Amendment: Big Stone (distributors of Five Ten and Arctery'x - www.bigstone.co.uk) have just informed us that the new Anasazi is now available and they have shipped to the UK's independent climbing shops including Outside, Lakes Climber, Needlesports, V12 Outdoor, Crag X and Rock and Run, amongst others. See the BUY BAR at the base of this review.
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Here Tom Dixon takes a close look at the new Five Ten Anasazi V2 and also gives us a bit of a history lesson.
I've been looking forward to writing this review for some time now, always having been a big fan of the Anasazi line of shoes produced by Five Ten, which obviously makes me something of a rarity! First though let's take a quick look back at where this shoe came from and what made its predecessors so successful.
THE PINKSThe original Anasazi lace up or 'The Pink' as it came to be known and loved by the climbing community was the shoe which set the modern standard and by which climbing shoes are now judged. What really gave the Pink such a universal appeal was its versatility coming from the superb balance it achieved between sensitivity and edging support. Here was a shoe with which you could stand on a dime edge or minute pebble and then happily rely on to stick to the most insecure of sloping footholds. The heel of the Pink was always a point of contention, it had loads of tension across the Achilles which was great (I'll explain why in a bit), though there was tons of dead space in the rest of the heel cup, even when worn as tight as they would go these shoes never really felt a close fit at the back.
OK, the tension in the heel: this basically rams your foot forward into the front of the shoe delivering more power through the toe and meaning it maintains this level of performance as the shoe stretches and breaks in a bit. Ask yourself how many people you see with shoes which simply bend back off a foothold like a pair of trainers as their shoes have stretched too much and don't offer them enough support anymore? To cap all of this off Five Ten had the soles that everyone believed in, Charles Cole's revolutionary, Stealth C4 rubber. The chess playing, big wall climbing Charles Cole founded Five Ten back in 1985 and he's still there at the helm and designing shoes. There are many people who maintain that Stealth C4 rubber is still the best blend on the market (myself included) even though more modern rubbers have been introduced.
Both Steve McClure and Sonnie Trotter wore the new Anasazis on their ascents of Rhapsody E11. © Hot Aches
To summarise, more people sent more hard routes and boulder problems in a pair of Pinks than any other shoe ever and I don't need to conduct a survey to tell you that.
THE VERDEAfter a fairly successful revamp of the Velcro Anasazi in which Five Ten introduced their new Onyx rubber, and also the new heel design dubbed Magic Fingers, the Pink followed suit with the Anasazi Verde. The new design eliminated the previous dead space at the bottom of the heel making for a much closer and more sensitive fit. However, after trying the Verde I wasn't particularly blown away. A few things were amiss from the feel of the old Pink. After talking to quite a few people on the subject there was a bit of a common theme with the Verde, the fit seems a bit roomier and that edging performance seems to have been lost. This was a symptom of the toe being a little softer than before and also a lack of tension in the heel meaning these shoes don't hold your foot forwards as much, so you loose support.
New Anasazi: Available Now
© Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com
The Five Ten Anasazi V2This is where I am happy to introduce to you the Anasazi V2 (version 2) not only is the name more like my usual bouldering grade but it's white too reminding me of suits worn on Miami Vice in the 80's - the height of cool if you ask me!. So they look chic, but how do they perform?
PERFORMANCEWell Five Ten in their wisdom have reinstated that heel biting tension and stiffened up the toe so that once again you can happily stand on coins glued to the wall, though they do feel hard out of the box and definitely require a bit of breaking in before they start to feel really good. I don't see this in anyway as a bad thing however as shoes stretched around your feet and worn nice and snug perform better - which is what people buying a pair of these are looking for.
In order to maintain the heel tension Five Ten have used a double rand, so even when they break in it'll take a fair while before they stretch too much. I've found this shoe to perform really well on edges and smears alike making it really versatile. This kind of flatter lasted performance shoe has been superseded by down turned shoes like the Five Ten Dragon, Scarpa Booster or La Sportiva Solution when it comes to really steep overhanging terrain but where these shoes start to falter on slabs and vertical walls the Anasazi Version 2 excels whilst being able to turn its hand to roofs as well, making for a superb all rounder.
If you have a narrower foot then it's definitely worth trying a pair of the V2's as you can crank the laces right in to make a for a really secure fit. I'm happy to see the return of Stealth C4 on this shoe and know that I'm not alone in saying this, it looks, for the moment, like Five Ten are continuing with the Verde so you can have your choice of soles and stiffness. Now we just need to get them to make the V10 again and everyone's a winner. (continued below>
Five Ten Anasazi V2 (pull on)
© UKC Gear, Jul 2008
The Anasazi Version 2 has Five Ten's superb synthetic leather Cowdura™ which has a great feel and resists stretch really well so they don't become baggy once you've worn them in.
QUALITYIn the past Five Ten have suffered in reputation with build quality but in recent years this has improved dramatically (I'm the returns manager of a shop which sells them so I can guarantee this). The glueing issues, which they've had in the past, seem to have been resolved and so when you buy a pair you can be confident that the sole will stay on.
CONCLUSIONI would happily recommend this new Anasazi to anyone who was a fan of the old Pink, although I do feel some pressure now as some people are zealous of the old model. Suitable for anyone looking for a performance shoe which can turn its hand to anything be it trad or a bit of bouldering.
What Five Ten Say?
We've refined the Five Ten Lace-Up that has delivered climbers to the top of more 5.14s than any other shoe. The lined Cowdura™ synthetic upper fits like a glove; providing the same fit, climb after climb, as the day the shoe was born. Stealth® C4™ rubber soles offer extremely high friction and great sensitivity.
Designer: Charles Cole
Concept: High-end sport climbing shoe with an emphasis on edging performance.
Five Ten Anasazi V2 (tie)
© UKC Gear, Jul 2008
Tom Dixon, age 23, works at Lakes Climber in Ambleside. Originally from Northumberland he boulders, trad climbs and enjoys days in the mountains in winter and summer and is at home in Fontainebleau as he is on Tower Ridge.
© ukclimbing.com, Oct 2006
Tom's other articles and reviews for UKClimbing.com include:
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Tom Dixon: