Adidas Five Ten released the Hiangle Pro today, a shoe the brand specifically designed for World Cup competitions and the Tokyo Olympics.
Over the last few years, several climbing shoe brands have launched indoor or bouldering shoes adapted to the more gymnastic and athletic style of modern gym climbing. These shoes are usually softer, more sensitive, and better at toe hooking and scumming than “regular” sport shoes.
But adidas Five Ten went a step further with the Hiangle Pro ($160), addressing a key issue for the high-end climber. Because of the parkour-style setting that has infiltrated the sport, the Hiangle uses a wrap sole design to improve the transition between the shoe’s sole and inside edge. Adidas Five Ten also made similar improvements to the heel.
I’ve been training in the Hiangle Pros for 2 months, at least twice a week, on my home boards and occasional stints in the local gyms to see if the design improvements translated to the wall.
Five Ten Hiangle Pro: Solving the Climbing Shoe ‘Corner’
Every gym and competition route-setter shuffles volumes at high rates, presenting unique challenges for those at the bleeding edge of performance. Moving dynamically off a volume or switching a toe hook to standing on an edge both exemplify what adidas Five Ten was going for with this shoe — transitioning pressure between the sole and the shoe’s inside edge.
In almost all climbing shoes, the perimeter of the outsole carries a 90-degree edge where it meets the rand. This “corner” concentrates pressure into a tiny surface area as the foot rolls from the bottom to the inside edge or vice versa. And this can overwhelm frictional forces, resulting in a slip.
Yes, it’s a nuanced issue, but it can make all the difference in the upper echelon of competition climbers. The Hiangle Pro addresses this directly and also tackles a similar problem when rolling and moving off the heel.
Instead of a flat outsole that bonds to the upper, adidas Five Ten created a 3D-molded outsole that wraps up and around the medial forefoot. This construction eliminates the traditional sole edge, providing a more continuous surface to apply pressure.
The sole’s rubber varies in thickness from 3.5 mm underfoot to 2.1 mm at the forefoot wrap area. The design aims to improve sensitivity where it matters most. As for the compound itself, impeccable adhesion comes from the legendary Stealth C4 rubber.
Adidas Five Ten also paid attention to the heel. Completely enveloped in rubber, the heel is built on a continuous longitudinal unbroken curve from the very rear of the shoe, through the midfoot, and, finally, to the toe.
The same continuity applies to the vertical aspect of the heel. There’s no heel wrap, so the rubber surface is mostly homogenous. Five Ten claims this surface continuity allows for dynamic loading without repositioning and smooth transitions off the heel to other parts of the shoe — all without a forced break in the contact surface area.
Hiangle Pro: Conforming Upper
Five Ten constructed the unlined upper from a high-end microfiber that was initially difficult to discern from natural leather. I wear a size 10 street shoe, and the size 10.5 (yes, I had to go larger) Hiangle Pro — a verified one pound per pair — felt too tight across my toe knuckles after unboxing, especially with the ample downturn.
But Five Ten told me this was, in fact, the correct sizing. Adidas chose this material for its ability to stretch just enough to accommodate.
adidas Five Ten Hiangle Pro Climbing Shoe Review
Indeed, that microfiber upper stretched within the first Moonboard session to better fit my foot. There was not a bit of slop, and within four sessions, I could leave them on for an hour without complaint.
They always felt perfectly “competition tight” after this break-in, making the single Velcro strap feel unnecessary unless I was heel hooking with all my might. I also found the upper pleasantly breathable, a bonus for such a close-fitting shoe.
Initially, the shoe’s lack of a definitive inside edge presented a challenge on slightly overhanging terrain and tiny edges. I was used to using the edge of a bonded sole as a guide, as the feel of the sole squaring up to the wall indicated that I was using all of the hold.
With the continuous wrap surface of the Hiangle Pro’s sole, this feeling changed. I had to pay a bit more attention during placement and put more pressure on the wall for feedback that delivered confidence.
But I quickly mastered these differences. And indeed, rolling from smearing to inside edging was much more secure. And the smaller the edge, the more contrast the continuous surface offered.
Dynamically moving off larger holds, especially slopers, also improved. Getting that last bit of upward momentum by rolling to the inside of the big toe for liftoff felt seamless. Awkward transitions on larger holds and volumes, like pinching with both feet to moving to an inside edge, felt more secure.
When the foothold edges were tiny or indistinct, the combination of edging and smearing (“smedging”) was more productive with the Hiangle sole. The thinner rubber at the curved and uniform transition point, from sole to inside edge, generated the just-right angle. It allowed high pressures directly against the feature with much more sensitivity compared to a standard shoe.
I considered this smedging ability one of the strongest features of the shoe when footholds got desperate.
And dare I say, this is the best Five Ten heel to date. Not only is the entire heel area covered in rubber, but the fit, sensitivity, and uniformity of the contact areas also inspired me to use my heel more and more deliberately.
The overall sensitivity of the shoe, on all surfaces, was excellent for steep problems and routes. Beginner climbers, or those venturing on more vertical boulders and routes, may find the lack of support problematic. But the Hiangle was unapologetically designed for the sharp end of indoor climbing performance.
The Stealth C4 rubber performed as expected, which is to say excellent. I don’t know of a better overall rubber for sport climbing for textures just shy of glass.
What About Outdoor Climbing?
Although specifically engineered for plastic, I found the Hiangle Pro to be excellent for a local limestone area known for its lack of texture and distinct edges. Situated in the middle of town, this area has soft rock, so high traffic over the last 30 years has rendered the texture more akin to a bar of soap than stone. Not to mention, the hordes have rounded almost every edge.
The only positive thing I can say about this area is that it doesn’t wreck shoes or skin.
But the sensitivity I experienced in my gym sessions and the smedging ability of the adidas Hiangle Pro was the exact tool for these cliffs and boulders. The wrapped sole was weaponized against the traffic-worn features, delivering better adhesion and sensitivity. But only because I had adapted to the shoes indoors first — and quite deliberately.
The only way the Hiangle would have been better for this “soapstone” sector would be a switch to Stealth Hf rubber.
adidas Five Ten Hiangle Pro: Conclusions
If the Hiangle Pro fits your foot, I feel you would be hardpressed to find a higher-performing shoe for gym or competition climbing. I have tried several prominent brands of indoor and competition-specific shoes over the past 6 months. The Hiangle Pro has a specific set of features and abilities that give it the nod over the others, including the exclusive Stealth C4 rubber.
Although adidas Five Ten wasn’t the first to eliminate the shoe’s inside edge, the execution is excellent. And the heel follows suit.
The rest of the shoe’s highlights beg for you to climb at your limit and use your feet as much as humanly possible.
The Hiangle Pro is currently available in the European market. But adidas Five Ten told us it would hit U.S. retailers this month. We will update this review with links to buy at that time.