April 29, 2021

Five Ten Anasazi VCS Review

by Kevin

The Five Ten Anasazi VCS climbing shoes are among the best-selling performance footwear in Europe. They provide sensitivity and are a powerful companion for sport climbing. Deservedly, Five Ten Anasazi VCS has its place in our list of the 10 best intermediate climbing shoes.

What's more, the Anasazi VCS is one of the best climbing shoes for vertical terrain. It is an incredible blend of comfort, edging, sturdiness and capability. This climbing shoe does not give up performance for comfort or vice versa, making it exceptional, as most high-performance footwear forces the user to choose between the two. 

Our Ten Anasazi VCS Climbing shoe review also confirmed that it might not be ideal for overhung terrain issues, steep routes, and bouldering. It is not highly aggressive, which restricts it from acquiring the suitable hold on overhung footholds. 

What we like:

  • The Anasazi VCS is a durable pair since they take a long time to wear.
  • The flat sole is handy if you want to place your toes in tiny holds, which is why it is suitable for edging.
  • The comfy heel features a generous amount of rubber ideal for heel hooking.

What we don't like:

  • It does not excel at the pocket for footholds.
  • The thin leather doesn't shield your toes. 

Five Ten Anasazi VCS Feature Highlights

The Anasazi offers a blend of sensitivity and support for full days of climbing or steep routes.

Anasazi VCS Climbing Shoe Toe

Feature Toe Box

The Anasazi VCS toe box is precisely designed for both precision and comfort. They are slightly downturned and have a flat last. These two features combined make this climbing shoe relatively comfy, which is rather reassuring than having to wear uncomfortable shoes as you work out in the gym. 

Another thing we loved about the Anasazi VCS is the edging ability, which pinpoints the small footholds. This makes this shoe suitable for slab climbing. Toe hooking was one of the few things we didn't like doing with the Anasazi VCS. The toe rand features a small amount of rubber, which is not really helpful in toe hooking. 

The faux upper is somewhat low-volume; therefore, at some point, you will feel all the weight on your toes. We concluded that the Anasazi VCS was created for comfort and high performance. Toe hooking might be an issue while wearing this shoe, but there are almost no toe hooks on slabs or vertical routes, which might be why they do not have an upper made of rubber. 

Considering how good this climbing shoe is at edging, it's obvious that the Anasazi has knife-like precision. The toe box's point is ideally aligned with your big toe's tip, and the rigidity of the rubber allows you to focus your weight on one part of the foot without having to bend the shoe excessively or slide off a foothold.

Five Ten Anasazi VCS Heel

Feature Heel

The Anasazi shoe line-up typically features high-tensioned heels, but the VCS is the exception. They generate a drag effect that develops a snug fit and is handy in focusing power on the forefoot. 

Even though the VCS heel has reduced tension than the Anasazi lace, this climbing shoe still develops a snug and comfy fit. While we did not need it for our slab projects, the shoe features a lot of rubber across the heel, making it ideal for technical heel hooking. 

We wore these climbing shoes for a long bouldering adventure when testing them, not knowing how they would perform. However, if you size them properly, half or one size up for a high-performance fit, they are excellent for smearing. 

Also, thanks to their flat sole, they performed slightly above average on steep rocks. If you have ever used any pair of climbing shoes from the Anasazi line-up, you know they are not very sensitive. However, they become more sensitive as you use them, making them ideal for smearing, and edging.

Anasazi VCS Climbing Shoe Rubber

Feature Rubber

The VCS piece de resistance is their sole. It is built from one 3.5mm C4 rubber piece, and it is among the many features that make it a favorite for most climbers. Truth be told, there is nothing to dislike about this rubber. 

We used the Anasazi VCS on almost every climbing surface there is, from sandstone to limestone and plastic, and they performed exemplary well on all of them. 

Honestly, there are numerous occasions where we were climbing vertical and slabs, and the edging and gripping ability of these climbing shoes gave us the poise to attempt standing and to maneuver those small holds.

Typically, we normally do these using more versatile and softer climbing shoes. After using them for long hours every day for more than seven months, the area around the toe started wearing, and I took them to be resoled using the same rubber. Now they are as good as new. 

The Stealth C4 rubber is infamous for offering excellent rigidity, stickiness, and durability. After a short break-in period, the rubber begins stretching and making the shoe great for smearing. Also, this shoe is not extremely aggressive, meaning you will not need to resist the downturn when you're smearing, thus making it more tolerable than it would be if you were using more aggressive climbing shoes.

Feature Comfort and Fit

The Anasazi VCS is extremely comfortable for a high-performance shoe. They deliver a snug fit, not a tight one, and they are non-aggressive, which is why they are comfortable to wear for long hours. Also, they are perfect for multi-pitch climbing adventures, where you require having your shoes on for a long time. Before entirely breaking in, they were a bit uncomfortable and tight, and we could not keep them on for more than an hour. 

Nevertheless, once you break in, you should be able to keep them on for a long time. Like most synthetic climbing shoes, the Five Ten Anasazi climbing shoes begin to smell after some time. Faux materials are not as breathable as genuine leather; thus, it is normally moisture build-up, precisely sweat, that results in smelly shoes. To deal with the smell, we usually sprayed our climbing shoes after every adventure. 

Additionally, the synthetic fabric does not stretch lengthwise. This means that you either choose the same size as your street shoe or downsize it by half a size when it comes to fitting. As a result, your climbing shoe will fit perfectly. Once out of the box, they will be a little tight. Nonetheless, this shoe will form into your foot's shape well after some time, but it should not be too tight when new. This is because the synthetic material stretches minimally. 

Some users have said that they have had problems with the heel fitting loosely or slipping out. However, when testing them, we found that this should not be an issue once you size them properly. Since the heel is abruptly cupped, it generally generates forward pressure on your toes and foot, meaning your toes will be relatively curled as a result. This is deliberate, and it is handy in making you edge impressively when wearing it. 

Easy-entry Climbing Shoes

Built for All-around Performance

The Five Ten Anasazi VCS is an all-round climbing shoe designed to be a little different: the Anasazi VCS features a flat profile, making it one of the most comfortable "all-round" shoes on the market. Not only that, it's incredibly sensitive. On edges and smears on long multi-pitch routes, or on granite crack climbs and trad routes with low friction, the Anasazi VCS will undoubtedly reassure you that comfort is sometimes the key to success.

The Verdict

After testing the Anasazi VCS climbing shoes, we can confidently say that they are for climbers who prefer climbing on vertical routes more than overhung routes. Also, they are for climbers looking for a high-performance yet comfortable shoe that excels at edging. 

Besides, they perform well in multi-pitch climbing since they are durable climbing shoes and stiff. If you prefer climbing on overhung, steep routes, or bouldering, this climbing shoe is not suitable for you. It's a non-aggressive shoe meaning that it does not do well if the angle is more than 90 degrees. 

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About the author 


Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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