The Five Ten STEALTH rubber story

© Five Ten

The Five Ten STEALTH rubber story  © Five Ten
STEALTH rubber made a difference. In the 1980s, when climbers thought they'd reached their technical limits, STEALTH rubber's unprecedented friction allowed climbers to stick their feet to rough surfaces. Previous to starting Five Ten, Charles Cole, Five Ten Founder and presidet, had chalked up plenty of impressive climbing exploits, earning a reputation for first ascents of runout faces and friction routes. If there was a climber who understood the importance of high-friction rubber, it was Charles Cole.

In 1985, Five Ten debuted the first Five Tennie, the original “approach shoe” with STEALTH S1 Rubber. Not satisfied with the rubber's application for difficult, technical climbs, Cole returned to the rubber laboratory and two years later, introduced STEALTH C4—now known as the benchmark of all high-friction rubbers. Cole is considered one of the great marketing minds of the outdoor industry. He brought skateboarding and music-industry sensibilities to his product design, with an imaginative, unorthodox eye to marketing that even had surf brands sitting up and taking notice. One successful ad campaign played up STEALTH's stickiness with pictures of Five Ten shoes hanging from a ceiling, peppered with flies like flypaper. Another simply said “Quit your job,” a testament to Five Ten and STEALTH's dedication to the climbing lifestyle.

STEALTH has been the rubber of choice for not only climbers and mountain bikers, but also stunt men and actors. STEALTH has enjoyed a long relationship with Hollywood, from the original Star Trek (when Captain Kirk climbed Yosemite's El Capitan), to the crew of the award-winning blockbuster, Master & Commander. The dancers, gymnasts and acrobats of Cirque du Soleil have depended on STEALTH, as has the American singer, Madonna and her team of Parkour athletes for two worldwide tours and a record-breaking Super Bowl performance. But perhaps STEALTH's most enduring relationship has been with the Mission Impossible team—Tom Cruise has relied on STEALTH rubber formulas for three films, and it was the latest, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, that helped push high-friction rubber to the next level with the development of STEALTH MI6.

Pete Whittaker testing out the STEALTH rubber in Tennies on Technical Master Left-hand  © Five Ten
Pete Whittaker testing out the STEALTH rubber in Tennies on Technical Master Left-hand
While other shoe companies outsource their rubber to large generic rubber manufacturers, or worse, accept a marginal “industry” OEM rubber, Five Ten has always used STEALTH Rubber. Born from the same mind, Five Ten and STEALTH have shared a symbiotic relationship. The combination of STEALTH Rubber's state-of-the-art research and development department and Five Ten's extensive professional athlete test team has led to more than a quarter century of cutting edge rubber compounds. STEALTH Rubber has been called the highest-friction rubber in the world by editors of National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Rock and Ice and Climbing magazines. In 2013, The Gear Institute presented Five Ten with a Best of Show Award for STEALTH MI6. After dubbing STEALTH MI6 a “game-changer,” Gear Institute editor and founder, Justin Nyberg wrote, “Having felt the compound, it's incredibly sticky and gummy-like no other climbing shoe rubber we've ever seen…it ought to smear like a beast. We can't wait to see what it will do for blank walls that are currently thought of as unclimbable.” Nathan Borchelt, editor-in-chief for, termed MI6 “one of the most significant inventions of the decade.” And Billy Brown, writer for Wired and Men's Journal dubbed STEALTH Rubber “as sticky as duct tape and twice as useful.”

STEALTH guarantees the best performance on any angle terrain. Five Ten tunes its rubber for specific uses. Durability and traction are two necessary qualities in footwear--durability because you want shoes that will last. Traction because nobody wants to fall—whether climbing El Cap or walking your dog. Five Ten shoes are all equipped with STEALTH Rubber soles. STEALTH Rubber is the world's leading performance shoe rubber. STEALTH formulas result in extremely durable soles and rands that can take the most brutal terrain in the world. We guarantee that no other rubber will perform as well as STEALTH. With extensive testing by professional rock climbers, base jumpers, mountain bikers and adventure sport athletes, STEALTH Rubber compounds are designed for a variety of performance requirements.

For more information visit Five Ten

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20 Jun, 2013
5.10 appear to have cutting edge rubber since 2011. All previous rubbers were shoddy. I had to re-read the sentence twice.
20 Jun, 2013
is stealth rubber, like 5.10, also owned by adidas, or independant of that?
20 Jun, 2013
Really? So all that period when the 5.10 Pink was the first-choice of many of the top climbers and used for many cutting-edge ascents was all done on shoddy rubber?
20 Jun, 2013
Agreed - 5:10 rubber has been at the top of their game for much longer than 2 years IMO!
20 Jun, 2013
Since at least 1998, as I remember buying some Five Tens then and being utterly amazed at how sticky they were compared to Boreal shoes.
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