Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe Review

Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe Review: High-Performance High-Top

The Five Ten Grandstone is an all-day trad climbing shoe with a touch of sportiness.

La Sportiva has enamored trad climbers with its TC Pro. Fueled by the “Dawn Wall” and “Free Solo” movies, the TC Pro had a run of being the brand’s best-selling shoe.

Not to be outdone, Five Ten stepped up to the plate by releasing its own high-performance, high-top trad shoe last September, the Grandstone. We tested a sample pair over the winter at a local granite area, in cracks, and on crystal-strewn faces.

Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe Review

In short: The Five Ten Grandstone is a comfortable, supportive, and protective trad-specific shoe that blends classic design and modern performance features, and tops it off with legendary Stealth C4 rubber.

Five Ten Grandstone: First Impressions

I let out an unusual “oooh” when I unboxed the Five Ten Grandstone. I’m not usually impressed by high-top trad shoes, as they’re typically devoid of the advancements that shoe designers lavishly bestow on sport climbing and bouldering shoes.

High-top trad shoes seem to focus on all-day comfort, protection, and durability. In my opinion, they hardly look different than they did in the ’80s. I usually pass on testing them.

Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe Review

But the Grandstone was visually different. Right away, I noticed the slight downturn and asymmetry, both unusual for this type of shoe. I also saw the asymmetrically shaped and pointy toebox, a contrast to the rounded toeboxes on my other high-top trad shoes. A rubber patch extends far up the toebox, another differentiator, and more akin to sport climbing shoes.

The microfiber upper felt soft right out of the box. I also noticed rubberized overlays on the lower lacing eyelets and around the sides of the ankle, presumably to protect those areas from abrasion.

Finally, the Stealth C4 rubber emblem instilled confidence, as my experience with it on sport climbing shoes has been stellar.

The size 10 Grandstone had a verified weight of 1 pound 3.5 ounces per pair, with an MSRP of $180.

Five Ten Grandstone Fit

I wear a size 10 running shoe, and a size 10 in Five Ten sport climbing shoes produces a snug but not painfully tight fit. Size 10 Grandstones felt markedly longer; my toes just touched the end of the shoe when unloaded and felt only a tad compressed when standing.

five ten grandstone

I have a classic “duck foot”: a narrow heel and a wide but thin forefoot. The heel and forefoot felt snug without relying on lacing tension. My last toe didn’t overhang the outsole, which is a regular occurrence on sport-oriented climbing shoes.

The padding around the ankles felt luxurious compared to my other high-top trad shoes, and I could tell that my bony ankles would appreciate it on sloppy, full-foot jams. The interior lining added to the comfort of the soft upper.

The downturn and asymmetry of the Grandstone were perceptible right away, as was the stiffness of the midsole. If it wasn’t for the high top, I might have felt like I was wearing an intermediate-level sport climbing shoe.

The interior of the shoe contacted the entire arch of my foot without pulling on the laces, which was a contrast to other trad shoes that are flatter, and generous lacing eyelets made fine-tuning the tension to the base of my toe possible.

Foot-Jamming and Crystal-Hopping Five Ten Grandstone Climbing Shoe Review

My local granite area is unforgiving. Hard crystals, some sharp enough to shred the back of hands, line both cracks and faces. It’s a torturous place to trad climb, for both body and gear, if the technique is lacking — which describes this bolt-clipper.

But right away, I felt more at home in the Grandstone than my other trad shoes. The slight asymmetry combined with the stiffness aided edging on tiny face crystals, while the downturn helped pull my hip over.

The stiffness also supported my foot on micro-edges during pitches that were way longer than sport routes, while being loaded down with an overabundance of cams. And the C4 rubber yielded consistent and excellent adhesion, just like on my sport shoes.

The midsole stiffness also supported my foot when jamming, particularly on smaller jams or toe jams. The shaped toebox aided placement of shallower jams while the rubber cap instilled confidence. The pointy toe was excellent on the smallest of cracks and a significant difference compared to other trad shoes, opening up features that I don’t consider in more rounded models.

On fuller jams, the microfiber upper took some sting out of the crystals lining the cracks. And when I had to bury my foot desperately, the ankle coverage and padding saved me some skin and bruising.

The stiffness of the midsole and upper relented a bit over the first 2 days in the Grandstone, improving the comfort of an already comfortable shoe. The fit loosened just a tad in volume (not length), but the lacing compensated.

Five Ten Grandstone Review

The Five Ten Grandstone offers the protection and all-day comfort of a classic high-top with enough modern performance enhancements to up the ante. It’s a unique shoe for the category, blending old-school characteristics with modern performance enhancements.

It’s an excellent choice for sport climbers who also enjoy trad, providing a more familiar feeling. For this tester, it’s the first high-top trad shoe that didn’t feel clunky.

Seiji Ishii
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Seiji Ishii has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, trail running, and the training involved for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in a wildlife refuge in Wimberley, Texas, with his daughter, itinerant dirt bags, a dog, and a cat. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.

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