May 6, 2021

Five Ten Team Review

by Kevin

The Five Ten Team climbing shoes are customized for only one purpose, to conquer steep boulders. It has a design that prioritizes areas that enhance its performance. However, this comes at the expense of comfort, and the soft rubber affects the shoes' lifespan. It is the perfect shoe for someone looking for elite performance. The Five Ten Team (5.10) climbing shoe birders on the extremes and is full of superlatives in every aspect. 

It replaces the previous holder of the position the classic Blues as Teams' premier shoe at the highest level of bouldering. That shoe which had built a cultic following, has undergone upgrading, and its latest iteration is the 5.10 team. With its slick and professional black looks, the 5.10 Team has emerged to be the yardstick of elite-level bouldering activity.

Of course, it suffers from the shortcomings any shoe built with such specialization would suffer from. Yet, it was only ever meant to be a performance bouldering shoe, and in that, it does not disappoint. There are four aspects that are at the center of its performance, and we will look into them in more detail. This Five Ten Team review looks at how the shoe performs in all these metrics. 

What we like:

  • Excellent toe hooking ability.
  • Classy design.
  • Excellent smearing ability.

What we don't like:

  • Not comfortable.
  • Can suffer from deformation.
  • Steep bouldering and sport climbing.

Five Ten Team Feature Highlights

This “secret weapon” of a shoe features ultra-thin STEALTH HF™ rubber that lets you feel the rock like never before.

Five Ten Team Toe

Feature Toe Box

The Five Ten Team has the most aesthetic toe box of any climbing shoe. It is only befitting then that this is one area that significantly adds to the shoe's performance. First, the toe has a pointed but broad, almost spade-like profile. It also has a minor bump feature under the toes. 

These two features add intensity to the smearing ability on the show, especially on the low angle volumes. There is also an improvement in the shoe's edging ability, especially where dive in the rocks will not be forthcoming.

Since the shoe does not have an aggressive downturn, the small bump augments its hooking ability. This extra hooking ability allows you to gain footholds, especially when handling overhanging bouldering. 

Once the shoe is broken in, you also can generate movement from the foot with minimal contact. Another feature is the Stealth rubber which wraps the shoe from the toe box up to the mid-section of the shoe. The result is a glove effect that enhances toe hooking in all kinds of environments giving that extra bit of rubber contact that helps you attain controlled movement.

Five Ten Team Heel

Feature Heel

Unlike its toe box, the heel of the five-ten assumes a compact and slim profile. This aspect has both its positives and its setbacks. The main positive is that the slip size allows you to fit your foot in slots and pockets that otherwise chunkier shoes would not fit.

On the flip side, some user reviews point to a tendency for the shoe to be deformed, especially when you use the shoes sideways. Some find this design to be a bit frustrating. The heel, however, proves effective in most circumstances. 

Further, the aggressive design and size maintain the tension between the shoe and foot, so it doesn't need much tightening of the Velcro strap to secure the heel. While there may be misgivings regarding the suitability of the heel, it still carries its weight in ensuring the shoe performs well even in hard bouldering environments.

Five Ten Team Rubber

Feature Rubber

After the toe box, the rubber on the 5.10 Team is the next star performer in terms of impact on performance. The shoe uses C4 stealth rubber, and this gives it an edge over other competing shoes. 

The rubber is excellently grippy; it may even be a tad too much. Such is the sticking power that if you are in the habit of dragging the back foot up a wall, it will attach to things. Another good quality of the rubber is that it breaks in after a fairly short duration. 

Even then, it does prove to be quite tight and even pinchy, but in due time it shows its excellent sensitivity. The only downside with such attributes of soft rubber is that it cuts down on the shoe's lifespan.

Feature Comfort and Fit

From the outset, you should know that this is not a comfortable shoe. Once you understand that, then everything else is perfect, and you can easily appreciate the qualities of the shoe. The primary purpose of the shoe's design is to be able to stick at non-existent hooks, especially on steep boulders. 

The demands of such a performance-centered design mean some areas will lose out, and, in this case, comfort was the sacrifice. So aggressive are the shoes that you will even struggle with getting your feet inside at the first time. The shoes run small, so finding a shoe size can be tricky and will also depend on your preferences. If you are to pick a shoe size, plan to scale up from your street shoe size to 1 size up. Ladies can easily opt for men's shoes with half a size up. 

If you prefer your climbing shoes to have an aggressive fit, then you can go only half a size up or even work with your street size. However, if you want a slightly comfortable fit, then consider going at least a full-size up. Even with your preferences, you still must factor in the breaking-in period of the 5.10 Team shoe. 

The break-in period for these shoes will be the most discomforting you have ever had. If you do not have experience breaking in aggressive shoes, you should go for a larger size to lessen the pain. It will take time before you can even spend three hours with the shoe at home.

The good thing, though, is that once they break-in, you can enjoy these shoes' superb performance, especially their hypersensitivity. In the beginning, it may be hard to pick on this quality as your toes are in pain.

Unparalleled Control for Microscopic Edges and Invisible Smears

The Five Ten Team is a high-end bouldering and sport climbing shoe capable of handling a variety of angles and rock types, ranging from granite boulders and steep, limestone sport routes, to more technical, vertical climbs.

With the modified entry in the new black model, any intermediate or advanced sport climber or boulderer looking for a well-rounded performance shoe geared for precision footwork—or one specifically for toe hooking—should definitely check out the Team 5.10.

The Verdict

The Five Ten Team climbing shoes are not for anyone, especially those to whom supreme comfort is necessary for climbing shoes

However, for that person seeking a step up in climbing performance, they are a perfect choice. There is a reason why elite sport climbers choose them both in competition and outdoor environments; they are genuine difference-maker. 

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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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