Five Ten Guide Tennie
The Five Ten Guide Tennie is a classic approach shoe that for the most part has defined the way people think about approach shoes. It’s a favorite among expert climbers and beginners alike, and its lightweight construction and easy stability make for an easier trek overall. Not surprisingly, the people over at Five Ten are constantly updating and improving their product, and we decided to take a closer look at the shoes latest incarnation.
- Excellent for crack climbing, smearing and edging
- Performs well on technical climbs
- Stealth C-4 Rubber outsole provides fantastic sticking power.
- Could be a bit lighter
- Somewhat bulky and not exactly suitable for scrambling.
- Doesn’t allow a whole lot of sensitivity
- Significant break in period
- Fit not always true to size
One other difference between this approach shoe and a few others is the lack of foam material between the molded EVA mid-sole and the rubberized outsole area. While this design was clearly made to help to decrease the overall weight of the shoe, it didn’t really have the desired effect. The combined areas between the mid-sole and outsole area actually increased the overall bulkiness and weighty feel and shoe.
However, the material doesn’t always allow for the most comfort on longer approaches, especially when moving through significant amounts of dirt and debris. Smaller particles tend to get caught in the pore spaces and clog up the shoes, leading to greater perspiration over time.
It should be noted, however, that on longer treks, especially during approaches with a fair amount of dust and debris, the suede upper portions were shown to decrease their ventilation somewhat, most likely due to fine particles getting stuck in the pore spaces of the material. Many customers did complain about their feet becoming overheated even before they reached their climbing destination.
Another area that was a bit of a disappointment when it came to breathability was the lower portion of the shoe. While most people liked the overall protection and durability offered from the combined mid-sole and outsole areas of this shoe, they also noted that the increased amount of molded rubberized material leads to an increase in overall perspiration, especially in the ankle and arch areas of the foot.
Unfortunately, these shoes are known for having a significant break in period, usually taking a few treks or approaches to fully get comfortable. Quite a few users found that it was necessary to use them on three or four long approaches before they truly got comfortable, and even then, blisters were likely to occur at some point.
The Five Ten Guide Tennie is well known for their overall ability to last through rough terrain for quite a few years, and this shoe is no exception.
When it comes to protection, however, this shoe excels in protecting the bottom portion of the foot and toe area while still providing great overall sensitivity and responsiveness while climbing. The thick rubber sole and toe shield provided great protection from abrasion. Also, the molded EVA mid-sole material offered a fair amount of control and protection from the occasional twists that are sometimes experienced during climbing.
Another area in which the shoe could definitely be improved overall was the general sensitivity of the shoe itself. While the toe box area and tread provided great grip strength and sensitivity when it came to smearing, the relatively bulky nature of the shoe didn’t help edging. It was fairly easy to find the areas of the rock that would provide the best toe holds and crack for a secure climb; making sure that you knew that your foot was secure in those places without visual confirmation was a different story.
However, when it comes to getting to the rock face, there are better choices out there. The tread does lend itself to slippage especially on wet terrain, leaves, or loose soil. If you live in areas where climbing in inclement weather or the results of such weather is a possibility, you may want to use a shoe with a different tread.
Comparison To Other Brands
It’s doesn’t fair as well in the area of hiking comfort, mainly because of the weight and bulkiness, but still lands squarely in the top ten on that criteria as well. However, when it comes to durability and longevity, these shoes again lead the pack with their quality construction and great materials.
However, this is not the best approach shoe to use on the actual approach, especially if it’s a longer trek. The shoe itself is somewhat on the heavy side, and the tread, which is great for gripping the rock face, doesn’t really do very well on looser material such as gravel or dirt.
The Bottom Line
The shoe was also shown to be a bit ill fitting, and required a significant amount of break-in time, which was a bit of a disappointment, considering that it is moderately expensive when it comes to approach shoes.
Does the benefits of the Five Ten Guide Tennie shoes outweigh the faults? It really depends on what you have in mind for their use. If your approaches are relatively short, and your climbs are technical in nature, this shoe is absolutely awesome to have. However, if you know that you’ll spend more time hiking and scrambling to get to that technical climb, these shoes are probably not the best choice overall.