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Five Ten Grandstone Review

A softer trad shoe that's ideal for all-day jamming
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Price:  $180 List | $179.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Padded high-top upper, svelte toe box, sensitive for a trad shoe
Cons:  Expensive, roomy heel, limited support
Manufacturer:   Five Ten
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 18, 2020
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 32
  • Edging - 20% 7
  • Cracks - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Pockets - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 20% 7

Our Verdict

Crack climbing is cool. And crack climbing is painful. These two facts pretty much explain the growing popularity of high-top trad shoes and the reintroduction of the Five Ten Grandstone. The high-top upper and neutral sole of the Grandstone protects your foot to provide maximum comfort during torquing crack jams. The stiffness of these shoes also contributes to their impressive edging performance. Of this group, the Grandstone happens to be one of the softer models, which boosts its sensitivity considerably. It also sports a slim toe box that makes it easier to slip it into thin cracks. The biggest downside may be the price, which doesn't quite comport with its light-duty construction. The Grandstone is still a great shoe, but at full price, there are probably better deals for a crack-specific climbing shoe.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


There was a multi-year gap in production between the discontinuation of the old Grandstones (right) and the launch of the updated version (left). We're fans of every one of the significant changes.
There was a multi-year gap in production between the discontinuation of the old Grandstones (right) and the launch of the updated version (left). We're fans of every one of the significant changes.

Edging


We've now tried several pairs of trad-oriented shoes from different manufacturers. The Five Ten Grandstones distinguish themselves by having the softest soles of the bunch. Compared to the average climbing shoe, we would still describe them as stiff, but there is noticeably more flex than you get with the La Sportiva TC Pro or other high-top crack shoes. On the one hand, this improves sensitivity. On the other, it has a slightly negative impact on edging performance. These are still effective edging shoes, but at our absolute limit, we might opt for a stiffer pair with a more precise toe.

Although the forefoot isn't as stiff as other trad shoes  it still provides an effective platform for marginal edges.
Although the forefoot isn't as stiff as other trad shoes, it still provides an effective platform for marginal edges.

Crack Climbing


Weaknesses in the rock are the Grandstone's primary strength. The padded leather upper supplies extra protection during sustained crack jams, while the barrel lacing design shields the purple strings from getting shredded. Compared to many other trad shoes, the toe box is rather svelte. This makes it easier to slide more rubber into thinner cracks. This still probably isn't the best shoe for sub-0.75" cracks, but for anything larger, it's sure to be comfortable and effective.

You might not appreciate the ankle protection supplied by a high-top shoe until there's a wide crack looming above.
You might not appreciate the ankle protection supplied by a high-top shoe until there's a wide crack looming above.

Pockets


The sole of the Grandstone features a slight downturn from the heel to the toe. Our testers believe this modestly enhances its usefulness on steep terrain, but without significant harm to comfort. The toe box is average in terms of height and bluntness, and correspondingly average for utilizing pockets. Towards the back of the shoe, the sole becomes softer and there is a bit of extra roominess in the heel. This provides welcome relief to the testers whose heels have suffered while wearing other high-top trad shoes. However, spaciousness of the heel may not be appreciated by anyone hoping to heel hook in these trad daddies.

The Grandstones bend in half much easier than many other shoes marketed specifically for crack climbing.
The Grandstones bend in half much easier than many other shoes marketed specifically for crack climbing.

Sensitivity


One of the most common complaints about stiff trad shoes is a lack of sensitivity. The relative softness of the Five Ten Grandstones addresses this issue to a moderate degree. Although they don't offer the same sensitivity as an ultra-soft bouldering shoe, the enhanced sensations they transmit is a nice improvement over many other crack-specific shoes. Beware, however, that extra sensitivity is not necessarily a good thing during painful crack jams.

The Grandstone provides extra sensitivity for feeling footholds  but the reduced support can contribute to premature foot fatigue.
The Grandstone provides extra sensitivity for feeling footholds, but the reduced support can contribute to premature foot fatigue.

Comfort


As we alluded, the added sensitivity of these shoes is a double-edged sword. It improves your ability to feel the rock, while making crack jams feel more painful. Our testers observed this most on hand-size and wider cracks where the lateral flexibility of the sole supplied inferior support and protection. This criticism, however, is only valid relative to other stiff, trad-specific shoes. Compared to the average climbing shoe, the Grandstones are exceptionally comfortable. In fact, the slight downturn and spacious heel cup make them some of our favorite footwear for long, varied multi-pitch climbs.

Opinions split on the shape of this shoe's heel. Some thought that its roominess enhanced comfort while others complained that it made the fit feel too sloppy.
Opinions split on the shape of this shoe's heel. Some thought that its roominess enhanced comfort while others complained that it made the fit feel too sloppy.

Value


The Grandstones are priced similarly to other premium crack climbing shoes, and relative tho these rivals we think they present a slightly lower value. The reason is that the construction of the Grandstones is lighter and softer, so we believe they won't hold up as well to long-term abuse. However, we also think you're more likely to find these and other Five Ten shoes on sale. If you can score a good discount, they should turn into a great deal.

Conclusion


The selection of high-top trad shoes has grown rapidly in recent years. The Five Ten Grandstone presents a nice addition to the field. Its softer, more flexible sole addresses the chief complaint made about many of its competitors — that they're too insensitive. In our tests, however, we discovered that the added sensitivity also leads to added foot pain during sustained crack jamming. Nevertheless, the Grandstones manage to fill a nice middle ground between an ultra-stiff trad model and an ordinary rock climbing shoe.

Jack Cramer