The Five Ten Access is genuinely unique to the approach shoe line-up. It feels more like a casual athletic shoe than a stiff approach shoe designed for jamming cracks and standing in aiders all day. It offers loads of cushion and support for hiking out a rope and a rack to the sport crag or hiking around in the mountains when the occasional fourth class section warrants some sticky rubber. What it lacks is stiffness and sensitivity, making it a mediocre climber when compared to the Five Ten Guide Tennie or the La Sportiva TX4. The Access is the only shoe that lacks a clip in loop on the back of the heel, so we had to clip into the laces when we want to carry these kicks up a multi-pitch.
The Access is now available in a new color selection. These comfortable approach shoes are now sold in tan, shown above. Design-wise, everything remains the same!
Our Analysis and Test Results
As the name implies, this shoe is designed to get you to the crag or boulder field and negotiate a few obstacles along the way. Consequently, it scored well in the hiking, comfort, and support metrics, and didn't do so hot for climbing, weight, and packability. If your style of climbing involves more redpointing and less bounce testing, these shoes will keep you comfy and get you where you need to go.
The fat PU midsole that makes this shoe great for hiking around in also makes it feel clunky and insensitive for climbing. Fortunately, the scrambler isn't totally out of luck, because the Five Ten Stealth S1 rubber outsole sticks to rock like well-done pasta does to the ceiling.
Standing on big edges (almost ledges) feels nice and secure in the access, but when the edges are an inch or narrower we prefer a more sensitive shoe like the Evolv Cruzer Psyche or a stiff shoe like the La Sportiva Boulder X
The Stealth S1 in the classic dot style doesn't disappoint, and our testers felt that the access smeared well right out of the box. The S1 feels softer and gooier than the pressure molded rubber on the Guide Tennie but feels like it will deteriorate quicker.
This wide shoe feel comfortable and offers plenty of support for crack climbing, and the leather upper can take more of a beating than the canvas upper on the Evolv Cruzer Psyche, but it's challenging to wiggle these shoes into cracks smaller than cupped hands.
The Five Ten Access excels at what it was designed for, getting you and a lightly loaded climbing pack or crash pad to the crag. Most of our testers found the familiar athletic style a welcome change to the tank-like feel of the Five Ten Camp 4 or the La Sportiva Boulder X. The pronators among us were happy with the supportive heel that allowed for miles of slip-free, blister-free hiking. These shoes have a wide fit, and the tongue is a fully attached to the upper, which made this model a challenge to slip in and out of for our testers with high volume feet. While the leather upper is perforated for breathability, one of our testers said he felt like he was wearing sweaters on his feet due to the thick padding on the tongue.
The thick PU midsole puts a lot of padding between your foot and the ground, offering shock absorption while you run, jump, and scramble over talus or surf down scree. The Access is not as stiff as the Top Pick for Heavy Loads La Sportiva TX4 and isn't our first choice for humping heavy loads to the base of El Cap, or multi-day climbing trips in the backcountry.
Weight and Packability
When evaluating a shoe for weight and packability, we are mainly asking "How are these shoes going to feel when they're clipped to my harness?" The Access doesn't have a clip in loop. You can still bring them along by clipping into the laces, but this is not ideal because they aren't as low profile against your body in squeeze chimneys and could get caught, breaking the laces and losing your shoes. Concerning weight, the Access will add 25 oz to your kit.
If you stick to their intended purpose, they'll take you to the crag for many days of rock climbing action. Use them for climbing cracks or jugging lines they won't last very long. We can't say this model offers a ton of value for a wide audience.
If you're used to running around in a pair of Nikes or any athletic style trainer, you'll dig the feel and style of this shoes, and can take comfort in the stealth rubber when you have to negotiate the occasional fourth class terrain on your way to the crag.
If your hikes involve steep scrambling and exposed slabs...
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