Five Ten Quantum VCS Review

A re-worked version of the classic Quantum, Five Ten's Quantum VCS is a stiff, down-turned velcro shoe with a little more width than its predecessor. It gives a lot of power in the toe and heel whilst maintaining good levels of support. I've found it surprisingly comfortable for such a down-turned shoe, which makes it an excellent option for sport climbing as well as bouldering.

The Quantum VCS in action on Black Rhino  © Rob Greenwood
The Quantum VCS in action on Black Rhino
© Rob Greenwood

Performance

The Quantum VCS is an aggressive down-turned shoe which, as you would expect, transfers maximum power to the toe and heel. I find that the toe is really accurate, so when I want to put my toe precisely on a foothold, the Quantum VCS lets me do this. The shape of the toe and its angle lends itself to positive footholds and you can really get the most out of a small foothold using these shoes. Due to their down-turn and extremely asymmetric shape the Quantum VCS are excellent on steep, positive ground such as limestone sport and bouldering, quarried grit and the indoor wall.

With a fairly stiff midsole, this is a supportive shoe for edgeing. The curved profile of the sole not only gives maximum power to the toe, but also to the heel. The heel isn't the perfect fit for my foot, but we are all built differently so it's bound to suit some people well. I've found that when it does work it works well, and you really can pull very hard. As the sole is moulded as one piece over the heel itself there is the magic 'Anasazi Heel' ridge which, if you're a heel hook deviant, you will know fits perfectly on some specific knacky heel hooks.

I find they are exceptionally comfortable for such an aggressive shoe

Sharp edges are the Quantum VCS's speciality  © Robert McTague
Sharp edges are the Quantum VCS's speciality
© Robert McTague

The toe-hookers amongst us will also be glad to know that the Quantum VCS features a large rubber patch which covers all the way from the (already high) rand to the velcro straps. This provides a lot of coverage, which is great whether you're trying to hook that tiny nubbin or get maximum purchase on a slopey volume, and due to the perforations in the rubber it does not make the upper of the shoe inflexible or uncomfortable.

Fit

Unfortunately there is no women's/low volume version of this shoe. I took my Quantum VCS in a size 8 (as I did with the recently updated Anasazi Pro). Initially I could only just squeeze them on and I thought I was in for a tight, uncomfortable ride. However after just one session at the wall they loosened up significantly to become very comfortable. Five Ten may say the lined synthetic uppers are non-stretch, but my experience is that they do give a bit. Since that initial loosening however, they've not stretched at all, so I would advise sizing them tightly initially with the knowledge that they will stretch roughly half a size pretty quickly. Now they're worn in I find they are exceptionally comfortable for such an aggressive shoe.

The Quantum VCS give excellent purchase on steep routes  © Nick Brown
The Quantum VCS give excellent purchase on steep routes
© Nick Brown

I now, however, have the opposite problem: I find that whilst the Quantum VCS are exactly the correct size for the length of my foot (and I certainly couldn't go any smaller here), my heel/ankle lifts out of the heel cup slightly. As such when I'm climbing the shoe becomes slightly loose over the back of my foot which is not ideal if there is a heel hook high up on the route I'm trying to climb. Additionally, if I'm pulling really hard on a heel hook (whether half way up a route or off the deck) the shoe can slip slightly. (N.B Take a look at my right heel in the above photo - you can see the heel of the shoe does not fit precisely on to my foot). If you have narrow feet then do be aware of this as it makes me think twice about wearing the Quantum VCS if I know I will be using my heel. On the other hand, if you have wide feet and you're looking for an aggresive but otherwise comfortable shoe then the Quantum VCS could be a great choice.

Whilst the heel didn't stick to my foot well it was accurate and well tensioned   © Robert McTague
Whilst the heel didn't stick to my foot well it was accurate and well tensioned
© Robert McTague

Materials

The Quantum VCS features 4.2mm of Stealth C4 rubber, a thickness which feels consistent with the Quantum's modus operandi of a steep-ground powerhouse rather than a sensitive smearer. The Stealth rubber is, as always, super sticky and with the particularly high rand and the addition of the toe patch there is plenty to go around which contributes to the overall stiffness of the shoe.

The Quantum VCS has enough give to stick to a smear well whilst providing power to the toe  © Robert McTague
The Quantum VCS has enough give to stick to a smear well whilst providing power to the toe
© Robert McTague

The fully synthetic upper has the previously described attribute of stretching initially but then remaining the same shape, and like the Anasazi Pro the Quantum VCS feature the plush and breathable new Ariaprene tongue. The inner of the shoe also feels very plush and overall they're very comfortable. As with the Pro I have again come across an issue with the inside of the velcro straps rubbing against the metal buckle, causing them to wear. The velcro is now starting to peel off the strap which isn't ideal. However, other than that the shoes are showing no obvious signs of wear and the toes have plenty of life left in them, which is the most important bit!

Wear on the straps. Also note the asymmetric shape.  © Theo Moore
Wear on the straps. Also note the asymmetric shape.
© Theo Moore

The 'Anasazi Ridge' on the heel  © Theo Moore
The 'Anasazi Ridge' on the heel
© Theo Moore

Overall

The Quantum VCS is an excellent shoe for steep routes and boulders, particularly on positive edges. It has a wider last, which is great news for climbers with wider feet as they are often short-changed. The most striking feature of the Quantum VCS is just how comfortable they are given their aggressive shape. If you've got wide feet, like climbing steep ground, and enjoy wearing a comfortable shoe then look no further!

Five Ten say:

For the redevelopment of the classic Quantum, we worked with the Huber brothers, Alex and Thomas, to develop an all-around performance shoe for any climbing setting. The shoe has a stiff midsole and lined Clarino synthetic upper, so it stays comfortable for extended periods of wear. The tongue is a perforated ariaprene, which conforms to the foot and provides unmatched breathability. The Quantum is built on a new last; it is slightly downturned and a bit wider than our traditional downturned lasts, allowing your foot to sit in a more natural position. The Velcro closure offers comfort and ease of entry.

  • Price: £135
  • Sizing: Men's UK: 4-12
  • Stealth® C4™ rubber outsole 4.2mm
  • Lined synthetic Clarino upper
  • Velcro closure
  • Wider last
  • Ariaprene tongue
  • Stiff
  • Vegan
  • Weight per shoe (size 9) 259g
  • Good for: Sport climbing, bouldering, hard trad, indoors

For more info see adidasoutdoor.com



For more information visit Five Ten


12 Oct, 2018

You don't know what you're talking about boy. Five ten heels fits perfectly, I says perfectly. Fits my feet like a glove, I say a glove, boy.

12 Oct, 2018

I see you you have five ten shaped feet as well!

https://goo.gl/images/pCbqx5

15 Oct, 2018

How does it compare to the (blue, laces) Quantum?

15 Oct, 2018

Yes I wondered this too - Anasazi VCS are my 'go to' shoes and I had high hopes for the Quantum, but the lace version doesn't seem to fit my feet at all well.

I've not tried the blue Quantum so I can't compare. In comparison to the Anasazi VCS I'd say they are a tighter fit around the forefoot but slightly looser around the heel - I've not had an issue with my heel slipping out of the Anasazi VCS. The heel on the Quantum VCS is certainly a lot looser than the heel on the Anasazi Pro which is super tight, as is the forefoot. Here's my review of the Anasazi Pro for comparison: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/footwear/rock_shoes/five_ten_anasazi_pro-10273

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