Some of you may have read Lester's in-depth review of Five Ten's clipless Impact VXi over here on the site. While it's pretty clear he liked that shoe, it's also worth pointing out that it is a DH clipless shoe and has a pretty chunky Stealth rubber sole that is beefed up for the rigors of DH. If you're looking for a more all-duro-mountain oriented shoe then the Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT could be the one for you. Interestingly though, the Impact VXi actually weighs in less than these, but they have a few features that set them apart and direct them more at all-day riding than the Impacts.
The Maltese Falcon LT features a pretty simple closure system that looks a bit more futuristic than it actually is. There are two simple Velcro straps that cover a basic lace system. What's crazy is just how good old fashioned laces are. I've been using these shoes a few times a week for the past two months and have found the laces/Velcro combo to be pretty damn sweet. The laces disperse any pressure points you might get from buckles and the Velcro not only stops the laces coming undone but adds just a little more security to the shoes' fastening. The toebox is welded and impenetrable by water which may give the appearance of shoe that's will get uncomfortably hot, but the mesh venting on the sides does more than enough for alleviating any heat dissipation. In fact, even after getting the shoes fully submerged and soaked, a few sheets of newspaper stuffed inside had them dry and ready to go the next day!
To be honest, Five Ten were going to send us a set of the new Kestrel enduro shoe (designed in collaboration with Nico Vouilloz), but they only had sample size 9 which, it turns out, no one here is. I'd seen this shoe online and to be honest, it didn't really tickle my fancy; unpacking it from the box though I thought I could grow to like it and as I shot these here photos in a hotel room in Utah I was sold. I just hoped they were going to be good on the bike.
And the answer is yes, they are amazing on the bike, in fact they're amazing off the bike as well. They've had some serious photo duties in the two months I've been using them, clambering around rocky Colorado hills, climbing trees in Utah and just wandering up muddy hills back home here in New Zealand. The Stealth rubber and its minimal tread pattern really hooks up. The stitch and glue combo is keeping the sole attached and it's holding up to the elements so far, but a few more months will be the real test.
Obviously it's a clipless shoe and the old model had a few issues regarding cleat clearance, with people often packing the cleat up so they could unclip easily. Well there's none of those problems here. In fact, there is so much room for cleat positioning that you can get them in the perfect spot. It's not often that I don't have cleats as far back as they go, but with these bad boys there is still space left behind the cleat. Left and right positioning is again fantastic with heaps of room on the instep of the shoe to ensure minimal crank rubbing.
Like I said, they have only had two months usage so far and in our December issue I'll be letting you know how they stand up to almost six months of riding, but if the first two are anything to go by, I'm going to be well impressed.