The Five Ten Anasazi is one of the most popular climbing shoes: turn up to any busy crag or wall and chances are you'll see a pair. As an incredibly comfy and versatile shoe, they are many people's favourite for good reason. With the Anasazi Pro, Five Ten have made a more performance-oriented model for the modern climber. The original Anasazi remains available too, so what is the Pro like, does it improve on the classic, and why might you want to buy it rather than the Anasazi?
I used the Anasazi almost religiously for a few years. There are a few things which are great about it: it's really comfortable whilst still offering a high level of performance; it's versatile and can easily be used for sport, trad, bouldering and indoors; and due to its ability to both edge and smear really well it's perfect for God's Own Rock. I stopped using the Anasazi because I wanted something a bit more performance oriented. There were also some less desirable features such as the baggy heel which never quite suited my foot (although there is the legendary 'Anasazi Ridge' on the heel which is perfect for some boulder problems).
That said, despite the fact that the Anasazi is now a relatively old shoe, you still see it everywhere. Whenever I see a photo of Ned Feehally he always seems to be wearing them; Shauna Coxsey often wears the extremely popular women's version in competition;, and on a recent trip to Leonidio I often saw a pair at the crag. The Anasazi Pro therefore has a lot to live up to! So what's changed and how would I get on with it compared to the classic shoe?
The two main new features of the Anasazi Pro are the toe rubber and a much tighter heel. The toe rubber is something that was requested by Shauna and Ned for competitions and bouldering, whilst the heel is something that I think just needed improving. How has this affected the shoe?
Well, the toe rubber has added an obvious extra string to the Anasazi Pro's bow: it's now much better for toe-hooking. This is great if you find yourself toe-hooking a lot, and looking at the current generation of competition boulder problems with big volumes and compression-style moves it's a great feature if you're into indoor and competition climbing. It's also useful for outdoor bouldering on specific problems although it's not something I often miss on my other shoes - perhaps I'm just not climbing hard enough! The toe rubber does change the fit of the shoe slightly as it makes the front of the shoe, around the toes, tighter and stiffer. As such there's less flex in the front of the shoe giving it a closer but slightly less comfortable fit than the classic version. I think this is a common theme with the Anasazi Pro vs. the Anasazi - it is certainly more performance-oriented and it is great at that, but it does naturally come at the cost of some of the previous benefits of the Anasazi. This is not a negative thing, it's just that the shoes are a different beast - as one aspect on the sliding scale moves up, another must go down.
The heel is massively improved by essentially being a lot tighter. Gone is the bagginess of the classic Anasazi heel, giving the Anasazi Pro a much more modern heel that feels secure when heel-hooking. For me this is the biggest improvement on the previous version. It does again affect the fit, however. The heel seems to have been made tighter by reducing the circumference of the top of the heel which sits against your ankle (like tightening the top of a rucksack with a draw string). In combination with the toe-rubbered and much stiffer forefoot, I find that after a long session this can pinch my achilles slightly when putting a lot of weight through one foot on a small hold. As the front of the shoe is very stiff, when you push through toe there is not much flex and so the back of the shoe flexes instead, bringing the tight heel in contact with the back of your foot. However, I only really notice this after long sessions and if you are only bouldering, or taking your shoes on and off often, it's not much of an issue. What's more the heel is so much better that it is worth the payoff in exchange for increased performance.
In terms of performance the classic Anasazi was great because it was good at smearing and good at edging. The Anasazi Pro is similar to the Anasazi but the sole is effectively a bit stiffer due to the toe rubber and tighter heel, combined with a fairly stiff midsole. For me this increases its edging ability and the support it provides on small edges whilst slightly decreasing its smearing ability. That said, over three months the Pro has gradually softened up and it is still a smearing machine. Whilst the original Anasazi was already good at edging, the Pro is really excellent, making it a great choice for slabs, vertical and gently overhanging climbing. The toe still retains its original shape which is neither particularly flat nor super pointed, and personally I really like this: it makes for a versatile shoe which provides good purchase and accuracy on small holds such as pockets and tiny edges whilst also giving you plenty of surface area for smears and volumes.
I won't go through the heel and toe rubber in detail again, but the heel is now excellent and feels secure and the Pro is great for toe hooking. One thing which is great about the Pro for toe hooking is that because it's a flat shoe with toe rubber you get a lot of purchase against the hold. When you're toe hooking you're essentially pulling with the top of your foot, so often in a down-turned shoe you lose force because your shoe is pointing the wrong way (it would be like climbing in an 'up-turned' shoe). However as the Pro is flat you can get all of that lovely toe rubber, and all of the top of your foot, in contact with the hold you're toe-hooking and so exert maximum force.
