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Hands-on Gear Review

Five Ten Blackwing - Women's Review

Five Ten Blacking - Women's
Price:   $175 List | $174.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Aggressive, sticky, and precise
Cons:  Sized extra small, too much curve to the side, loose heel cup, expensive
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Five Ten

Our Verdict

If you are a hard sending woman, then this is one of the best women's specific aggressive shoes on the market. It finds itself ranked along with the La Sportiva Solution - Women's and the Evolv Shaman LV - Women's as the most down-turned and most pricey in this review. We find that the Blackwing has some fit and comfort issues and would steer most customers towards the Solution instead, but the Blackwing is slightly less expensive. If you need a more versatile technical shoe, the regular La Sportiva Miura - Women's and the Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's 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.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Climbing Shoes For Women Review

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Style Weight (Per Pair, size 39) Fit
85
$165
Editors' Choice Award
Lace 1 lb 6 oz High Asymmetry
83
$180
Top Pick Award
Velcro 1 lb 1 oz High Asymmetry
80
$150
Velcro 15.4 oz Medium-High Asymmetry
80
$165
Velcro 13.4 oz Medium Asymmetry
75
$150
Velcro 1 lb 1 oz Downturned Asymmetry (High)
73
$175
Velcro 13 oz High Asymmetry
73
$175
Velcro 1 lb 3 oz High Asymmetry
72
$155
Top Pick Award
Lace 1 lb (size 39.5) Low Asymmetry
70
$140
Lace 1 lb 4 oz Medium-Low Asymmetry
68
$80
Best Buy Award
Lace 1 lb 1 oz (size 39.5) Low Assymmetry
66
$89
Velcro 14.4 oz Asymmetrical (Medium-Low)
63
$145
Lace (speed lace) 6.4 oz (size 9) Low Asymmetry

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
McKenzie Long
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
July 14, 2015

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With a recent color change, the actual design of the Blacking has not changed. It has gone from a brown color to a flashier blue and pink. This is an aggressive, down-turned performance shoe best used for bouldering and steep sport climbing.

Performance Comparison


Toeing up on a sandstone edge with the aggressive and precise Women's Blackwings.
Toeing up on a sandstone edge with the aggressive and precise Women's Blackwings.

Comfort


The Five Ten Blackwings are an aggressive women's specific shoe designed for hard, technical climbing. They are more down-turned than the La Sportiva Miura VS - Women's, with a shape more similar to the La Sportiva Solution - Women's. Downturned shoes are not the most comfortable, and are best worn for a single pitch and then removed. The padded microfiber tongue is a luxury feature that makes wearing these hard sending shoes more comfortable. We think that when it comes to comfort, the Solution beats the Blackwing. The Solution molds to the foot and becomes an extension of the body while we have a couple of complaints about the fit of the Blackwing.

First, the heel cup does not fit very snugly. It somehow feels narrow and loose at the same time, allowing the heel to slide up, but then the heel does not quite sit on the bottom of the shoe while 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 downturn, but the curve to the inside you see when looking straight down from above. After wearing these shoes for a length of time, ankles and toes start to feel twerked, like there is more curve than is natural or comfortable. We have not noticed this feeling in any of the other women's climbing shoes, and don't feel like it adds anything to the aggressive climbing ability of the shoe. It just makes them slightly more uncomfortable than necessary.

Sensitivity


The Blackwing is sticky when smearing and has a lot of purchase and friction on the rock, but the toe is a little bulky and stiff. It is less sensitive than the Solution, which allows you to feel every feature of the rock.

Edging


This shoe is precise and feels like it gives you an extra advantage when climbing steep and overhanging climbs.

Crack Climbing


The aggressive downturn on these shoes makes them painful when jammed in cracks. Keep them to face climbs if possible.

Pockets


The curve of this shoe drives your feet into pockets and keeps you clinging to steep faces.

Ease of Use


Velcro straps make these shoes quick to take on and off.

Best Applications


These shoes excel at hard, steep climbing. They are a perfect sport climbing or bouldering shoe.

Value


These shoes are on the expensive side, but are similarly priced to other aggressive performance shoes. They are $10 less than the Solution but $15 more than the Evolv Shaman LV - Women's. If you agree with the "cents per send" philosophy, then these shoes might be worth it to help you really crank.

Conclusion


This aggressive shoe is works well on the steep stuff, but is not as comfortable as other aggressive women's models. We would rather climb in the Top Pick winning La Sportiva Solution.

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.

Other Versions and Accessories


Five Ten Dragon
Five Ten Dragon
  • Popular shoe for cutting edge bouldering and sport climbing
  • Performs better and better the steeper the rock gets
  • Extremely lightweight at 5.6 oz
  • Features the adjustability and security of a lace-up
  • $165

Five Ten Team
Five Ten Team
  • Cost - $160
  • A super soft and sensitive shoe
  • Ideal for steep climbing and bouldering where the feet are receiving only a portion of the climber's weight
McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 26, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Dec 26, 2016 - 12:03pm
Low Ride Moose · Climber
As a guy, I wear the 510 Blackwings, and even though this may seem odd, these shoes are fantastic, the Women's ones in specific fit my feet so well, better than anything La Sportiva that I have tried on (with regards to climbing specifically). The toe box is just the right size, and even my girlfriend who has a wider toe box than I do, wears these and loves them (she actually recommended them to me). Anyways, long story short is that the editors choice seems to be pumping up la Sportiva, but really in most cases the heel on most of their shoes is super roomy and sometimes baggy, the toe box is too big, and the big toe rubber to sole distance is too tight causing a lot of big toe pain and sometimes immobility. The way I see it, is that if you want a shoe that is going to help you put new grades and harder climbs under your belt, you should get a shoe that is aggressive and comfortable, so that you can stay on the wall, and keep climbing day in and day out without feeling like your toes are about to fall off.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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