Five Ten Stonelands VCS

Five Ten Stonelands VCS

Five Ten Stonelands VCS, Blister Gear Review.

Five Ten Stonelands VCS

Shoe: Five Ten Stonelands VCS

Sizes: 5-13, 14

Size tested: 13

Stated weight: 8.84 oz (size 9)

Profile: Sole: Stealth C4

Upper: Split-Grain leather

Closure: Velcro

Other features: Midsole Stiffener, Redesigned Heel cup

MSRP: $140

Reviewer’s foot:  Size 13 street shoe, medium-volume (relative to its Sasquatch-like size, anyway), lower arch, neutral gait.

Day climbed: 30

Locations: Eldorado Canyon; Vedauwoo, Rocky Mountain National Park; Clear Creek Canyon, Golden; New River Gorge, West Virginia

Earlier this year, Five Ten debuted the Stonelands—best thought of as a new line of shoes rather than a single addition to an existing line.

Five Ten draws this distinction to differentiate the Stonelands from the established, and similar-looking, Anasazi line. The Stonelands line includes three subtly different shoes—a slipper, a lace-up, and a velcro (called the VCS).

Concept

Apart from the obvious difference in the closure systems, the three Stonelands shoes each vary in stiffness.

The slipper is the stiffest of the three, while the lace-up is the softest, a concept that bucks the long-standing trend of stiff lace-ups and soft slippers.

The traditional benefits of a soft slipper include improved sensitivity and more secure foot placement in a crack for trad climbing. Stiffer lace-up shoes have been the go-to for long days because of the increased comfort and support (on hand cracks, etc.) the stiffer sole provides.

By reversing this logic, Five Ten effectively claims to have found a flaw in that reasoning.

Enter the Stonelands line.

Five Ten reasons that slippers are more likely to slip on your foot (think of standing on an edge and having your foot slide in the shoe while the shoe stays in place) since they have no closure system to fasten the shoe to your foot.

So the company made a slipper with a stiffer sole to counteract the shoe’s tendency to turn on your foot.

Since laces can be tightened for a snugger fit, turning the shoe on an edge is less of a problem with laced shoes. They can afford a softer sole.

The velcro shoe sits in between these two poles. Or so the logic goes.

Composition

The Stonelands shoes are built on a different last than the more familiar Anasazi line. They also include a mid-sole stiffener, (which varies between the Stonelands shoes as discussed above), and a redesigned heel cup.

The last, which determines the shoe’s shape, has a boxier toe than the Anasazi line. It’s intended to allow a climber to size down the shoe slightly without too much discomfort.

Sizing 

A common refrain about Anasazi shoes (either the lace-ups or the Moccasym) is they don’t size down without becoming extremely painful. The last on the Stonelands was designed to eliminate this problem.

Indeed, the Stonelands can successfully be sized smaller than the Moccassym or Anasazi laces without the same discomfort. Now, whether you should size these down is another matter entirely.

I think to take full advantage of the modest stiffener in the sole, the shoe should be sized so that break-in leads to a slight toe-curl that flattens out when you put all your weight on your foot.

There’s obviously some personal preference involved, but there’s a middle ground between having your toes flop around in the front of the shoe and not being able to comfortably fit in thin cracks because your toes are knuckled. This is the middle ground to aim for with the Stonelands.

Five Ten Stonelands VCS, Blister Gear Review.

Dave Alie in the Stonelands on Yellow Belly in Vedauwoo, Wy. (photo by Pete Garceau)

Fit: VCS Version 

I tested the VCS version of the shoe (in my street-shoe size of 13) for a few months all over Colorado’s front range.

Out of the box I thought it fit well, if a little bit tighter than I’d hoped for. My previous Moccasym was just a shade too tight after break-in and, though it stretched considerably, it never reached the level of comfort I’d hoped it would achieve.

That was a mistake I didn’t want to repeat with the Stonelands. Though the VCS was a bit snugger than I’d hoped for, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as the tighter Mocc had been out of the box.

I briefly thought about trading up for a 14, but after gaining about a half size in the break in, I’m very glad that I stuck with the 13.

Smearing

The Stonelands break-in was fast, and it felt even faster since the shoe climbed well right out of the gate. I didn’t have to soften it up, or score the rubber, or adjust to the edges, etc., as I sometimes have to with more specialized shoes.

The C4 rubber—a mainstay on Five Ten shoes—is high quality. I think it’s comparable to the XS Grip2, which appears on many La Sportiva shoes. The C4 rubber excels at smearing on slab or digging the outside of the rand into finger cracks, making it well suited to this shoe.

Since the wider toe box on the Stonelands also improves the smearing ability, the shoe is at least as good at smearing as anything else on the market.

 

Comments:

  1. Have you used the 5.10 hueco? I’ve really enjoyed the shoe, but its lined and my feet sweat a lot…looking for an unlined all around performer to use in alpine and on multipitch climbs. Thanks.

  2. Hi Dave,
    I am considering to buy a pair of Stonelands to climb in Yosemite, amd mostly cracks. My street shoe size is 14 US.(in tennis or running shoes). My feet measures 302 mm exactly. Which size do you think I should get? Which of the three versions (slipper, velcros or lace-up) do you think it would be better?.
    Thanks,

    Pep

    • Pep,
      Your feet are a bit bigger than mine- not by a lot, but enough that I think you’ll want to go with the 14 rather than the 13. The size 13 was a little smaller than I had expected it to be, and it’s all-day comfortable now that they’re broken in, but the 13 would probably fit you like a sport climbing shoe which would miss the point entirely with a shoe like the stonelands. As or which version to get, I’ve been happy with the velcro and I haven’t tried the other two extensively so I hesitate to make a hard and fast decision. that said, you should have a reasonable time finding your answer based on your preference for shoe stiffness. Occasionally it can be hard to work a stiffer shoe into finger crack-sized spaces, but that shouldn’t hold you back in a place like yosemite where you’ll be climbing on granite (as opposed to polished sandstone), and are likely to find footholds here and there, or at least get more purchase out of your rand smears.

      Ultimately, it does come down to preference- many people climb very hard in super soft slippers like the mocc, and the TC Pro (one of the stiffest shoes on the market) is no slouch in yosemite, either. If it were me, I would probably go with the slipper to take advantage of some extra rigidity, but if you have the chance, I would absolutely recommend finding a shop and at least trying them on. Besides, 14 is as large as they go and it’d be nice to make sure those are going to be workable in tight jams.

      have fun in the valley!

      • Thanks a lot!

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