Do climbing shoes have to hurt to work well? Unless you’re one of the old school climbing savants that can climb 5.10 in hiking boots then the answer is usually yes. Five Ten is hoping to change that paradigm by putting out a new line of shoes built from a brand new comfortable last.
Five Ten starts off the package with the well known Stealth rubber and a fairly stiff forefoot. The upper is lined leather with a thickly padded tongue. Hook and loop straps let you easily adjust for more comfort or power. The real ticket here is the new Five Ten last, designed to utilize the foot’s natural power. The shape, combined with stiffer sole lets you keep your toes more flat, but still provide a nice platform for standing on tiny ledges and nubbins.
All this means you can climb with the power of your redpoint shoes but still wear something that is as comfortable as your all day multi-pitch shoes. Crazy concept, but it works. I immediately noticed the difference in comfort the first time I slid my foot into the Stonelands. My big toe moved right into position, instead of having to be crammed and bunched up. The rest of my toes nestled into place. I had to adjust a little from where I normally place my foot on small nubs with the Anasazis that I often climb in, but the adjustment was easy and I still retained the power to see progress on one of my projects. The one area that I saw a decrease was with pockets. The Stonelands still do a pretty good job with pockets, but it’s really hard to beat the Anasazi design for toeing into limestone pockets. Everything else, including holds on slightly overhanging routes, worked great. Not only do they edge fantastically, but with your toes a little more flat these shoes smear really well and jam cracks with the best of them.
So, if you’re in the market for some new sport or trad shoes, or you’ve always wanted to climb in Five Ten, but the fit was never quite right. The Stonelands VCS is definitely worth a look.
MSRP – $140