The Five Ten NIAD VCS is the latest evolution of the classic Anasazi. Famously a jack-of-all-trades, this comfortable, high performance shoe has long been a regular at every crag and wall. But does the NIAD VCS retain all the perks of the original, does it add anything new and, most importantly, how does it feel to climb in? Theo Moore investigates.
The history section misses the fact that the last on the shoe completely changed when they moved the production to China - for me they went from my go to shoe for everything to basically unwearable. How does the shape of these compare in this context (are they like the new or old fit?)
So in all these years, five ten have still never though to have a quick look at a human foot?
Original brown anasazi VCS were great, but only fit the heel if you had a 3 inch bone-spur sticking out the back.
Everyone bought loads of them, so they changed them to have a crippling toe box.
Nobody bought them any more, so now they make new ones that only fit if your big toe is in the middle.
How are they still going?
They're much more like the old shoe Alex. That said, it's been ages since I wore an original Anasazi so don't quote me on that. I really like them, and I was also a fan of the original Anasazi which fit me well, so I think they're definitely worth trying on in a shop.
Good to see discussion of foot and toe shape in the review. IMHO, this should be the first criteria, then fit & sizing, then performance of any climbing shoe review, or advert description for that matter. Perhaps the next great leap forward in climbing will come about when shoe manufacturers recognise the full diversity of foot forms out there and make the shoes to fit those feet (e.g., at least 3 types of last per model version based on toe shape). It's still total pot luck finding a shoe that fits your foot in my experience, not helped by inconsistency and annual changes within models.
On the quality issue of the Adidas Five Ten current generation, I could just add that the 5.10 Kirigami that I reviewed and liked in last summer's all day/beginner shoe review https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/footwear/rock_shoes/comfy_all-day_rock_shoes-12900#five%20ten have remained my 'go to' shoe - they are now a year old and still in very good condition.
I've done a quick scan of my logbook and I've got 300 logged climbs since I started using them a year ago - almost to the day. I haven't used the Kirigami on every one of the routes (a few were winter routes!) but they will have been on my feet for the vast majority of them. I don't know about the NIAD VCS but the Kirigami you can chuck in the washing machine whenever they start ponging a bit, and they come out looking like new! But overall, the quality of the construction seems top notch. It's very rare that I've had shoes where there has been basically no delamination of the rubber at all, even if it's just a few mms at an unimportant part. I don't know how long Theo has been using the NIADs for, but if they are anything like the Kirigamis - they should last well.
There seems to be lot of "hating on" Five Ten currently - yes, they are part of huge multinational corporation and all that, and people who loved the 5.10s of the 90s and 00s might well find the new designs don't feel anything like the old ones, but from using the Kirigami at least, I'm genuinely very impressed just how great a shoe they are making, and in that case for just 75 quid.
Thanks - useful to know.
Re the comment above on hating on 5:10 - my own frustration came from how they could have possibly justified taking a wildly popular shoe and fundamentally changing the shape, it just smacked of a commercial decision made by someone with no understanding of how climbing shoes worked (minor fit changes on a trainer wouldn't matter in the same way). Hence you lose confidence in the companies ability to deliver suitable products - good to hear they may be starting to produce better stuff again.
I have no opinion on new 5.10s. The old ones were good to climb in - but quality was 100% shit. They never lasted more than 6 months and often less, and sizing was really inconsistent.
The new Velcro’s and pinks are absolute disgrace in my opinion. They’ve made both of them narrower and higher volume. Who has super narrow but fat as a brick foot. Also the rubber is different since Adidas took over , the stealth rubber is so stealth you can’t see any of the legendary stickiness. Don’t get me wrong I used to love five ten , wore only them for 10 years but that’s what happens when you get trainers company to make climbing shoes .
It's about 10 years since Adidas bought 5.10, so is that the same 10 years you've been wearing 5.10?
You should know Adidas didn’t make any changes for years ( pinks got reintroduced which was great) then they came with the new Blancos ( still the good rubber and great shoe ) and all downhill from there ( not only my opinion, close friend was quite high up in the company) then my local shop send all new models back due to the rubber.
I was still excited when the nand came out , found a place that had them and couldn’t get any of the 3 versions to fit , so yeah I’m disappointed I guess.
I bought some 5.10 Grandstones about a year ago, which seemed to be their answer to the TC Pro. Despite not being exactly my foot shape and difficult to wear for hours on end, they've done me really well and the uppers and rubber have lasted well beyond my previous 5.10 shoes (Pink, Verde and Blanco). They edged amazingly out of the box and are supportive and after breaking them in also smeared very well, like a built up Pink with a more pointed toe and ankle protection.
Much to my surprise they never took off as a popular alternative to the TC's and have now been discontinued but I imagine my pair will go through a few resoles in the future.
I've been wearing Anasazi's for years and years now (with a brief gap to try the UP shoes, terrible experience..)
The NIAD fit me straight out of the box like a dream, better than the originals and has been great to climb indoors so far, expecting similar good results outdoors just from how they feel.
What was your experience with UP shoes? They seem to have been getting great reviews so far, so interesting to hear otherwise. Was it performance or quality that you had problems with?
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