Five Ten Anasazi VCS Review
Cons: Not the best edging shoe, velcro can hurt in cracks
Manufacturer: Five Ten
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Anasazi VCS holds an edge, and when you're wearing them, you feel like they could climb anything. It's only when you wear multiple shoes in a short period of time (the luxury of testing shoes) that you notice any deficiencies. This shoe excels where friction is king, completely at home on the gritty crystals of Joshua Tree. You start to notice the difference on small edges on slick rock. The Anasazi feels like it could get spit you off, which forces you to adapt your climbing style to be very over your feet. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not a game-ender, more of a disclaimer to consider.
Though the rubber is a little on the soft side for cracks and the velcro closure can get in the way, the shoe is surprisingly adept on this terrain. The velcro is high enough on the shoe that it's only an issue on the wide stuff. The buckles on the inside can be painful if pressed on, and you won't feel inspired to stand around in a crack if that's happening. Overall, the shoe is sufficiently rigid to withstand significant torquing in jams and standing flat in cracks can be very comfortable if it's shallow enough that the velcro isn't a problem.
We all have styles of climbing that are hard for us, and pockets are it for the Anasazi VCS. The softer, semi-rounded toe does well on pockets that are the right size at not too steep of an angle. Anything smaller than three fingers, and this shoe starts to require some creative twisting to mush the toe into whatever opening there is. The shoe is also flat, meaning that as steepness increases, it loses its effectiveness.
The ONYXX rubber used on this shoe is not only very sticky, it also allows you to feel virtually every feature in the rock. The Anasazi VCS accomplishes this without losing shape or relying on the climber's foot for structure; this at the expense of some edging ability. This shoe is in a tiny club regarding its incredible performance on granite slab and face climbs where friction rules.
Out of the box, this is one of the most comfortable high-end shoes we tested. A flat foot and slightly rounded toe don't compromise its performance at all and greatly increase its all-day wearability. We would recommend this shoe as a great beginner shoe for its excellent all-around performance combined with enough comfort to encourage daily trips to the gym or crag.
With a little internet searching, it's sometimes possible to find these shoes for considerably less than their list price. If you find them at that lower price, you'd be stoked.
The Anasazi VCS sits among some great company in the competition for the title of best all-around climbing shoe. With only a very marginal difference in price, it comes down to what fits your foot the best and where you'll be climbing. This shoe would be a better choice for granite, gneiss, gritstone, and sandstone. It would also be a great beginner shoe, offering a comfortable platform that will likely stay ahead of you grade limit for a few seasons.
— Matt Bento