The Five Ten Hiangle is the sport climbing generalist of the aggressive downturn category; not a specialist in any performance criteria, but adept at all. This shoe is a good bet if only one shoe goes into the pack for a day at the sport crag or bouldering field. From vertical to overhanging, the middle of the road approach to edging, sensitivity, and downturn allow confidently tying in for onsight attempts across various terrain and climbing style requirements. The highest Comfort/Fit rating of the category only add to the votes for the one shoe quiver. The shoe does stretch, so fitting can be tricky, and some may find the one strap closure lacking.
The Five Ten Hiangle may have the look of a slipper, but it uses a 4.2 mm thick Stealth C4 outsole and a reasonably firm midsole, which lends more stiffness than a classic slipper. The C4 is also the stickiest rubber in the test, adding to edging ability on razor-thin or sloping edges. Other than this, the shoe’s construction doesn’t target edging. The fit is snug across the width of the foot, but roomy vertically, and the unlined leather upper with single strap closure don’t force the foot and shoe into a powerful edging platform. These contradicting characteristics create a shoe that straddles the middle ground across many performance criteria. Edging performance often comes at the cost of sensitivity for smearing, but Five Ten does an excellent job of providing just enough of both; edging is better than shoes designed for the steepest of routes, but sensitivity remains adequate for smearing all but the smallest and most polished of features. In short, we describe the Hiangle as an aggressive sport shoe that possesses moderate edging ability.
The Hiangle allows adequate sensation of tiny divots, ripples and crystals, but not with the resolution of shoes with thinner outsoles and softer midsoles. The added stiffness of the 4.2 mm thick outsole and the inclusion of a relatively stiff midsole are at odds with sensitivity, but the shoes are still more sensitive than half the shoes in the test. The incredible stickiness of the Stealth C4 rubber aids in this sensitivity, the sole adhering to the smallest of features and transmitting sensations to the foot. The rubber was the stickiest in the test category on both smooth stone and plastic. Smearing felt moderately secure, not for lack of adhesion, but for lack of definitive feel, particularly on slippery limestone or plastic with little texture. The Hiangle again occupies the middle of the road in this performance measure.
The Five Ten Hiangle’s toe rand extends to midfoot on the big toe side of the shoe but lacks the same coverage on the little toe side of the upper. This coverage logically provides excellent toe hooking friction on the big toe side of the upper and less on the other side. The leather does give some friction but not on par with the rubber. These gaps in rubber coverage were not a prevalent issue, and we had to pay attention while purposely toe hooking with the outside of the shoe to have it be a negative factor. The heel doesn’t have total rubber coverage, the inside out outside rear corners relying on rubber edges and leather to provide traction; again, we had to concentrate on purposeful heel hooking to notice. The Higangle’s heel construction does contribute to more heel hooking sensitivity than shoes that had a full rubber heel cup, an advantage while heel hooking on smaller features. The heel structure is a bit loose and baggy towards the front of my heel, but my heels are relatively small for the size of my foot. Some may also find the exposed stitching used on the pair of pull/hang loops on the heel irritating against the skin while heel hooking.
The Five Ten Hiagnle is not the most pointy shoe in the test and has a moderate downturn, but the excellent traction of the Stealth C4 rubber with the moderately pointy profile produces one of the better pocket shoes of the test on vertical to moderately overhanging stone. The bit of stiffness garnered by the 4.3 mm outsole and relatively stiff midsole aided when toeing down on smaller pockets. The shape of the big toe area of the shoe fit my anatomy well, and the unlined upper provided good sensitivity when hunting for the choice smaller pocket. The moderate downturn doesn’t produce as much power at the toe as other shoes in the test with more downturn; this was most apparent when trying to pull on smaller pockets on severely overhanging routes or boulder problems.
The relatively thin vertical profile of the shoe at the front of the toe box, combined with the rubber coverage over the big toe area, moderate downturn, and mild stiffness make the Hiangle a decent crack shoe. The unlined construction provides all-around sensitivity, but can also mean painful jamming in roughly surfaced cracks. The Hiangle isn’t the first choice for cracks but is usable for occasional jamming.
The Five Ten Hiangle is the most comfortable shoe in the aggressive downturn category. There is a little bagginess in the heel, but otherwise, the overall shape of the shoe fits my classic “duck foot” (narrow heel, wide forefoot, but low volume overall) like paint. The lateral fit is snug, all toes pressed together, but the toe box is very tall past rearward of the toes. The downturn and heel tension are moderate for the category, adding to comfort at the cost of power at the toe. We didn’t feel the need to downsize past the street shoe size to maintain proper sensitivity and could wear the shoes for extended periods of time at the gym. The unlined leather stretched a bit, but in doing so, formed to the foot for more precise fitting and added comfort. The Hiangle’s split grain leather upper also felt more breathable than the others, particularly the shoes that have extensive rubber coverage.
Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure riding test editor at Dirt Rider Magazine and an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. He lives in Wimberley, TX with wife Shay, 3 year old daughter Sequoia, 3 dogs and a cat. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.