Five Ten Aleon Review
Cons: Expensive, numerous durability complaints, soft yet insensitive
Manufacturer: Adidas Five Ten
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Five Ten Aleon
$190.00 at Amazon
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|Pros||Easy on and off, pointy toe is great for pockets||Versatile, stiff, durable, comfortable||Extremely precise toe, extra heel sensitivity, comfortable for an aggressive shoe||Comfortable design, respectable edging, low-profile toe, excellent price||Affordable, flat midsole is comfortable all day, well-balanced performance across many areas|
|Cons||Expensive, numerous durability complaints, soft yet insensitive||Expensive, limited sensitivity||Pricey, tall toe box, too narrow for some feet||Mediocre precision, subpar on the steeps, somewhat insensitive||Insensitive, imprecise fit, ineffective design for steep terrain|
|Bottom Line||An enormous price tag for an overall average performing shoe||This stiff shoe is an all-day crack climbing workhorse that also performs well on edges and slabs||An ultra-high-end shoe that could put you on the podium of your climbing competition||Decent overall climbing performance at an affordable price make these a sold choice||An entry-level shoe ideal for beginners that comes at an awesomely low price|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Aleon||La Sportiva Katana...||La Sportiva Solutio...||La Sportiva Finale||La Sportiva Tarantu...|
|Steep Terrain (20%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Aleon||La Sportiva Katana...||La Sportiva Solutio...||La Sportiva Finale||La Sportiva Tarantu...|
|Upper||Microfiber||Leather/Lorica||Leather / microfiber||Eco Leather / microfiber||Leather/Synthetic|
|Lining||Textile||Pacific (forefoot and back)||Pacific, lycra||Unlined||None|
|Rubber Type||Stealth C4||Vibram XS Edge||Vibram XS Grip2||Vibram XS Edge||FriXion RS|
|Rubber Thickness (millimeters)||4.2 mm||4 mm||4 mm||5 mm||5 mm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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 Aleon 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 Aleon offers near-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.
While the asymmetrical shape of the toe harms the comfort of the Aleon, it improves its performance for steep climbing. This shoe is pointier than most, 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 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 at overhanging climbing.
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.
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.
With considerable marketing hype and an Editors' Choice award from Climbing Magazine, we 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
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