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Five Ten Access Review

The Five Ten Access is good for casual hikes to the crag or the boulders.
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Price:  $140 List | $99.93 at REI
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Pros:  Comfortable, rubber is super sticky
Cons:  Doesn't climb well, no clip-in loops
Manufacturer:   Five Ten
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2017
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 6
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 9
  • Support - 20% 6
  • Weight/Compactness - 20% 4

The Skinny

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.


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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.

Performance Comparison



These shoes feel like a traditional athletic shoe  but with sticky rubber.
These shoes feel like a traditional athletic shoe, but with sticky rubber.

Climbing Ability


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 the rock like well-done pasta does to the ceiling.

Insensitive and not very stiff  our testers didn't like climbing in these shoes.
Insensitive and not very stiff, our testers didn't like climbing in these shoes.

Edging


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

Smearing


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.

The leather uppers are well prepared to take a beating in cracks.
The leather uppers are well prepared to take a beating in cracks.

Crack Climbing


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.

These shoes are best suited for mellow hikes to the sport crag.
These shoes are best suited for mellow hikes to the sport crag.

Hiking Comfort


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.

These shoes have a wide fit  plenty of cushioning  and the classic stealth rubber dot pattern.
These shoes have a wide fit, plenty of cushioning, and the classic stealth rubber dot pattern.

Support


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 Editors' Choice Award Winning 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.

Without clip in loops  we wouldn't want to take these shoes up a multi-pitch climb.
Without clip in loops, we wouldn't want to take these shoes up a multi-pitch climb.

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 25oz to your kit, much more substantial than the 17.4oz Evolv Cruzer Psyche, but lighter than the 32.8oz La Sportiva Boulder X.

Best Applications


These wide fitting comfortable shoes are ideal for running through tunnels of rhododendron with a with a light pack loaded for a day of world-class sport climbing found in the New River Gorge or tramping around the boulder-strewn hillside of Joe's Valley in Utah. Sticky rubber makes the access adequate for scrambling alpine ridges in the Sierra, but most of our testers prefer a better climber like the Arc'teryx Acrux SL or the Five Ten Guide Tennie those types of missions.

Value


For $140, you can own a pair of these comfy kicks. 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.

Perforations allow for some much-needed venting through the leather uppers.
Perforations allow for some much-needed venting through the leather uppers.

Conclusion


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.


Matt Bento