by Matt Letch
July 6, 2012
I have to be honest here and say that I must have been one of the few mountain bikers in the world that didn’t really like Five Ten shoes when they were first available to us. Although I loved the grip, I could never really tell what my feet were doing and couldn’t really get […]
I have to be honest here and say that I must have been one of the few mountain bikers in the world that didn’t really like Five Ten shoes when they were first available to us. Although I loved the grip, I could never really tell what my feet were doing and couldn’t really get on with the bulk of the uppers. The shoe fiend in me didn’t particularly like the 90’s Techno Raver look, either.
Then I got these to test. One sign of how much I like them is how worn out they’re looking; that, and the fact that they have that perma-smell of slight mould from never drying out completely between wearings.
So these are the Spitfire Midis. Aesthetically they’re somewhere between a Vans Chukka and a Halfcab skate shoe, with the tops of the uppers sitting just on the centre of your ankle bone. No fancy covers or Velcro; just laces to tighten them up, very little detailing, a slightly reinforced ankle and an embossed “5” make up the upper. The soles are one-piece units, still made of Stealth rubber but more flexible, and with a dot pattern that easily locates pedal pins.
The reason I like these shoes so much is feel. I suspect they’re not as outright sticky as say, the Impact Low; but I know where my feet are and what they’re doing. They’re easier to adjust once you’re on the pedal and you can feel your foot arching over the axle, which for me makes a massive difference psychologically.
The downside of all of this is low levels of protection on the upper from rocks and trail debris. On longer rides I can get a bit crampy in my arches and they’re incredibly flat inside as well, so if you plan to do an eight-hour hike-a-bike (ahem), maybe go for something with a little more support.
Despite all that though, these are the shoes I’ve chosen to ride the most through the very long and wet winter/spring that we’ve had here over the last five months. If most of your riding is about fun over pedalling efficiency and you’re not doing ten-hour epics they may be just what you need.
Overall: Flat pedal footwear that’s sticky enough but not too sticky. Not without flaws, but I still like ‘em.