The Five Ten Access Stealth S1 rubber outsole grips slabby rock like no other and the close, technical fit reduces slop and gives great feedback while making aggressive moves on the way to the cliff. This shoe excels on more technical and demanding approaches, offering sensitivity and traction as the angle steepens on rocky surfaces and fifth class moves pave the way.
Support/Stability The Five Ten Access’ support is rooted in its snug, technical fit. The lower volume interior limits movement within the shoe and keeps the foot planted on the midsole. The wide, high rubber content EVA midsole, low heel drop, and low profile outsole lugs provide a stable platform. The arch is high and supported via an external exoskeleton and lacing tension, but there is little in the way of structural support (no arch cookies and a soft heel cup), making this shoe better for those with a stable foot and ankle.
Protection The Five Ten Access has a perforated nubuck upper, reinforced toe cap, an external rubberized lacing harness and an adequately dense midsole to protect feet on moderately rocky terrain. These shoes will provide adequate protection in most non-alpine style approaches to rock climbing areas with appropriate loads. Stubbing sharp edges with high pressure, either through the sole or through the upper, can cause discomfort.
Comfort Comfort is immediate in the Five Ten Access, and improves over time. The nubuck leather upper forms to the feet and becomes softer and more flexible as the miles pile up. The technical fit of the shoe—although good for climbing performance and sensitivity—may require going up in size for some. This shoe fits those with higher arches and thinner feet in the vertical dimension best. The external lacing framework that spreads lacing tension on both sides of the arch can cause pressure points, particularly on the outside edge of the arches. The suede leather upper, although perforated, limits breathability in hotter conditions but helps in shoulder seasons.
Quality and Construction The quality of materials and construction in the Five Ten Access is what would be expected in a mass produced athletic shoe. Both single and double stitching are clean on the upper but both toe caps had an errant stitch. Some bonding agent can be seen between the midsole and the upper as well.
Performance The Stealth S1 outsole, moderately dense midsole and technical fit allowed the Five Ten Access to have great overall traction in dry conditions. Supreme traction on rock and hard packed trails and good everywhere else other than mud. The midsole straddled the gap between sensitivity and protection well, providing a ratio that works well in most rock climbing areas. Lacing does not extend very far down the shoe, slightly detracting from climbing performance in more demanding sections.
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.