Moving from the trail to your favorite climbing spot is an adventure better experienced in a pair of Five Ten approach shoes. As opposed to regular hiking shoes, such kicks from Five Ten can make negotiating approaches as safe and convenient as possible. Safe because they are engineered with high-quality approach-specific components, and convenient because while in them, light climbs will likely not require you to switch to your go-to pair of rock climbing shoes. So give Five Ten approach shoes a try and see how they can help you tackle challenging trail-to-rock terrain with relative ease.
The perks that come with every pair of Five Ten approach shoes
Venturing into the great outdoors need not be that expensive, which Five Ten underscores quite emphatically with their approach-type offerings. Indeed, they have some of the budget-friendliest approach shoes on the market that they give the competition a good run for their money. As a cherry on top, Five Ten puts their shoes on sale quite often, so if you time your shopping right, you will get that desired pair for even way less.
Provision of comfort
No one wants to navigate rough terrain in discomfort, or feel pain at any given time anywhere. With that in mind, Five Ten shoemakers made it their motto to make approach shoes as comfy and pleasurable to wear as possible. Case in point: The brand’s offerings may look tough on the outside, but on the inside, they are engineered with materials that, in synergy, provide sufficient amounts of comfort.
Underfoot, virtually every 5.10 pair is built with a hard-wearing yet cushy midsole made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The presence of this component translates to adequate comfort through enough cushioning, shock absorption, and rebound over particularly rugged surfaces.
When it comes to lightness, Five Ten approach shoes are among the ones to beat. Indeed, on average, a pair does not go beyond the 700-gram mark. This means that in these shoes, those who prefer to travel light may do so with as much agility as possible. This lightness may be attributed to the low-profile build of every shoe. So if dragging your feet to where you need to be is not an option for you, having Five Ten approach shoes in your quiver is not a bad idea.
In this day and age, versatility may be considered overrated, especially when seen from a “sales pitch” point of view. In the case of 5.10 approach shoes, however, not so much. In fact, such shoes open up the gateway to adventures where switching footwear is hardly a practice. To put things into perspective, most approach kicks from Five Ten have aesthetics resembling sneaker shoes, which means you can wear them around town and not look out of place. This amount of versatility also translates to bringing only one pair of shoes on your outdoor trips.
Five Ten-level craftsmanship
5.10 is known for making sturdy outdoor-centric footwear, and their approach pieces are a testament to that. Yes, their shoemakers use processes and high-grade materials that result in lasting approach shoes.
The things that make 5.10 approach shoes stand out from the rest
Founded by Charles Cole in California back in 1985 yet acquired by Adidas in 2011, Five Ten has under its belt a plethora of high-quality shoes built for both athletic pursuits and outdoor adventures. Since the mid ‘80s, they have produced even more capable footwear, which includes both 5.10 climbing shoes and approach-focused kicks. With their previous successes and present advancements in tow, Five Ten is in an even stronger position to deliver on quality and respond better to the pressing challenges many hikers face in their approach endeavors.
Stealth. Where surface traction is concerned, hikers have the brand’s Stealth outsole to thank. Its presence affords the wearer enough sticking power on virtually every type of backcountry surface. This proprietary technology comes in several types of compounds. The ones found in most Five Ten approach shoes are as follows:
- Stealth C4. An outsole that favors climbable terrain, the Stealth C4 is designed to provide a locked-in connection to the ground, especially where smearing is required. Its engineering also helps users to gain a secure footing on micro-edges and other barely-there projections. It has vibration damping—the ability to control vibrations for stride efficiency—as one of its features.
- Stealth S1. This particular type is built for all-condition hiking. It promises a kind of grip that works on a variety of surfaces, be they wet or dry. It also has vibration damping, just like the Stealth C4.
- Stealth Mi6. According to Five Ten, the stickiness of this particular outsole provides enhanced security and interlocking power on smooth surfaces (think boulder-type terrain). This is their most climb-friendly rubber outsole yet.
- Stealth Ph. Also known as Stealth Phantom, this outsole offers ample slip and skid resistance over different types of terrain without leaving a mark. Fun fact: It was originally built for Special Ops and military use—pursuits that demand trace-less activity across soft- or loose-soiled ground.
Dedicated climbing zone. Most Five Ten approach shoes have this feature. It is the smooth front end of the outsole. This feature is what aids the hiker-slash-climber to ascend with enough traction during smearing.
Five Ten approach shoes fit and sizing guide for men and women
Five Ten approach shoes are low-collared. They come in both men and women variants. They are offered in a number of full and half sizes. Practically every 5.10 approach shoe uses a standard lace-up closure to grant owners a personalized and secure fit.
What can I do to get the Five Ten approach shoe that fits well?
Good question. While there are no set rules to get the 5.10 approach shoe that fits well, the following points can help you make the scouting process as smooth-sailing of an experience as possible.
- Set your shopping schedule to sometime late in the afternoon. The reason behind this is because your feet tend to swell after going about your daily tasks. Try on shoes while your feet are in this swollen state so that you can avoid getting a pair that is too loose.
- Your custom orthotics and socks matter. To get a well-fitting pair of Five Ten approach kicks, you must be in your preferred socks with your custom orthotics set while trying on shoes.
- Give half-size options a chance. If you have been struggling to feel comfortable in full-size 5.10 approach shoes, it probably is a good time to entertain half sizes.
- Your next pair should have a bit of forefoot room for toe splay. While the toe box in most approach shoes is often quite snug for precision on low-grade climbs, there should still be enough space in there for hiking comfort. If the shoes you are trying restrict your toes too much, try a half size bigger.
- Take that Five Ten approach shoes for a spin. Once you got them laced up, do a test run in them. Walk and stride around the store to get a glimpse of the amount of comfort they have on offer from the get-go. Walk up ramps (the steeper, the better), tiptoe on the edges, and go down inclines to preview the pair’s hiking/climbing performance. There must be minimal-to-no heel lift in your shoes. If there is, reconfigure the laces. If heel lift persists, consider sizing down.
Any sizing tips for online shoppers like me?
Online shopping can be as convenient as it is disappointing. That said, you can be a wiser virtual shopper by reading through these points:
- Since you will not be able to try shoes while shopping online, it would be wise to read through customer reviews first and see the consensus surrounding the sizing of most Five Ten approach shoes.
- Consider the fit and sizing recommendations published by Five Ten or your trusted online shop.
- If that online retailer has a generous return/refund policy, order two pairs of shoes. The first pair can be in your street shoe size, while the second at least a half size bigger or smaller (your decision here would depend on the result of your review research). Keep the pair that fits better and return the other.
Frequently asked questions about Five Ten approach shoes
What are the best Five Ten approach shoes out on the market?
There is no published data that answers this question. Also, the best for a particular group may be the least for another—let alone for you. That being said, the right 5.10 approach shoes must have the following qualities:
- Sufficient comfort
- A snug fit with enough toe room
- Adequate surface grip
- Competent approach and climbing performance
Where can I buy Five Ten approach shoes?
You can buy Five Ten approach shoes either online or at a physical store. Five Ten has its own virtual shop where it is possible to snag a pair at a discounted price.
3 best Five Ten approach shoes
- Five Ten Access Knit
- Five Ten Five Tennie
- Five Ten Guide Tennie
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