Five Ten Team Review
Cons: Rubber very soft, painful to wear, doesn't hold shape
Manufacturer: Five Ten
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Five Ten Team will help you send your project, once you get it on. The latest iteration comes in a new color, but with the same painted on fit and impressive capabilities on a variety of rock angles. Among similar concept shoes, it shoots for the top (but falls short) of the category beside the La Sportiva Solution, La Sportiva Futura, and the Evolv Shaman.
The edging ability of this shoe depends a lot on the toughness of your toes. When weighted, the shoe does not hold its shape and relies on your foot for structure. Fortunately, the STEALTH HF rubber is insanely sticky and thin. The thinness of the STEALTH HF rubber enables you to feel and cling onto small features well. Again, this style of climbing depends a lot on foot strength. The Team looks the part, down-turned and asymmetric, but forces you to climb as if it were a much flatter shoe. Overall, it ranks fairly low in the edging department.
This shoe lacks sufficient rigidity to stand in cracks, and the velcro, though lower profile than some systems, gets in the way. The toe being almost entirely encased in rubber does let you get away with decent toe jams.
The Team deforms too much under pressure to really perform well in pockets. The toe is down-turned enough and well-shaped, but is betrayed by the flimsiness of the rubber. If your local crag has a ton of pocket climbing, check out the Tenaya Tarifa; the pointier toe make it veritable pocket climbing machine.
The thin STEALTH HF rubber makes this shoe incredibly sensitive. If it were a slightly flatter shoe with the same smearing performance, it would be an incredible slab climbing platform. It does well on granite where a combination of high friction and features you can feel through the rubber brings out the best in this shoe.
No hyperbole was used in describing the tightness of the Team, they are a battle to get on and a relief to take off. You will very likely be pulling on the heel tabs while being lowered off the climb. High-performance shoes and pain are no longer inseparable concepts. The Evolv Shaman and La Sportiva Solution among others offer exceptional function without completely sacrificing comfort.
For our money, the Team has too narrow a range in terrain, but if you are looking for a very specific shoe for your local climbing areas, it might be for you. The upper is durable enough, but the rubber, in spite of how well it sticks to everything, is likely to wear out quickly due to being so thin.
The Team thrives on granite (plentiful in Five Ten's home state of California), and steep to overhanging bouldering and climbing where the super sticky rubber will enable spidermanesque smearing. Though Five Ten is headed in the right direction with the concept, they haven't developed the rubber to match it yet. With the introduction of technology such as La Sportiva's P3-Permanent Power Platform, which enables the shoes to hold their down turned shape, Five Ten will be ready to compete in that arena. Until then, for a diversely capable shoe that thrives in a multitude of steep sport, and bordering scenarios, go with the Shaman or Solution.
— Thomas Greene
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