Five Ten Anasazi Arrowhead ReviewJuly 9, 2012
- Extreme precision on edges, nubbins, and pockets
- A very light shoe (feels like air on your feet)
- Killer Onyxx rubber sole
- Clean, simple design without too many bells and whistles
- So performance-oriented that it won’t be good for all uses (trad, multipitch)
- Narrow toebox can lead to cramping if worn too long with high-volume feet
A hyper-precise, semi-aggressive face and steep-rock shoe with an apparent simplicity of design that belies its status as a redpoint performer. Thin, grippy, near-perfect Onyxx rubber sole meant out-of-the-box performance, with a bomber heel cup offset by a comfortable split tongue.
Until now, my only experience with the Five Ten Anasazi line was a beloved pair of Verdes, which I put through their paces on the thin granite face climbing of Boulder Canyon one productive season in 2007. The shoes were edging and frontpointing machines, hyper-accurate on the tiniest of footholds.
Some generations later (and built on the 4G Anasazi last) comes the Anasazi Arrowhead, a double-closure performance Velcro shoe that occupies the hybrid terrain between a slipper and a lace-up edging boot like the Verde: the sweet spot for thin-face and overhanging-sport aficionados.
Right out of the box, you can tell that the Anasazi is a high-test shoe, so light on your feet you barely know it’s there. I love that feeling of insta-performance that comes with a fresh, thin sole—in this case one of Stealth Onyxx, a rubber I found amazingly grippy but also good for edging. (I measured the sole at toe tip at 3mm, a nice depth for sensitivity.)
I sized my pair a little too tightly, but they broke in quickly, stretching maybe a quarter to half a size—I don’t think you’ll see much more play than that, as the pronounced heel cup is slathered in Mystique rubber, which comprises all of the rand, and anchored with a semi-aggressive slingshot. The heel fit well, with minimal slippage thanks to its pronounced cup, and was good on the steep, tufa-like features you find in my local area the Flatirons (the rubber comes all the way up to the pull straps at the top of the cup).
The shoes also have a mild forefoot downturn, which drives your toes into the point—there is very little dead space. Meanwhile, the lack of a midsole meant superlative grabbing on ultra-steep overhangs.
Most notably, the Arrowhead was precise and forceful when toeing onto and into sharp little micros, as with the harder routes on our local Fountain sandstone. The toebox derives much of its precision from its narrowness, an aggressive point that merges your piggies into one powerful talon that bites into edges and zings into pockets.
Sacrifices some comfort
At the same time it’s not a shape your footcan hold indefinitely—especially if wide and high-volume like mine. This would be my only lament. By delivering such high performance and a narrow fit, the shoes will not be as comfy for the long-term wear of multipitch or slabbier climbing, where you’re doing lots of standing. But then again, why would you buy a shoe like the Arrowhead for that terrain anyway? The Anasazi Arrowhead is a specialist’s shoe—their exact, intended usage—and most serious climbers ought to keep a “redpoint shoe” like this in their quiver. Anywhere there’s thin, dastardly sport climbing with miniscule footholds, this is a go-to rock boot.