In search of balance : Five Ten Exum Guide

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Outdoor gears technology of the new century pushes the boundary of specialize gears available to almost every genre of outdoor activity and sports. There’s hiking shoes for different terrain and climates, high wear durable sole, super soft for grips in rock walls and wet rocky terrain; mountain biking shoes with clip less  pedal compatibility, high cut shoe for maximum protection against the elements.
Currently, the industry offers an abundant combination of gears, style and design. The trail is the parade ground of high street outdoor shoes fashion at times, and all of which makes the ‘general issue’ shoe  of  yesteryear look dull and uncomfortable.

The quest

Trail Shoe for hiking and for mountain biking are never the same. As trail builders and in particular mountain biking trail builders, our footwear selection is complicating. A typical inventory includes the following,  industrial safety boots for operating the machines, wellingtons for the aggressive low wet grounds, mid to high cut hiking boots for clocking 10 to 15 km a day hiking the mountains, mountain biking shoes so we can ride our bikes in style and safely.
Imagine dragging the whole lot up the jet together with your latest all mountain rig; We are sure to knock out a storm at the airline counters baggage-ing counter.
We seek balance. Like our quest to have an all mountain ‘do all’ mountain bike, we seek a shoe that does it all as well.

the Exum Guide

I get to work with numerous pairs of shoes, testing out the various offerings over the years. The most recent test this year involved the Five Ten Exum Guide Mid cut shoe, courtesy of All Sports Equipments, and I love how it fit my work lifestyle till date.
Five Ten Exum Guide is listed as part of the Five Ten hiking shoes offering. The shoe comes with comfortable insole and cushion. Breathable in the humid tropical climate of Singapore and kept the sand out of the desert like bike park in northern china. The heel cup is over built to protect your ankle from any accidental roll, front water-resistant Nubuck leather protection and well round coverage to protect the toes and side knocks from rocks. Pretty much made readied for a good hike in the mountains for three seasons.  The sub 600gm weigh is lightweight allows one to do the long hikes needed for trail survey.

On the pedal

 The shoe spots Five Ten Stealth rubber sole, super soft compound that grips well on any typical platform pedals. The groove pattern are low profile, giving great contact on the pedals and studs, while making sure grip on clayiest muddy slopes is still available when you are off the pedal.
Comparing the Five Ten Exum Guide with Five Ten’s popular Freerider model, the shoe is as well placed on a mountain bike pedal. It is to note that the Freerider spots a narrower front profile where the Exum Guide is wider at the pedal contact point, size for size. Not really a concern for stability and grip.

Off the pedal

The Five Ten Exum Guide walks well. It trumps in rocky hills and it gives confidence while we boulder those unique rock outcrops. When the Exum Guide hit the clay filled dirt of Chestnut Nature Park and Bukit Timah mountain biking trails in Singapore, the grooves kept the traction on the slopes and provides firm grip on log skinnies.
The wide sole contact point keep one from not sinking too much on sandy terrain, however to note that there’s not much options when we hit the sand for any of the current foot wear technology.
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Exum Guide vs water

The shoe is covered with a well round Nubuck leather layer. The over reinforce front half, kept most of the water out. Shoes works well in light rain And for minor rock hopping stream crossing, where the occasion dips won’t wet the inner sole much. It is to note that this shoe is not line with any Goretex or similar layer, and I am glad it did not, as I am not a fan of bailing water off the shoe itself!

Rubber on the jumps

On bike parks features, Five Ten Diddie Schneider trail builder shoe is definitely better placed when building bike park jumps and features, where the smooth sole allows for delicate build finishing and also for dirt less contact points on the pedals of  excavators and skid steers. However Exum Guide massive contact points allows for similar qualities, probably with exception of bringing  dirt onto the cabin more often. Do note that both shoes are still a compromise for full safety shoes as per regulated in the various country for machine operation.
Exum Guide offers better traction in the variety of terrain of the back country too as the Diddie Schneider’s version is pretty much smooth sole.

Final say

While I write in the perspective of a trail builder, I’ll be glad to drag along the Five Ten Exum Guide for the various hybrid adventure trips. It will fit nicely for say a hiking and biking trip somewhere. A shoe that works well on the tea plantation of Darjeeling, the volcanic ashes slopes of Mt Bromo, Java or the rough rocky rides within Tai Lam country park, Hong Kong.  It is probably the do all shoes for me for the moment.
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