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Five Ten Anasazi VCS Review
Cons: Not the best edging shoe, velcro can hurt in cracks
Bottom line: This classic model is a great choice for beginners who want a shoe that will offer good performance as their technique improves.
The Anasazi VCS is more at home on granite than welded tuff or limestone pockets. They trade in a little in the edging department for their incredible sensitivity. When contrasted to the La Sportiva Skwama, La Sportiva Solution, or La Sportiva Katana Lace, the Anasazi VCS feels soft, lacking the pinpoint accuracy of La Sportiva shoes. They compensate for this deficit in the edging department with their incredibly sticky rubber, easily the best on the market. The 5.10 Anasazi VCS is the unicorn of the climbing world: a hyper precise all-around crusher that doesn't hurt so much you want to throw it off a cliff. Eminently comfortable without being sloppy, these shoes manage to be both decently stiff and incredibly sensitive. This shoe allows the climber to feel virtually every feature in the rock, making even micro features feel like ledges. They offer all the sensitivity of your gym socks with enough rigidity for standing in the gnarliest of cracks. On anything other than the worst foot jams, you won't even notice the velcro.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on 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 (the luxury of testing shoes) that you notice any deficiency. This shoe excels where friction is king, completely at home on Joshua Tree granite. You start to notice the difference on small edges on slick rock. The Anasazi feels like it could get spit off, forcing 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. Our Editors' Choice award winner, the La Sportiva Genius does a much better job making use of the micro features found on difficult granite slabs.
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 is very comfortable. If your local crags have a ton of traditional climbing, it might be worth looking into the La Sportiva TC Pro or La Sportiva Mythos as alternatives.
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 room you've got. The shoe is also flat, meaning that at a certain angle it just can't hold on anymore. The Scarpa Vapor V is a great all-arounder that picks up where flatter shoes such as the Anasazi VCS and TC Pro start to fall short.
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. If you have a narrow foot, check out the Tenaya Tarifa, an edging machine that is also supremely sensitive.
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. This would be a great multi-pitch granite trad or sport shoe, An even better choice for all day climbing is this year's Top Pick for comfort, the Five Ten Quantum.
Make sure these shoes fit well right out of the box, as they stretch out very little even when well worn-in.
This contender makes a great beginner's shoe. Minimal to no suffering is required during the wear-in period, and they perform extremely well at just one size down from normal. Use them at your favorite granite crag for sport or trad. They didn't perform as well on edges as other shoes but still climb well everywhere. For an all-arounder with better edging, we'd recommend the Scarpa Vapor V, or the Scarpa Instinct; both offer a downturned toe and slightly harder rubber.
A few internet searches have advertised these shoes for considerably less than their list price of $165. If you find them at that lower price, you'd be stoked. We can't say they're a great value compared to the Best Buy Award winner, the La Sportiva Skwama, whose modern design allows for better performance and more comfort for $165.
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
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