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Five Ten Asym - Women's Review

The best use is low angle to vertical terrain, where this incredibly stiff shoe can hold an edge.
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Price:  $125 List | $125.00 at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, sticky soles
Cons:  Strange heel cup, clunky, lacked precision
Manufacturer:   Adidas
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 6, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Sensitivity - 25% 5
  • Edging - 15% 6
  • Cracks - 15% 7
  • Pockets - 15% 5
  • Ease of Use - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Five Ten Asym has a very subtle downturn and a stiff sole, making it a better choice for low angle terrain (as opposed to the steeps). This low volume shoe has a low-cut heel, which we found to be ill-fitting and uncomfortable. This poor-fitting heel, plus the serious stiffness of the shoe underfoot made it difficult for us to trust our feet. In terms of sensitivity and edging, these shoes did not make the cut for us. Perhaps folks who are looking for a stiff shoe would find success with the Asym, but we had a hard time making these shoes work on any terrain.


Our Analysis and Test Results

With a problematic fit in both the heel and arch of our feet, we had a hard time climbing in the stiff Asym.

Performance Comparison


The look of concern on Jane's face shows her unwillingness to trust the Asym on the slippery footholds on this blue circuit problem in Fontainebleau.
The look of concern on Jane's face shows her unwillingness to trust the Asym on the slippery footholds on this blue circuit problem in Fontainebleau.

Comfort


The Five Ten Asym was a tricky one for us to break in, as they ran a little small. We had the best luck sizing up a half size. That said, the Asyms have leather uppers and will stretch out a bit with time. They're a very low volume shoe, so they fit our foot lengthwise, but our wide footed lead tester had difficulties with the width and ankle height of the shoes.

Shown here is the low-cut ankle of the Asym. In high steps like this  we found our heel to almost pop out of the back of the shoe - not ideal!
Shown here is the low-cut ankle of the Asym. In high steps like this, we found our heel to almost pop out of the back of the shoe - not ideal!

The heel was especially problematic, as the Asym has a very low-cut heel and a tight band of rubber that crosses the Achilles. We had a hard time getting our heel to set in the bottom of the heel cup properly. This meant that our heel felt like it was constantly about to pop out of the back of these shoes. We had much better luck with the Five Ten Anasazi in both the fit of the heel and the overall comfort.

Sensitivity


Though the Asym has the classic and sticky C4 Stealth rubber soles, we found the stiffness of the shoe to seriously detract from the Asym's overall sensitivity. We couldn't feel the texture of the rock beneath our toes. The stiffness and overall flat shape of the Asym also made it hard to smear or toe in hard, further detracting from the shoe's performance in our sensitivity metric.

Yet another textbook smear in Fontainebleau. The Asym's were not the most confidence inspiring shoe on this kind of terrain.
Yet another textbook smear in Fontainebleau. The Asym's were not the most confidence inspiring shoe on this kind of terrain.

Edging


Where the Asym's stiffness was a detraction when it came to sensitivity, it was somewhat helpful when it came to edging. These stiff, plank-like shoes were able to hold an edge, even when we didn't trust them to. The rigidity from toe to heel provides a supportive platform for the foot that extends out perpendicular from the wall, turning tiny edges into foot ledges with a little will power and faith.

Holding an edge in the Five Ten Asym.
Holding an edge in the Five Ten Asym.

The only downside was the ill-fitting heel cup, as our heel tended to lever out of the back of the shoe when standing on small edges. This was definitely problematic when trying to climb harder, more tenuous face routes.

Crack Climbing


The design of the Asym makes it a decent option for crack climbing. It looks a lot like the Five Ten Anasazi LV, which we often use as a crack climbing shoe. The fairly neutral shape and stiff soles make the Asym a good shoe for trad climbing, where cracks and face holds are both used. The Velcro buckles are also high enough on the shoe, and placed on the inside, which improves the Asym's performance in cracks; the buckle won't rub if used on routes with continuous jamming. When it comes to finger cracks, we would recommend a more flexible shoe, as it was hard to cam these stiff shoes into small splitters.

The padded tongue and stiff soles of the Asym make it a good shoe for trad climbing  but not our top choice for straight-in jamming.
The padded tongue and stiff soles of the Asym make it a good shoe for trad climbing, but not our top choice for straight-in jamming.

Pockets


The bulky feel and stiffness of the Asym do not make these shoes our top choice for pocketed climbing. We struggled to get the Asym into small pockets in the same way we struggled to get them into finger cracks. These shoes have a stiff toe box that lacks the flexibility needed to get into pockets, especially on steep walls.

Ease of Use


The Asym has a similar closing system to the Five Ten Anasazi LV, the La Sportiva Otaki, and the Evolv Kira. All of these shoes have two Velcro straps that cover a padded mesh tongue. This design is easier to take on and off than a lace-up style shoe. That said, we had a hard time getting our foot to feel just right, especially in the heel. These challenges dissuaded us from taking the Asyms on and off frequently, or even wearing them altogether.

Yet another lip encounter in Fontainbleau. The Asym's were a good companion for this circuit  since we left them on for most of the day and didn't have to take them on and off.
Yet another lip encounter in Fontainbleau. The Asym's were a good companion for this circuit, since we left them on for most of the day and didn't have to take them on and off.

Value


While the Asym may fall short in terms of performance, it makes up for in price. With a moderately low price tag of $125, the Asym is relatively affordable. The C4 Rubber is sticky, and the overall construction of the shoe seems to be made with longevity in mind. If these fit properly, they could be a good all-arounder with a reasonable price tag.

The good news: the Asym is a relatively inexpensive shoe. The bad news: we had a few major issues with the overall design of these kicks.
The good news: the Asym is a relatively inexpensive shoe. The bad news: we had a few major issues with the overall design of these kicks.

Conclusion


The Five Ten Asym did not inspire great confidence for us during our testing period, and we had a hard time trusting the smeary, slippery feet found on the boulders in Fontainebleau. We also had issues with their low-volume fit, as it didn't fit our various testers' foot shape. The low-cut ankle and tight heel cup had our heel feeling like it was about to pop out of the back of the shoe. The Asym is best suited for climbing on vertical to lower angle terrain where stiffness underfoot is an advantage.


Jane Jackson