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Five Ten Quantum Review
Cons: Doesn't edge well, some testers preferred a stiffer shoe for long days
Bottom line: This shoe combines comfort and performance for all day vertical travel.
Upper: Clarino Synthetic
Manufacturer: Five Ten
The Quantum is an aggressive looking shoe designed for all day sending. The comfy-ness of this shoe cannot be overstated. We wore it pitch after pitch despite the aggro downturned toe… or maybe because of the downturn! Compared to stiff, all day classics like the TC Pro or the Scarpa Vapor V, the Quantum is soft, supple, and sensitive, and the downturn allows your feet to reel you into the wall on steep terrain. Sensitivity comes with a price, and our testers paid for it with burning calves on long, less than vertical slab and knob pitches in Tuolumne Meadows.
Not to be confused with old Five Ten Quantum (a more aggressive purple colored lace-up similar to the Five Ten Arrowhead), these shoes were designed with input from the mighty Huber Brothers. Alex and Thomas are masters of El Cap granite, steep limestone, and even free climbing in the sub zero conditions of Antarctica. Our testers were curious to see what they would put into a shoe, and it seems like comfort and sensitivity are high priorities for the brothers.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
These shoes are on the soft side compared to stiffer models like the Scarpa Instinct, the Scarpa Vapor V, and the Butora Acro.
While the Quantums are sensitive, our testers felt that they gave a sloppy performance on small edges, and more prone to roll off when they pressed down hard. Additionally, our feet felt tired after long pitches on golden Tuolumne knobs, where we are often completely on our toes on less than vertical terrain. However, we know a few climbers out there with strong feet who want to spend their days in a more sensitive shoe. They also don't mind standing on their powerful toes on long pitches. These kicks are for you.
The Quantums are built on a new, extra wide last, so our wide footed testers were all smiles as they jammed and torqued their way up classic Yosemite hand cracks and off widths.
The toe isn't as low volume as the toe on the La Sportiva Skwama or the Scarpa Vapor V, and won't wiggle into the thinnest of finger cracks quite as well. The soft, sensitive Stealth C4 rubber makes for good rand smearing, proving this shoe to be a nice choice for multi-pitch outings with a variety of crack sizes where all day comfort is essential. The lacing system that ensures a secure fit also feels more comfortable in hand cracks than shoes with hard buckles for velcro straps.
Compared to large pocket pullers like the Tenaya Tarifa, the Quantums are too blunt to gain maximum purchase in in small pockets like narrower, pointy-toed models.
Wide footed testers preferred the Butora Acro for pocketed climbing because it's stiffer and edges better on the lip of shallow pockets. The Quantums felt too soft on vertical pocketed climbs where edging is important. However, the slight downturn is advantageous when the pockets are large enough to toe in on steep climbs, allowing our testers to pull into the wall and hold on a little longer.
An initial visual inspection reveals a thick layer of C4 rubber, appearing almost as thick as the rubber on the Evolv Shamans, and our testers thought these shoes would climb like bricks. We were wrong. The Quantum offered great sensitivity - right out of the box.
We took them out for their first test drive up a new route on the east side of Yosemite's Middle Cathedral Rock, where we encountered face climbing on edges and ripples. The Quantum let us feel it all as we smeared our way up unfamiliar terrain. Though they didn't edge as well as the Tenaya Tarifa on knob climbs in Tuolumne, they did allow us to feel every edge and crystal foot hold. Where a stiffer shoe like the TC Pro offers more support for all day action, we appreciated the Quantums more sensitive approach to sending. The super sticky C4 rubber performed well on slick Yosemite granite. Despite some unsettling squeaky noises, our feet stayed put on glassy holds at Sentinel Creek, and water polished faces at the Tioga crag.
These wide shoes kept our fat footed testers happy, and they are the most comfortable shoes in this year's line up. The Quantums are the widest model in this year's model, and our testers who liked the narrow Tenaya Tarifa felt the Quantums were too wide and tended to roll in cracks.
The tongue is made from a perforated material called ariaprene. While thin, it creates a nice padding against the top of the foot, so you can crank down on the laces, and your foot feels protected in hand and fist cracks. The heel felt slightly baggy on our lead tester when compared to the La Sportiva Genius and the Scarpa Instinct, but the lack of tension on the heel is comfortable on the Achilles. We sized the Quantums the same as our street shoes and were happy with the results on long climbs. A half size down might make these shoes better for harder climbing, but would compromise the comfort factor, which is paramount for a great day of climbing. With these shoes, there's no need to bail because your feet hurt.
The Quantums feel most at home on granite, where the sticky C4 rubber can smear on featureless slabs or twist into cracks. The wide fit makes this shoe an excellent choice for multi-pitch climbs where you'll need a shoe that can do everything pretty well, doesn't specialize in one style, and feels super comfy. Additionally, the lacing system allows you to adjust the fit throughout the day as your feet swell, or you need to tighten the laces down for a difficult pitch. The Quantums are a good choice for charging up the big granite monoliths of Yosemite, where you'll encounter a smorgasbord of crack sizes and puzzling sequences, and you won't stand a chance if your feet hurt.
$184.95 puts the Quantums on the more expensive side of this season's selection, but still less expensive than our Editors' Choice Award winner, the La Sportiva Genius. While we don't do any specific durability testing, the Quantums show no signs of damage after many pitches of crack climbing. After many days of lacing and unlacing, we didn't notice any damage to the lace holes, and the thick toe rand and basic design look like they would fare well in the hands of a skilled resoler. If you're looking to save some dough, check out our Best Buy Award winner, the LaSportiva Skwama. The Skwama isn't as comfortable as the Quantum, but it climbs well on a variety of rock types and angles.
If you're tired of climbing in stiff, insensitive shoes, and your toes of steel think they can handle something softer and more sensitive for all-day rock climbing action, check out the Quantum. Wide footed climbers will find this versatile shoe incredibly comfortable. Climbers on the lookout for a more supportive shoe should consider the Scarpa Vapor V, a narrower, stiffer shoe that excels in cracks. We couldn't help but think about the Huber Brothers raging up El cap while we wore them. If they're good enough for the Huber Brothers, they're good enough for us.
— Matt Bento
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