laces getting caught in your drivetrain.
At first fit, these shoes were excellent. They fit like the proverbial glove and offered support. The soles are very grippy and comply with IPMBA’s new position on flat pedals. They can be used with clips or on flat pedals with pins. These shoes are offered without the clipless option, but you lose the Velcro® closure and, of course, the option of going “clipless”. Since I’m a roadie at heart, I like using clipless pedals. Or at least I’m used to them.
I did find the shoes stiff for the first few weeks, but then they broke in just as you’d expect. They’re easy to walk in but still offer great feel on the bike for good power transfer. I used the standard “SPD” style mountain bike clip from Shimano, and my only complaint is that when installed, this clip is virtually level with the soles of the shoe. I really wish they would embed the clip just a little more so that you don’t hear the famous clicking noise on tile. Or they could put just a little more thickness in the sole of the shoe. My solution was to grind a little metal off the SPD clip with a belt sander, which cured the problem. I took enough material off the clip so that the shoes are quiet but the clip still works fine. It was a small price to pay for having shoes that fit this well.
I’m a believer in the Five Ten Impact VXI shoes and would buy them again for sure. Knowing you can buy these with a substantial discount as an IPMBA member only adds to their appeal. If Five Ten would simply sink the clipless area just a little more, they’d be perfect in every way. If you ride without clips, this isn’t an issue, and you’ll just love the fit and performance of these shoes.
- Quality of material
- Fit and finish
- Super-comfortable to wear all day
- Lace and Velcro® closure
- Good price-value relationship
- Clipless version needs to have clip embedded more within the sole
Five Ten offers 40% off MSRP through the Product Purchase Program. Visit www.fiveten.com for more information about Five Ten footwear.
Gary is a 32-year veteran of the London Police Service in London, Ontario, and is currently in charge of the bike unit. He rides to work and has done so for the past 19 years, including during the winter months. On weekends he races on a road bike. His favorite quote is, “cycling never gets easier; you just go faster.” He was certified as an IPMBA Instructor in 2014 and is currently serving as membership coordinator on the IPMBA Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy Gary Strang.
(c) 2016 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of IPMBA News.