The Moccasym has an established place in climbing history, having been used on countless cutting edge ascents throughout its long lifetime. Yet in spite of its high flying credentials, its popularity actually came from the masses who loved it for what it was - a comfortable, adaptable, supportive, but ultimately quite sensitive shoe (especially when worn in). Unfortunately in its latest incarnation, the NIAD Moccasym, it feels as if Five Ten have lost sight of what made the original Mocc so brilliant, by creating a souped up hybrid that doesn't feel like it quite hits the mark for either modern day bouldering or for fans of the original who are looking for all-day comfort.
The most noticeable and significant update in the NIAD Moccasym is the patch of rubber that runs along the top. There are no holes, dots or perforations in this rubber overlay, and it feels pretty chunky too, which makes it uncompromising, insensitive, and uncomfortable. As such, it's changed pretty much everything about the shoe, and not - in our opinion - for the better.
This development almost certainly came with the boulderer in mind, for whom toe patches have become standard in recent years; however, because of the stiff nature of its toe patch, it isn't as good at toe hooking as you might expect. Usually a softer rubber is used, as that allows your foot to flex, which in turn allows you to use it much like you would another hand. Due to the fairly stiff and uncompromising nature of the toe patch here, this isn't possible and your foot feels much more fixed in place than it did previously, which arguably makes it worse for toe hooking - in spite of the extra grip the rubber provides.
The addition of the toe patch also changes the overall stiffness of the shoe, which is at odds with everything its predecessor stood for. Whilst this stiffness does have the benefit of making the NIAD Moccasym a better edging shoe, it also makes it a significantly poorer smearing shoe, as it's a lot less flexible, making it harder to get as much rubber to rock. The full length 4.2mm Stealth C4 sole makes it feel even stiffer still. Whilst the original took a while to wear in, the new version feels like it would take even longer, and even when worn in still offer the signature 'red foot' phenomenon from the dye used within the leather uppers.
While a 21st Century upgrade may have been needed, the changes to the Moccasym have simply made a comfortable and sensitive all-rounder into quite an uncomfortable shoe that struggles to find its place in the market. If you're bouldering, you'll find far softer, more sensitive models out there that are significantly better for toe-hooking; on the other hand, for sport and trad more comfortable shoes are readily available. The one possible exception it might be worth mentioning is that if you were looking to do a lot of pure hand to fist sized jamming cracks (which, at least in the UK, are fairly hard to find) then they'd do a good job of protecting your feet, as the addition of the rubber toe patch, coupled with the full length sole, does mean they have a lot of lateral support.
Fit-wise the new Mocc feels narrower than its predecessor, although this could partly be the fact that the uppers have nowhere near as much give due to the rubber toe patch. For those who have wider feet it's an absolute no-go, partly as a result of this, but also as a result of the difficulty you'll have in getting your foot into it in the first place.
In terms of stretch, its predecessor was quite guilty of bagging out after prolonged use, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - the newer model isn't anywhere near as prone to that; however, this (as per the general theme of the review) comes at the price of comfort.
This is probably one of the most negative reviews I've written for a long time, but I genuinely believe a mistake has been made somewhere along the line within the NIAD Moccasym's design. The root of the problem is its toe patch, which is - in my opinion - far too thick. The knock-on effect of this is a much stiffer shoe, which doesn't offer that same level of comfort or adaptability as its predecessor.