Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Edging, technical climbs.
Best Uses: Sport climbing, trad climbing.
Manufacturer: Five Ten
The Five Ten Anasazi VCS is one of the best climbing shoes on the market and one of the most popular among experienced climbers. I call them my "secret weapons." For years I have reached for them every time I did a climb at my limit. They used to be called Anasazi Velcro but got a new name when Five Ten changed the rubber and heel. What stands out is the precision edging these shoes have – I feel like I can stand confidently on just about anything. They are also easy to get on and off, which is nice at the sport crag or a hanging belay.
These are awesome rock shoes for sport climbs, boulders, and even big wall free climbs. They are very versatile considering how precise they edge. They have a firm sole that lets you stand on tiny stuff. For sport climbing and hard trad climbs, they are hard to beat. For the gym I would choose another model like the Mad Rock Flash or Evolv Defy which can be half the price and save these for outside. The top competition with this is probably the La Sportiva Miura which is also a very technical and expensive shoe. A ton of top free climbers in the world wear either one of these and to say which one is best probably comes down to personal preference. We like the Anasazi VCS better for granite and the Miura for limestone. The La Sportiva Miura VS is another shoe to consider. It is a little more precise than the Anasazi, but less versatile.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Five Ten Anasazi VCS is a relatively stiff shoe for a low-cut Velcro shoe, which makes them incredibly precise on tiny foot holds. Also, the shape of the toe channels the edging power to one spot so you know exactly where to place your foot. They are among the most versatile Five Ten shoes out there as they can handle just about any terrain (depending on how tight you buy them). A lot of climbers use this as their only shoe. One friend of mine who is sponsored by 5.10 says, "At this point I pretty much have to stay sponsored by 5.10 because my foot is now in the shape of an Anasazi Velcro"
My main dislikes with the original Anasazi Velcro was the heel, which I often found uncomfortable. They have improved that feature so now I can only really complain about the price – at $139 they are not cheap.
I have always bought these a little snug and used them as my go-to "redpoint shoe" for eeking out that hard sport climb or granite trad lead. They are also pretty much the only shoe I use for a hard boulder problem. If you buy them a little looser they could be used for all day climbs. They work for crack climbs but their shape is not ideal. They are ideal for standing on tiny edges if I have not driven that home enough already. They are surprisingly well suited for all around climbing despite also being so high performance oriented. In contrast, a shoe like the La Sportiva Solution may be better for tricky boulder problems but does not have as good a range for a variety of applications.
While expensive, these shoes are a good value if you climb a ton of technical sport climbs or trad routes because they are durable. When other Velcro shoes start to become "mushy" and imprecise, the Anasazi VCS is still edging strong. If you are a beginning climber or just want shoes to trash in the gym, these are overkill. Compared to other high end shoes like the La Sportiva Miura VS, it is $15 cheaper.
Video on the Features of the Anasazi Line
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: December 11, 2013
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