Five Ten’s original Impact shoes were famous for two things: phenomenal grip on flat pedals thanks to their sticky Stealth rubber sole – in fact, too much, according to some – and looks that, let’s just say, didn’t appeal to everyone.
In the intervening years, Five Ten have refined the Impacts and introduced a plethora of other bike-specific models, including clipless pedal shoes like the Minnaar and Hellcat. With the new Barons we think they may have finally found the perfect balance of performance and aesthetics.
Okay, the red colour won’t appeal to all, but we like the styling and the shoe is much sleeker and lighter than the current Impact – 960g a pair vs 1,220g on our scales, both with a dusting of mud. In fact, it’s designed to slip into the line-up between the downhillers’ favourite and the less burly Freerider.
The Stealth Phantom sole isn’t quite as tenacious as the Impact’s Stealth S1 rubber so it’s easier to readjust your foot position after sketchy landings, but it’s still plenty sticky enough to give you that secure ‘glued to the bike’ feel.
There’s a stiff sole for efficient pedalling, a reinforced heel and toebox to ward off the knocks, and a wipe-clean upper. For rock garden strewn downhill runs we’ll stick with the super-grippy and more protective Impacts, but for all-round aggressive trail/all-mountain/light-downhill use the red Baron shoots the competition down in flames.