The Impact High have been part of Five Tens line up for quite a while now, acting as the burly DH shoe designed primarily for gravity focused riding. As the Impact High is expected to be retired soon we thought we'd review it now whilst it's still available rather than the longer term reviews we prefer.
The Impact Highs are... big. Featuring a chunky toe cap which is designed to help with impacts with rocks and other trail debris everything about them is padded and oversized. They are also very stiff throughout the length of the sole. The heel for some reason is very thick, which feels like it raises your heel up quite a bit. Even under the ball of the foot, the sole is also very thick compared to other riding shoes. This makes it stiff but does reduce pedal feel. The sole uses Five Tens famous Stealth Dotty rubber.
If you are used to riding in skate shoes they will feel like you're wearing a pair of clompy walking boots. They are quite snug though, and we found we needed to really lossen the laces to get our feet in. There is quite a lot of room in the toe box however. The very thick heel is a strange choice, it would make sense to thin that down a bit to give the shoe a little more flex and feel. Overall the fit is slightly wider than a Freerider, but much wider than the Trail Cross Protect
The stiffness of the shoe actually make them feel like they pedal quite well, and give a really solid platform on the bike. However the thickness and overall size of the shoe does reduce pedal feel a lot compared to Freeriders. We found grip to be the same as Freeriders, but couldn't curl our feet around the pedal like you can with a well worn pair of riding shoes. The Impacts are wider than Freeriders, which puts more of the shoe in contact with the pedal and pins,which we liked. The ankle protection and overall build of the shoe does give confidence that in the event of a crash they are going to give you the best protection possible. Another thing we noticed is that they are softened up quite a bit since new, it's likely that once the sole has worn down a little more and they've completely broken in they will feel a little more forgiving.
We've only ridden in the shoes for a few months, so can't really give a detailed response on how well they last, but the sole has only a few tiny marks and the uppers look as new.
This is one area where the Impact Highs really fall down. If they get properly soggy then it can take a long time on the heater for them to dry out completely. The thick extra material which helps so much with protection can make them feel very heavy if you blast through too many puddles.
Scotby Cycles back in January posted a preview of the 2020 Five Ten range, which includes a updated Impact Pro MID. This looks like it might solve some of the issues of the Impact High, but with an RRP of £150 it's not cheap! Currently Impact Highs can be found online for ~£80, RRP £120 so the new model is quite a jump in cost.
So would we recommend the Impact Highs? Overall yes. They work best with the biggest possible platform pedals with the sharpest pins to give the most grip possible. For uplifted rough trails they are probably the best flat pedal shoes on the market, but for a more playful feel the Freeriders are a better choice, and a little cheaper.