Five Ten Sam Hill 3 Shoes
Five Ten, a company based out of Redlands, California, got its start back in the early ’80s making shoes for rock climbers. The company’s original name, Five Tennie, was derived from the Yosemite National Park decimal system that rated the difficulty of rock climbs. Later down the road Five Ten got into the mountain bike shoe market, and in 2002 helped Chris Kovarik win the first World Cup Downhill race of the season. That same year Sam Hill won the Junior Downhill World Championship wearing Five Ten shoes. To this day, Five Ten shoes can be seen on the feet of some of the fastest riders and racers in the world.
The Sam Hill 3 shoes are based off Five Ten’s original Impact Low shoe, but they feature a unique color scheme, a fast-drying synthetic material and a waterproof insole. The toe caps are stitched, unlike the original Impact Lows, and are reinforced for optimal protection against rocks or other obstacles out on the trails. The outsoles of the Sam Hill 3s use Five Ten’s famous Stealth S1 rubber that offers great all-terrain traction and helps mate a rider’s foot to the flat pedals of his or her choosing. As far as a closure system goes, these shoes use a good old-fashioned pair of laces and have a slingshot-shaped heel to help keep them in place. Sam Hill 3s are sold in standard U.S. sizes for $160.
Field test results:
Sam Hill 3 shoes from Five Ten fit much like a regular pair of tennis shoes and lace up like them too. One major benefit of traditional shoelaces is that a rider can dial in the part of the shoe he or she wants tighter or looser; however, the loop-de-loop-and-pull method is much slower than other retention systems. The Sam Hills performed remarkably well with a variety of flat pedals, providing us with an efficient pedaling platform and a locked-in feel. These shoes also work great for riders who often stop to hike or do trail maintenance. We even found ourselves driving to the trails in these shoes quite often. The Sam Hills are claimed to use waterproof materials, which is hard to test on our Southern California trails, but we did try splashing our shoes with water and, to our surprise, our feet stayed fairly dry. The Sam Hills from Five Ten are awesome for any flat-pedal rider, offering a great balance of comfort, protection and durability. If you’re looking for a pair of flat-pedal shoes, the Sam Hill 3s are a great place to start.
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