May 4, 2021

Five Ten Dragon Review

by Roger

If you are a bouldering enthusiast and are looking for the perfect bouldering climbing shoes, then you are in the right place. But before we get into the Five Ten Dragon Climbing Shoes Review, what are their pros and cons? If you are into steep and technical bouldering, then the 5.10 dragon may be the right climbing shoes for you. The Dragon has always been known to be the most aggressive and technical shoes that have been used by the best and most legendary climbers, the likes of Dave Graham.

The climbing shoes have been known to provide the best results even when faced with the most notorious and technical routes like the 8c+ hypnotized minds. Its pervasiveness in high-level bouldering has only been paralleled perhaps by the La Sportiva Solutions in the past decade. 2019 5.10 Dragon is a newer and improved version of the previous, much-loved model and was adapted to suit the ever-evolving needs of futuristic and modern climbing. 

The climbing shoe has proven its worth countless times, especially on overhanging and steep terrains that require aggressive downturns to hook onto footholds. Areas where sticky toe hooks are essential. Our Five Ten Dragon climbing shoes review shares the knowledge I've gathered from using these climbing shoes in the past six months. Let's dive in and find out why the five-ten dragon climbing shoes might be what you're looking for.

What we like:

  • Great for various surfaces: Gritstone slabs, technical indoor roof climbs, high intensive compression boulders.
  • Increased toe-hook capability.
  • Sensitive toe pad.
  • Great smearing ability.

What we don't like:

  • Less effective with crack climbing.
  • Not ideal for vertical climbs involving small footholds.

Five Ten Dragon Feature Highlights

The New Five Ten Dragon - there's a reason this shoe is named after such an aggressive beast. 

Five Ten Dragon toe

Feature Toe Box

To determine whether the 5.10 dragon climbing shoes were effective, I tested them on varying terrains like burly, heel-intensive compression boulders, Gritstone slabs, and technical indoor roof climbs fitted with critical toe hooks.

I learned through the experience that the shoes worked extremely well in the different scenarios. The rubber adapted into the shoe's toe significantly increased the toe hook's ability. The shoes were also quite comfortable when standing on small pebbles and tinny footholds.

The shoes' asymmetric shoelace design also made it easier and more comfortable to slap a massive toe patch, conveniently leaving reaches that extended to right up to the bottom of the laces. The toe patch was also quite sensitive and offered better protection.

The rubber added along with the lace closure system also made the eyelets sturdier and more durable, making them less likely to snap. The only scenario that wasn't very ideal was when I used them on long vertical climbs where more time was spent on small footholds.

Five Ten Dragon Heel

Feature Heel

The Five Ten Dragon climbing shoes' split sole design allows the rubber found in the toe and heel to have varying thickness making it easier to do technical climbs. The shoes have an aggressive slingshot and are made of thick rubber that goes from the midsole to the heel.

However, the shoe's thinner rubber surrounding the rand performs much better since it permits the heel to mold to your feet' shape better than a thicker and more rigid rubber. The heel's technical design works well on spikes and heel smears.

Note: If you want the shoes to work better, you'll have to wear them tighter and ensure that they fit snugly to force your heel down into the shoe. Not doing this will result in the formation of dead space around your heel.

Five Ten Dragon rubber

Feature Rubber

5.10 Dragon climbing shoes use the stealth HF (High-friction), the softest rubber that's great for overhangs where less weight is often applied to your feet. The softer rubber is also excellent for providing friction, even in cases where lesser pressure is applied through the toes.

The softer rubber increases the toe's smearing ability; however, this isn't quite the pro, especially when you are faced with aggressive downturns. The climbing shoes may also last a long time; however, this also depends on the owner, the type of walls they climb, and their footwork.

The shoe sole is also great for climbing because it wraps around it, covering most of the shoe's upper part. This provides more friction, which works better, especially if you are crack climbing. 

However, the softer sole makes you work your foot extra hard when twisting it into the cracks. This leaves your feet more tired than they would have, especially if you were using stiffer soled shoes.

Feature Comfort and Fit

The Five Ten Dragon climbing shoes contain a microfiber outer and inner fit with a soft towel-like tongue. The microfiber inner and outer has a suede feel that's breathable and odor resistant. If you have wider feet, I would recommend that you go for the street fit; however, you could go for one size down if you have narrower feet.

The 5.10 Dragon shoes' lace design allows for a varying range of width adjustments compared to Velcro designs, and my personal opinion is that the shoes would fit users with more arched feet than those with flatter feet.

The shoes don't have a break-in period because of their synthetic micro-fiber material. In this case, the break-in period is more about you becoming more comfortable with the shoe's shape and design rather than the shoe molding to your feet. This is great, especially if you find your feet comfortable from the word go.

Intended to be Fit Extremely Snugly to Achieve the Highest Level of Performance Possible

The updated "ultimate bouldering shoe" is back! It keeps the same last but with some improvements and new features. It now has a split sole, with the same thickness and stiffness in the front but with a soft midsole and thinner rubber in the heel combined with an updated heel shape. This gives more flexibility and therefore better fitting into the arch.

The Verdict

Through the Five Ten Dragon climbing shoes Review, you'll find out that this climbing shoe is a technical, modern, and aggressive shoe that offers excellent performance on toe hooks and steep terrains and also works quite well on cracks and slabs. 

These climbing shoes are great for intermediate to skilled climbers who are seriously attempting steep and technical climbs. If you are a dedicated enthusiast and are looking to invest in your mountain climbing, it would pay if you bought one or two of the 5.10 Dragon climbing shoes. Have fun climbing, and stay safe!

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About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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