In a vague attempt to revive this dead horse, I thought I might write a few words on this year’s most silent product release the 510 Freerider vxi Elements (puh!) shoes.
Maybe 5-10 forgot to mention that they can take a rider both up and down a hill, thus making them “Enduro”, or because they are not in any significant way related to 650b wheels, these shoes seem to have passed under all major bike magazines and sites radar. Sure, Dirt wrote a note this spring, but that is really all I have seen. Now the shoes have start to land in the stores, and I have already put in a good couple of week’s riding in mine.
So, one might wonder, what is all (the lack of) fuss about? First, they come in nice colours, which is nice. Second, they are supposed to be weather resistant and not absorb a ton of water (anyone tried to dry out a pair of wet Impacts know what I am on about), and third, they have a new and even more sticky rubber, stealth Mi-something or other.
Just to get where I come from, I have been riding flats since forever, mainly in 510 Guide Tennie and Spitfire. I stopped using the Tennies after maybe my third pair since they seem to dissolve when in contact with water for prolonged times. My Spitfires have been holding up fairly well on a first glance, but further investigation shows that the midsole collapses and becomes soft after half a season or so of riding, leading to numb feet and a bad mood.
I cannot yet comment on the longevity of the Elements, but the grip is brilliant. Plenty more grip that the Spitfire actually, but the interesting thing is that it is also easier to reposition the shoe on the pedal. This is probably due to the vxi sole pattern, which is actually completely flat where it is in contact with the pedal. So not bad, both more sticky and easier to reposition than Spitfire. The sole is stiffer as well, stiff enough to prevent numb feet so far (even after 400+ vertical meters of descending).
How about the weather repellant claims then? In the name of science I have jumped off my bike and landed feet first in 20+cm of water, completely soaking my feet. The shoes seem to certainly absorb less water than previous offerings, they actually dried out overnight even in our fairly wet climate. Also, they have so far kept me dry when riding through wet grass and similar, very nice! The price to pay is that they are warmer than more ventilated offerings, not a summer shoe for hot climates!
As you might guess, I am impressed. I hope they release the same sole and construction but with more ventilation for summer riding as well. Reports on longevity will come out in a year or so I guess, don’t hold your breath. After all, it takes long time to test longevity, as one might guess.