Five Ten Anasazi VCS ReviewAugust 31, 2015
- Superior edging
- Maintains shape
- Feels clunky at first
- Upper wears quickly
The Anasazi Velcro and its pink, lace-up version have been go-to shoes for 5.14 climbers at crags notorious for micro footholds, like Smith Rock, OR and the Virgin River Gorge, AZ since the late 1990s. Since then, they’ve been redesigned with a slimmer fit (like all FiveTen shoes), a suppler heel cup and Stealth Onyxx rubber -- all while retaining their edging ability. The Anasazi remains a top performer on pockets and tiny edges.
The Anasazi VCS is dialed for techy face climbing. It has a flat last (with slight asymmetry), stiff midsole and thick (5-6mm), hard rubber that will stick to credit card edges. The lined Cowdura upper won’t stretch much so climbers can count on a similar fit for the life of the shoe (size accordingly). The heel cup has six slits that allow the rubber to mold to the heel. For hooking on arêtes and other tech features, they’re great, but don’t count on sick hooking on super steep terrain. They feel cumbersome on overhangs steeper than about 15-20 degrees past vertical because it’s hard to “grab” with them. Two burly Velcro straps cinch these babies down. Climbers with average to narrow feet will love the slimmer last.
This is what the Anasazi VCS is designed for, and they do it extremely well.
Testers wore these on a 600-foot 5.4 scramble up the First Flatiron above Boulder, unsure of what to expect. If they’re sized appropriately—a half or full size up from a performance fit—they’re awesome smearers. On steeper rock they’re still better than average due to their flat sole.
The Anasazi has never been the most sensitive shoe. But as the rubber wears down in the toe they become more and more sensitive on pockets and better at “smeadging”—a hybrid smearing and edging toe placement.
The flat last makes them ideal for liebacking, smearing, and scumming in corners, like Fingers in a Light Socket (11+) or Ruby’s Cafe (13a) at Indian Creek. They do well on thin cracks too, especially if the odd face hold appears. The upper wears faster than leather in foot jams.
Stealth Onyxx rubber is hard and durable—exactly what you want for edging. At 5-6mm thick, depending on the shoe size, the soles are relatively insensitive, yet will last longer than any other in this review.