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Five Ten Freerider VXi Elements

Five Ten’s Freerider VXi are high-performance cycling shoes for use with flat pedals. Their primary features are the use of Stealth Mi6 rubber, Five Ten’s new Contact outsole, and DWR treated uppers.

Stealth Rubber was designed for rock climbing—several iterations later, they’ve tuned their rubber technology for the cycling world, adding durability and additional shock absorption to the sticky outsoles.

The Contact design is treadless beneath the ball of the foot. This allows the rider to adjust their foot position without hanging up on the pins that are often used on flat pedals. While not of the utmost concern for the average rider, myself included, this feature is especially useful for technical applications such as jumping and trick riding. Rest assured, the soft and sticky nature of the Stealth Rubber more than makes up for the shoe’s lack of tread, even in wet conditions.

The uppers are DWR treated for water resistance. They’re well crafted with an emphasis on durability, and they feature a bit of moisture wicking insulation for cold weather riding. Honestly, I didn’t notice the insulation, so I suppose the Five Ten design breathes and wicks better than average.

These shoes remind me of the skate shoes I used to wear back in the ‘90s. In addition to the Ocean Depths color scheme pictured here, there’s a slightly more subdued Dawn Blue/Pewter model.

The Freerider VXi Elements is available in US men’s sizes 2-15 and retails for $120.

NiteRider Lumina Micro 220

NiteRider has taken their very successful Lumina headlight and made a lighter, more compact version. The mounting system and the one-button control and styling is virtually unchanged from the previous version

The Lumina Micro 220 is impressively bright—220 lumens, as you might have guessed—but it’s notably smaller and at 126 grams it’s 46 grams lighter than the Lumina 650 we reviewed last year.

Burn times are similar to its high-powered brethren—1:30 on high, 2:45 on medium, 4:00 on low and 14:00 in “walk” mode—but remember it also has a smaller battery. The upshot is that it’s fully charged in 3:30.

Even on low power, the $70 Micro 220 does the job admirably in the city at night, with high-powered (and higher-priced) options available if your needs dictate.