In years past, we've hailed the Five Ten Guide Tennie's superior climbing ability and all-around comfort and support. But with today's lightweight, sleek competitors, we've found that the Guide Tennie has fallen behind. When held up against the versatile La Sportiva TX3 or the elegant Arc'teryx Acrux SL, we had a hard time finding an appropriate use for this shoe. While supportive and durable, the Guide Tennie was outdone by the similarly designed La Sportiva Boulder X. In the category of hiking-focused approach shoes, this would not be our top pick.
Five Ten Guide Tennie - Women's ReviewPrice: $120 List | $119.90 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Supportive, decent smearing
Cons: Uncomfortable, heavy
Bottom line: The Guide Tennie is a decent all-around shoe that lacks great support or durability.
Sole Rubber: Stealth C4 dotted rubber
Upper: Suede and synthetic
Manufacturer: Five Ten
RELATED REVIEW: The 9 Best Climbing Approach Shoes for Women
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Guide Tennie failed to win an award because of its heavy, less comfortable design. When evaluated side-by-side with the Boulder X, we couldn't help but notice its shortcomings in comfort and climbing ability.
In order to judge a shoe's climbing ability, we took it all over California's most famous climbing areas. From boulders to big walls to sport climbing meccas, we edged, smeared, and jammed our way to success. The Guide Tennie has decent climbing ability, and we appreciated its durable sticky rubber for long alpine missions and scrambling. In the end, however, it fell behind some of the slimmer models in this review.
The Guide Tennie has a much more traditional shape and design, built for long approaches and burly missions with required fourth- and fifth-class sections. The Tennie strikes a great balance between support and climbing ability, but we had a hard time trusting its edge after experiencing the great toe of the Acrux and Adidas Terrex Solo.
This shoe handled solidly on slabs due to its wrap-around rand, but its toe was too wide to jam into any small cracks. It might make for a decent off-width shoe, but hand cracks were improbable. The Tennie earned a slightly below-average 5/10 for fifth-class climbing ability, beating out only the Boulder X and the Five Ten Access.
Looking at materials, lacing, and midsole structure, we found that the Guide Tennie was slightly less comfortable than we had hoped. We found the toe box to be narrow and uncomfortable and the heel to sit too low.
We did like the soft materials and stiff sole of the Tennie, but after hiking down into the Owens River Gorge, our toes were killing us and we found the shoe to lack significantly in breathability. We also felt annoyed that the heel of this shoe was lower than that of the Boulder X ever-so-slightly, and at the end of the day, we just couldn't pick the Tennie over its competitors.
The lacing system of the Tennie was similar to that of its competitors, but the laces on the Boulder X reached slightly further down the foot, making for a more versatile fit.
Earning a high 7/10 in this category, the Guide Tennie shows us one area where it shines. Decent arch support and a stable build make for decent long-distance approaches.
The second-highest scorer for support, the Tennie has a nice arch and stiff sole. We were impressed with how secure our feet felt in these shoes and found that their solid build was great for tough hikes on sharp talus. We felt very stable in these shoes whether on rock, steep snow, or loose scree.
We at OutdoorGearLab generally prefer our gear to be as light as we can get away with. And while we realize that weight usually comes at the cost of other important factors like support and durability, we were very impressed when we put the Guide Tennie on the scale. At the slightly above-average weight of 11.8 ounces, this shoe is considerably lighter than the Boulder X.
The Guide Tennie is just barely light enough to reasonably put on your harness for multi-pitch adventures. We expected it to weigh in close to the Boulder X's 14.3 ounces but were pleasantly surprised to find it closer to the lightweight Terrex Solo. These shoes are definitely bulky on a harness or in a backpack, but less so than the Boulder X.
All climbing rubber will wear out over time, so for this metric, we looked to the small details and materials. The Guide Tennie has a solid construction and is made of high-quality materials, but the wrap-around rand caused some concern.
Historically, the Tennie has had problems with durability. A change in design in the last few years has made this newest generation of Tennies different than the originals from yesteryear. Our testers found the leather upper to score high marks for durability, but the wrap-around rand seemed to wear more easily than the burly toe of the Boulder X.
We had a hard time coming up with the best application for the Guide Tennie. A comfortable-ish, light-ish, supportive-ish all-around shoe, it's hard to recommend this over our Editors' Choice, the TX3 which seems to do everything just a little bit better. If you prioritize hiking comfort over climbing ability, the Boulder X is your shoe, and if you prioritize weight or versatility, it's TX3 all the way.
For $120, the Guide Tennie is averagely priced. We'd be more keen to recommend this shoe if it was just a little cheaper, though, because of its relatively low overall score. For just $15 more, the TX3 is a great all-around shoe, and for the same price the Boulder X will get you far in your favorite mountains.
A hiking-focused approach shoe, the Guide Tennie strives to be an all-arounder but ultimately falls short. With an old-school design, the Tennie's decent scores and average price make it difficult for us to recommend it when compared to its many stellar competitors.
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Most recent review: November 17, 2017
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