Although the original Anasazi was a firm favourite for trad the Pro isn't my first choice. For shorter trad routes, such as on gritstone, it's a brilliant shoe as its strengths are perfectly suited to grit and you will only be wearing it for a short time on the route. But for longer routes I don't think it's comfortable enough for the hours I spend hanging around getting scared. Again, whilst this may seem like a criticism, it's simply a consequence of the redesign of the Anasazi to make it, as I see it, a technical bouldering and indoor climbing-focused shoe.
I had many pairs of the classic Anasazi in a UK 8 and they were comfortable yet snug enough to perform well, so I opted for the same size in the Pro. As the heel is so much tighter I had to put them on with plastic bags the first few times. However they quickly opened up, and whilst they now go on easily they're certainly a performance fit: there's no overall discomfort from them being too small but I certainly wouldn't want to go any smaller. I would advise going up half a UK size from your classic Anasazi size.
The Pros feature the usual flat last and so they're great if you're looking for a performance shoe that isn't down-turned. On the whole they fit very similarly to the classic Anasazis, with the main differences being the tight heel and the overall stiffness of the forefoot due to the addition of toe rubber. Over the months I've being using the Pros, whilst they've given a bit to become more comfortable, there has been no significant stretching, which is not surprising due to the synthetic uppers and all that toe rubber.
The Pro feature the famously sticky Stealth C4 rubber which makes them great for smearing and edging. You get 4.2mm of it, which is a pretty decent depth for longevity. The beady-eyed might notice that this is a change from (some versions of) the classic Anasazi which feature Onyxx rubber. The C4 is slightly softer in comparison to the Onyxx which helps to offset the stiffness provided by the new heel and toe rubber on the Pro. The toe patch is Moulded Stealth Mi6 rubber which seems to work well for toe hooking. After several months of use it has also stayed firmly in contact with the top of the shoe, with no peeling or damage, which is good to see as this can sometimes be an issue with toe rubber. The rubber has softened over time but not significantly, I imagine because the tightness of the heel and toe rubber keep it in line. I have had a slight issue with the sole peeling away from the rand of the shoe on my left toe however.
The uppers are the same synthetic material as the Anasazi although this time they're lined so, in combintion with the toe rubber, this means that the Pros don't stretch much, although they do mould to fit your foot slightly. The new mesh tongue underneath the straps is a nice feature and it feels comfortable and plush although it doesn't quite cover the top of my foot, leaving an attractive bit of skin poking out. The straps are much the same featuring the usual metal buckle. I have found with previous pairs of Anasazis that if you do a lot of heel-toe cams or toe-hooking then the straps can rub against the buckle and become worn. This is still an issue with the Pro and I think this is due to the size and position of the buckles: looking at other velcro shoes the buckles are often slightly to the side of the shoe whereas with the Anasazis they are directly on the top.
Overall the Anasazi Pro has transformed the classic version in to a more bouldering, indoor and performance oriented shoe through the addition of toe rubber and a tighter heel. It is certainly a different beast to the classic jack-of-all-trades Anasazi, and Five Ten have achieved the first-class competition shoe that they set out to make. It is excellent at edging, smearing, toe and heel hooking and so if you're looking for those qualities in a bouldering, competition or route climbing shoe then the Anasazi Pro is a great choice. The classic Anasazi will still be available, so rather than a replacement the Pro sits nicely alongside it as its more performance-focussed companion.
Five Ten say:
The Anasazi Pro was started with the classic Anasazi and a Stealth® Mi6™ toe patch was added offering exceptional friction on volumes and holds. The closure system has been updated with a more breathable mesh tongue, and new Velcro straps which make the shoe more lightweight, breathable, and sleek. A little more heel tension than the classic Anasazi gives the Pro a bit more aggressive and precise fit.
- Price: £125
- Sizes: 4-12 (men) 2-8.5 (women)
- Material: polyester
- Weight: 272g
- Stealth® C4™ rubber outsole (4.2mm) offer exceptional friction on any angle terrain making the Anasazi pro the perfect shoe for a world cup finish
- Unlined synthetic upper
- Elastic & Velcro closure for a secure fit
- Molded Stealth® Mi6™ toe patch
- Stiffness: Stiff
For more info see adidasoutdoor.com