Well now that we are in a fresh new year it might be time to shed some light on what was under the tree in the Armstrong household this year.
First off was a pair of 5.10 Freerider Vxi shoes. Designed as all weather shoes, the uppers are synthetic leather that has been treated with a DWR coating making them extremely durable and water repellent. The mid sole has a foam insulation layer that has wicking properties and adds a bit of warmth on colder rides. Down on the sole we get into the nitty gritty with a new version of Stealth rubber that has an increased level of absorption & grip over previous versions.
The colour way is called Ocean Depths, and with liberal usage of blue and florescent green they aren't hard to find in my pile of riding shoes. The toe cap has a surrounding of reinforced material that has a carbon-like weave to it, and there is also a piece of it on the inside top of the toe. The same material is used around the heal extending to the mid foot on both sides to give some more lateral stiffness.
The fit of the body of the Freerider Vxi is a little wider than the Impact shoe, which is the only other model that I have owned from 5.10. While the Impact feels like your foot is incased within the shoe, the Freerider Vxi has a little more of a relaxed fit. Personally I prefer to have a very snug fit and I found hard to get them as tight as I wanted. I'm not sure if it is the placement of the eyelets, or the thick laces, but i would love to see it a little easier to get them all snugged up.
The sole really is extremely pliable. Even when it had been sitting in single digit ¬∫c temps I could easily dig into the rubber with my fingernail. Under the ball of your foot the sole is almost completely smooth giving you complete contact with your pedals. Under the heal and the very tip of the toes a traditional dot pattern is used to give you some traction while walking/climbing around.
Official weight comes in at 398 grams each for a size 9, and you can get them in almost every size you could ever dream of, as long as they are between 3-14 for americans and 2-13 if you live in the UK.
I have worn them while riding DH, bmx racing & out on the fat bike and they have performed well on all three of those bikes, but the only place that they stood out was when the weather was not sunny. It could be on the fat bike grinding up a snowy trail or in the bike park after a storm, being water resistant and having the warm insole really made a difference compared to other shoes I have.
A fantastic shoe for foul weather riding that keeps your feet dry and warm.
MSRP: $125 usd