Rock Shoes: 5.10 Anasazi Velcros
OK, so I’ve not had a pair of 5.10’s for a number of years now. Not really sure why I drifted away from them as 5.10 always my brand of choice (I had countless pairs of Mocassyms). Since I last tried on a pair of Anasazi there have been two major changes. First and foremost the rubber is no longer Stealth C4 – Shock Horror! Why change something that worked so well? 5.10 would have us believe that the new Stealth Onyx rubber is even better. If you speak to a rep they will be able to bore you silly with technical lingo all about how their private factory in California makes all their rubber and that Stealth Onyx is both stickier and more durable and 5.10 are the only rock shoe manufacturer to make their rubber from scratch – other brands use a generic rubber compound but call it by a variety of product names. Suffice to say that I am very pleased with how it performs. I’ve tested a large number of rock shoes over the last five or so years and say confidently that this pair give me the most confidence to climb in, both when I first tried them on and now six weeks later. I’ve used them a lot yet the edges are still sharp and there is little sign of wear in the sole – 5.10 have designed a product that rejects the modern throw-away culture. Whilst they are not the stiffest shoe on the market they have served me just as well on vertical walls as on smeary Font slabs.
The other significant difference with the classic C4 model is the heel. It’s no secret that despite being one of the favourite shoes of all time, the old Anasazi has a heel that really let it down. Imagine how good it would be if they sorted out that heel… I’d give the new one 7 out of 10 (compared to 4 for the old one). It’s a vast improvement and seriously improves things. How could it be better? There’s still a little too much spare space in there for my liking. This is disguised by the fact that the new rubber sling configuration which cups the heel is super stiff, but it doesn’t get around the fact that it is still there. In their defence they argue that the difficulty with making the heel 10/10 is that the beauty of the Anasazi last is the tension at the front of the toe that gives the precision, this is driven by the 5.10 slingshot rand, which drives the heel shape. I guess the shoe benefits are basically more important at the toe end rather than the heel end… Still, it would be nice if they could get it right in the end…
What else? Well they don’t smell. There are two pull loops, one either side of centre on the back of the heel. They are made of Cowdura not leather so vegans can still use them. Importantly 5.10 have cottoned on to the fact that the original was so good and kept the same colour scheme. If you are after something for pulling into dinky pockets on steep limestone they may not fit the bill compared to more specialized down toed asymmetric models like the Dragon or V10, but all in all I have to say that they probably my favourite all-rounder of all time, and in fairness have been used to climb many a super-hard, steep, pocketed wall that I will never grace. Just sort out the heel and they will be perfect.
Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear