I first saw a pair of the new Verdon shoes back at the OutDoor tradeshow in Germany earlier this year. Five Ten were keen to get a pair tested by UKC and this tough job (someone's got to do it) landed on my desk.
For those climbers who follow Five Ten products, then you might know that they have stopped making the 'White' - a popular edging shoe favoured by climbers who like to edge (hard UK limestone anyone?!). A lot of people have asked me how these Verdons compare to the Whites. I'll try and give an overall view of the shoe and how it compares to both the 'Pinks' (still in production) and the 'Whites' in this review.
Firstly, what are the Verdons exactly?
The Five Ten Verdons are turquoise coloured, lace-up shoes that are very stiff. You can see them being introduced to UKC by Dave Kassel from Five Ten in this video:
I thought them to be fairly flat (not very down-turned) and quite asymmetric in shape (they are kind of bent to follow the natural curve of the foot).
They have the brilliant C4 Stealth Rubber (4mm) and they have a plastic midsole, presumably to make the shoe very stiff.
Sizing / Fit
I found the sizing to be quite small on the Verdons. I took the Verdons in a size UK 10. I am a size UK 10.5 in street shoes. I take a 9 (performance) or 9.5 (reasonably comfortable) in the Anasazi pinks.
Measuring the Verdons (UK 10) against the Pinks (UK 9.5) I found that the Verdons were actually 2mm shorter, despite being a half size bigger. Worth knowing if you are planning to order online.
They are of an average width/volume, and I would say will fit both wide and narrow feet ok.
They were tight but reasonably comfortable straight out of the box and although they have moulded to my feet a little, the stretching so far has been minimal.
The strangely pointed toe (on the outside) feels normal on the inside, so I guess the internal shape of the shoes at the front is similar to other shoes.
The boots edge pretty well it has to be said. The upper really grips the foot well, and the orange liner feels secure on the foot. Obviously no shoe can edge well if it rolls around on the foot.
Then the super stiff plastic midsole and the thick feeling rubber come in to play, giving you a lot of edging power.
In comparison to the 'Whites' (which admittedly I haven't worn for quite a number of years, but I did have a pair of when they first came out) I would say the edging power feels overall greater, but slightly less precise and with a slight loss of sensitivity. Where these Verdons do have the 'edge' (get it!) over the whites is in small toe pockets or even angular notches. The funny shaped toe section really does fit securely in to notches like no other boot I have tried.
It is fair to say that smearing isn't the forte of the Verdon. I did manage to stand on some very sloping holds in them, and actually if you can get a lot of the sole in contact with the rock (on a large sloper) then they feel quite good and secure. However small rounded smears are a little different - basically I had to edge on them and hope that the C4 just stuck - which remarkably it did, however I didn't feel hugely secure.
The plastic midsole and thick feeling rubber give a lot of support for long edgy pitches, and the upper, tongue and liner are very comfortable.
The thickness does mean a loss of sensitivity and not a great ability on smears.
The pointy front end doesn't affect the fit, but does slot in to some pockets.
Good shoes, great on the limestone, and a good arrow in the limestone sport climber's quiver.
What Five Ten Say:
Built on an entirely new last, this highly asymmetric climbing shoe is designed for superior edging with out of the box comfort in mind.
A molded thermoplastic midsole complimented by a molded piece of EVA fills in the dead space of the natural curves of the foot supporting your bone and muscle structure, and a lace closure assists with locking the foot into place. The perforated tongue as well as the leather upper lined with Clarino offers unmatched comfort.
- Stealth® C4™ rubber outsole (4mm)
- Lined leather upper – Up to a half-size stretch
- Lace closure system
- Asymmetric toe box
- Molded thermoplastic midsole with EVA fill
- Stiffness – Stiff
The Stealth® C4™ rubber outsoles blend friction and durability for incredible all-around performance on any surface and the unique asymmetric last design affords greater levels of comfort during long routes and training sessions and allows the Verdon to excel at climbing pocketed faces and micro edges.
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