Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Aggressive, sticky, and precise.
Cons: Sized extra small, too much curve to the side, loose heel cup, expensive.
Best Uses: Sport climbing, bouldering, gym climbing.
If you are a hard sending woman, then this is the best women's specific aggressive shoe on the market. It is the most down-turned shoe (as well as the most expensive) in this review. It is comparable in climbing ability and comfort to the La Sportiva Miura VS, since they are both aggressive Velcro shoes. However, the Blackwing has more down-turn and lighter rubber to help you crush hard sport climbs or boulder problems. Both of these shoes have some issues with fit and comfort, but if you are looking for the most aggressive women's shoe, then the Blackwing is the one to go with. If you need a more versatile technical shoe, the regular Women's Miura and the Anasazi LV are both comfortable high performance shoes that are less aggressive.
Check our complete Climbing Shoes - Women's review to see how these compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Five Ten Blackwings are an aggressive women's specific shoe designed for hard, technical climbing. They are more down-turned than even the La Sportiva Mira VS, with a shape more like the unisex La Sportiva Solution. There aren't many women's shoes that are this aggressive, which makes this model stand out in the market.
The Stealth Mystique rubber is lighter and more durable than the Stealth C4 rubber on the Anasazis, but doesn't seem quite as sticky. However, these shoes are still sticky when smearing and have a lot of purchase and friction on the rock. They are precise and feel like they give you an extra advantage when climbing steep and overhanging climbs. The padded microfiber tongue is a comfortable feature that makes wearing these hard sending shoes even more luxurious.
The heel cup does not fit very snugly. It somehow feels narrow and loose at the same time, with my heel sliding up and not quite sitting on the bottom of the shoe as I'm climbing. It makes for insecure feeling heel hooks, but does not seem to affect other climbing moves.
These shoes also feel like there is too much curve lengthwise, toward the center of the shoe. Not the curve of the down-turn, but the curve to the inside you see when looking straight down from above. After wearing these shoes for a length of time my ankles and toes start to feel twerked, like there is more curve than is natural or comfortable. I have not noticed this feeling in any of the other women's climbing shoes, and I don't feel like it adds anything to the aggressive climbing ability of the shoe. It just makes them slightly more uncomfortable than necessary.
These shoes excel at hard, steep climbing. They are a perfect sport climbing or bouldering shoe.
I ordered these shoes without being able to try them on first, so naturally I ordered them the size of my other comfortable Five Ten shoes. Big mistake! I could not even get my foot in them. I talked to Five Ten and they were extremely nice and accommodating, exchanging them for a larger size without a hassle. But be forewarned, these shoes run extra small. Five Ten does size their shoes so that you can wear your street shoe size, even in climbing shoes, without down-sizing them. However, comparing your size to other models of Five Ten shoes does not cut it. Try them on first or buy a size larger than you would expect. Also, these shoes do not stretch much since they are made with synthetic materials instead of leather.
These shoes are the most expensive shoes in this review, but are right in line with the pricing for other aggressive performance shoes. If you agree with the "cents per send" philosophy, then these shoes might be worth it to help you really crank.
Five Ten Blackwing - Men's
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 8, 2011
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