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Five Ten Aleon Review

An average shoe for an enormous price
Five Ten Aleon
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $190 List | $189.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Easy on and off, pointy toe is great for pockets
Cons:  Expensive, numerous durability complaints, soft yet insensitive
Manufacturer:   Adidas Five Ten
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#25 of 34
  • Edging - 20% 6
  • Cracks - 20% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Pockets - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 20% 7

Our Verdict

Despite its name, there's nothing otherworldly about the Aleon. One of several new additions to the Five Ten line up — and also one of the priciest — the Aleon performs like a lot of other single strap shoes from the past. Although our testers do appreciate that the heel is fully encased in rubber and the extra coverage on the rand enhances toe hooking, these niceties do little to differentiate it in a crowded climbing shoe field. We acknowledge that its pointy toe is ideal for pocket climbing, but aside from that, we weren't impressed with its sensitivity or ability to edge. The Aleon is still a decent shoe, but in our view, there are far better choices at the same price point.

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Five Ten Aleon
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Five Ten Aleon
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $189.95 at Backcountry$195.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Easy on and off, pointy toe is great for pocketsVersatile, durable, comfortableGreat precision, aggressive/down turned toe tip, sensitive, great toe and heel hooking, precise fit, comfortable, easy on/offIncredible sensitivity, great edging, durabilityBest edging shoe on the market
Cons Expensive, numerous durability complaints, soft yet insensitiveExpensiveNot comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurelySpecalized use, expensive, might be hard to resoleExpensive
Bottom Line An enormous price for an average shoeAn awesome shoe for long climbs requiring a variety of crack climbing and edging techniquesA tried and true modern classic, this model excels while steep and technical climbingAn incredibly sensitive and comfortable shoe that excels at edgingThis high performance model is the ultimate balance of support and sensitivity
Rating Categories Five Ten Aleon La Sportiva Katana Lace La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Futura La Sportiva Genius
Edging (20%)
6
9
9
9
10
Cracks (20%)
7
9
8
7
6
Comfort (20%)
6
9
7
7
7
Pockets (20%)
8
8
9
9
9
Sensitivity (20%)
7
8
9
10
10
Specs Five Ten Aleon La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Futura La Sportiva Genius
Style Velcro Lace Velcro Velcro Lace
Upper Microfiber Leather/Lorica Leather / Lorica Leather/Synthetic Leather Suede leather / Microfiber
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining Textile Pacific (forefoot and back) HF in toe box and arch area only Unlined Unlined
Rubber Type Stealth C4 Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Grip 2 Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Grip2
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 4.2 mm 4 mm 4 mm 3 mm 3 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Bouldering legend Fred Nicole was apparently involved in the design...
Bouldering legend Fred Nicole was apparently involved in the design of the Aleon. Aside from this factoid, this shoe does little to distinguish itself in a crowded field.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Edging


The single hook-and-loop strap makes taking the Aleon on and off a cinch, but it doesn't provide the same secure fit as a two-strap design or lace up closure. There is thus a little more lateral play in the forefoot that reduces this shoe's edging performance. The sole of the Aleon is medium stiff, which offers better sensitivity but makes standing on small edges for long periods of time more taxing. Taking these issues into account, we don't consider this shoe very good at edging overall.

The single strap design of the Five Ten Aleon doesn't lock your foot...
The single strap design of the Five Ten Aleon doesn't lock your foot in quite as well for edging as other two strap or lace up designs.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Cracks


When sized properly, the Aleon creates a moderate downturn that's great for hooking pockets on steep terrain. Another aspect of that downturn, however, is that it necessitates a curl in the toes. With the toes curled, it is much more painful to jam them inside cracks of any size. That said, if you decide to size the Aleons large, your toes will lay flat and feel substantially more comfortable while crack climbing. With this strategy, this shoe's low-profile toe also makes it pretty effective for thin cracks, while the extra rubber on top supplies additional grip and protection.

The elastic on the upper of the Aleon is stretchier than on most...
The elastic on the upper of the Aleon is stretchier than on most shoes. This makes taking it on and off much less of a chore.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Comfort


The Aleon offers roughly average levels of comfort. Counting in its favor is the single strap hook-and-loop closure, which combines the relaxed feel of a slipper with the option to crank the shoes down tight for a particularly tricky crux. The medium stiffness of the sole enhances comfort compared to the softest shoes but doesn't provide the same support for longer pitches as many stiffer models. The biggest mark against the Aleon is the strongly asymmetrical shape of the toe. This shape helps the shoe feel more precise, but it's unlikely to fit most people's feet ergonomically.

Our favorite aspect of the Aleon is its pointy toe which makes it...
Our favorite aspect of the Aleon is its pointy toe which makes it great for sneaky inside tiny pockets.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Pockets


While the asymmetrical shape of the toe harms the Aleon's comfort, it improves its performance for using pockets. This shoe is pointier than others, which means you can get more of it inside tiny pockets. The concave sculpting of the underside of the forefoot, along with the moderate downturn of the whole shoe, also enhances your ability to pull with your toes on steeper pocketed climbs. Finally, the vertical profile of the toe is also minimal which lets you sneak it inside narrow slots. All these aspects mean that the Aleon is particularly adept for pocket climbing.

Sensitivity


Out of the box, this shoe comes with 4.2mm of Stealth C4 rubber paired with a sole of moderate stiffness. With these materials, the Aleon provides moderate sensitivity. Our testers were pleased with their ability to feel some features on smaller holds, but the performance wasn't as impressive as some shoes made with less rubber or more supple midsoles. That said, the Aleon provides better durability and support than the most sensitive models.

There are plenty of great choices for a bouldering shoe. Unless...
There are plenty of great choices for a bouldering shoe. Unless you're a Five Ten devotee, spending top dollar for the Aleons doesn't seem to make sense.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


Adidas is charging a pretty penny for the Aleon. This doesn't really make sense to us because the Aleon doesn't feel like an ultrahigh-performance shoe. And you don't have to search online very long to find numerous complaints about quality issues like the toe splitting from the sole after only limited. If you can find it on sale, however, the Aleon could still offer a reasonable value.

Conclusion


With considerable marketing hype and an Editors' Choice award from Climbing Magazine, we initially had high hopes for the FiveTen Aleon. Those hopes were dashed the moment we tried a pair on. The quality of the Aleon's feels sub-par and that's supported by a considerable set of online customer complaints. Aside from their performance in pockets, we were unimpressed in all other areas. If you're a huge fan of single strap bouldering shoes, they might be worth considering. Otherwise, their astronomical price simply doesn't seem worth it.

Jack Cramer