Every climber knows that stiffer rubber means more stability and control on the wall, right? At least, that was the conventional wisdom until climbing company Five Ten released their latest evolution of Stealth Rubber, MI6. The radical departure from the typical stiff, unforgiving formula to soft, springy rubber started, of all places, in Hollywood. In 2010, the crew of the latest Mission: Impossible movie called Charles Cole, Five Ten's president, with one simple question: could he design a shoe that could climb up a glass wall? Cole and his team went to work on their Stealth C4 rubber, rebuilding it stickier than ever. The result? Rubber that is viscous enough to gain purchase on glass (just watch Tom Cruise use it in Mission: Impossible), while maintaining the durability to do battle with even the sharpest rock faces. We got a look at new products featuring MI6 at the Summer 2013 Outdoor Retailer Expo, and they're groundbreaking.
We tried a couple short bouldering problems on the test wall at Outdoor Retailer with the Team VXis and were completely surprised by their performance. At first they feel more like a pair of light moccasins than a world-class climbing shoe. Thanks to their extra stickiness, though, we stuck to any hold on the wall with ease, even during the severely overhung problems. When asked what their secret sauce was, the Five Ten reps could only say that the MI6's unique chemistry results in a "soft rebound" rather than a stiff springiness like typical hard climbing rubber. Whatever the secret, be ready to see the VXi and its MI6 rubber sole on the podium of many climbing competitions in the future. The only downside? Because the toes and sole are so soft, don't expect to hold position on dime-sized edges. That's an easy trade-off for a shoe that sticks to just about anything.
Five Ten launched the new Freerider VXi Element line up for the mountain biking crowd earlier this month. This all-weather ripper has the feature set to keep you riding through the worst mud and muck all winter. The footbed and interior is lined with Five Ten's PUR foam insulation, which pulls double duty wicking sweat away and providing that touch of warmth needed to keep the cold at bay. The synthetic upper is treated with a DWR that beads and repels water with ease. The coup de grâce, though, is the MI6 sole. No matter how much mud, snow or ice gets into your pedals, the Freeriders stick.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers