Five Ten Verdon VCS

Original Post
Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635
Recently released, the 5.10 Verdon VCS is a granite machine!

  • *full disclosure** I work for Fiveten ( 8 years)in development and sales, and am giving my honest opinion. Been climbing 25+ years, in many brands of shoes.

The recently released Verdon VCS really impressed me today for my first session in the shoes. I had used the lace version for a year or so as well as some earlier iterations of a similar concept. I won't go into marketing blah blah, or technical jargon.

Today was an amazing winter day at Index, WA. Mostly dry, breezy, ceiling of clouds, and chilly.

Posted up a couple pitches up at the lower wall, awesome conditions from 10:30-3:00 while I was at the cliff... By 3:30 heavy rain came.

Today was my first time in the shoes, brand new, out of the box. I'm a 12 street shoe and these are 11.5. Fit is snug, little baggieness over the toe box, but secure and comfy even with thin wool socks.

First impressions: first pitches I did throws it all at you for granite tech. "Ten Percent" has a bit of everything, and the shoes felt great. Edging was a dream, perching on knobs, secure... Rand pasting, smearing, it all felt super solid. Probably had a lot to do with conditions too ;)

I felt the shoes really shined later in the morning on a classic LTW excursion "stern farmer"... One crux on this pitch involes some torquing into a flare, as well as some delicate stemming on micro features... Both scenarios were easily handled my the unique toe shape of these shoes.

After the cruxes on "stern farmer".

The rest of the session included many pitches involving every granite style and a healthy dose of slab as I moved up to the "shield" section at the top of the cliff. Friction was amazing, and I really couldn't find a technique where I was left wanting for another shoe. In fact, this is the first time I can remember ever taking a brand new pair of boots out and doing 17 pitches of techy granite without needing to take my shoes off! Pitches, rappelling, more pitches, more rappelling... 4 plus hours in rock shoes and my feet are fine... This wasn't a sloppy cruiser all day type performing shoe... Most pitches were .11 and up to .13- (bouldery).

Just was kinda blown away by the day, and how great the shoes worked. Thought I'd share. Let me know if anyone has any questions.

I ❤️ Index!

Been a great couple days between storms here in the PNW.
Ryanb. · · Chatt or WA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 5

Nice review and great photos. Interested in how you think the Verdons (lace or VCS) compare to the Anasazi blancos?

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

Humm... The iconic and beloved "blanco", well I have to admit I never embraced that version of the Anasazi, though I climb extensively in both versions of the VCS as well as a bunch in the verde, and the Pinks

For me, I couldn't get past the heel tension of the blanco even if it promised maximum power in the toe box and super secure fit. I found The verde and VCS models had enough tension for me and the added comfort beat out the possible performance benefits. I like a nice balance of comfort and performance.

That all being said, for my foot, and the way I sized this pair, I can't think of a better shoe for technical multi pitch.

I was thinking while climbing in them that they vaguely reminded me of a Galileo in comfort and stability, but a bit more technical in the toes, and more sensitive. The C4 rubber was like Velcro in the conditions and the combo of shape, tension, midsole construction, and materials matched well for my foot and the days climbing.

I would venture that if you fit Anasazi well, this shoe will impress in many ways, and like I mentioned in the post, I personally hadn't experienced such a comfortable and capable shoe, brand new out of the box, for hours of continuous climbing.

Hope that provides some helpful info... As these get assorted in more gyms and shops, keep your eyes out for demo events and try them if you get the chance.


Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

Just a few other thoughts.

The lace version of the Verdon has a great ability to fine tune the fit, similar to the Blanco.

The lining on both the lace and VCS versions of the Verdon are IMO much more comfy than the blanco. Soft.

Again, heel tension (slingshot) is much less on the Verdon compared to the Blanco.

Tongue on the Verdon is much more comfy, not a huge deal but just adds to the overall comfort.

Shape throughout is different in many ways from toe box, arch, heel, etc.

Upper materials on Verdon are leather and lined, versus lined synthetic (cowdura) on the Blanco. In my experience the lined cowdura stretches the least of all of Fiveten upper combos, followed by lined leather.

As for climbing performance between the two, I'll hold off as I never really climbed in the Blanco.


Ryanb. · · Chatt or WA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 5

Thanks for the expert analysis Kevin. I think there is a pair of verdons in my future; you deserve a commission. Just gotta burn through a pair or two of shoes to be able to justify some new ones...

Any differences, other than closure system, between the lace and VCS models?

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

Happy to help!

Materials and construction are the same between lace and VCS. Main difference I found was the slight baggieness (asthetic not fictional issue) near the lower strap. As always, if you get a good fit in VCS, it's a little easier getting in and out and no laces to get cut in cracks... Lace gives you massive adjustability along the whole foot.

Hope they fit well for your foot and your climbs!


Cruxclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Hey man I was wondering if you could give me some tips on the sizing. I own a pair of dragons in size 9 and a pair of old blackwings in size 9 aswell. The dragons are really tight and that is the tightest i would like them to be.
The blackwings are perfect. Not to tight but not to loose. You said that they were a little baggy in the toe box. I am a 9 street shoe. Should i go down one or two sizes? thanks!!

Cruxclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Also i am looking for a tighter fit something where my heels wint pop. Not necesarily super bouldering fit but like sport climbing and light bouldering fit

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

Just saw the additional post about heels and overall use ideas...

Not knowing your heel, but taking my personal experience I'll say this... I fit the heel pods better (less baggieness at the bottom of my heel/ heel doesn't drop down all the way) in both the verdons, and the hi angle.

I used the Verdon lace a bunch bouldering and they were awesome on gently overhanging.

Verdon lace on overhanging granite in Leavenworth

"Impressionist", watercolors Boulder, icicle creek canyon. Leavenworth, WA.

Eric K · · Washington · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 45

Would you have sized differently (1 size down) if you only plan to use these for single pitch climbing (smith Rock)? Would you chose the lace over vcs for any reason aside from fit?

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

For single pitch I might be able to get a little more precision an additional half size down? For me personally I climb better when my feet are secure in the shoes and somewhat confy, as opposed to crammed in so hard that all flexion and extension is gone.

This summer bouldering and roping up at index, the lace in 11.5 felt like a more fine tunable fit than the same size in the VCS.

I have to add though that I've heard the shoes fit slightly larger than some folks were expecting and I don't have experience with a current production version of the lace-up in 11.5. Mine were a pre production sample and feel tighter than the VCS in the same size.

I have worn the lace version a bunch and I can speak to the amount of stretch I found in a pair that fit tight. The lined leather has not stretched much or at least the feel of the shoes has not changed much. The knuckled area in the toes is more comfy now that the upper has broken in to accommodate my toes, but the shoes don't feel longer, or roomier.

I think fit secure but not overly tight/painful that this style in particular uses the shoes design features and construction/ materials to actually make technical thin footwork easier without having to sacrifice all comfort for performance gains.

I think this shoe will do very well at Smith... So long as it fits your foot well :)

How that helps.

Matt.H Haron · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 185

Stealthy, Great to see the verdon in a velcro. Looks rad. I bought the lace version and really like it, However I will mention my pair, size 11.5, had laces that were way too long, so i dont know if thats normal because of the large size of the shoe but to prospective buyers, you might want to expect getting more laces. I tried cutting mine down and the frayed so i just replaced with some 2mm cord.

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

cool Matt, glad the shoes are working well for you...i've heard the laces can get really long sometimes... when i've done cuts i make sure to melt the ends. might help in the future?

Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

Yeah the laces are stupid long - I wrap them clear around my foot and still have plenty. Sure it's a minor thing and easily fixed but for the price it kinda shows a lack of detail by 5.10.

NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105

TL;DR Version
-If you have a longer second toe, beware.
-Love the heel fit
-Sizing is way different than the Anasazi last.

I was super bummed to find out that I can't wear these (ie the verdon last) without modification to the rand and possibly push out the second toe area.

The plan shape (looking down from above) of the last is SUPER asymmetric, and curves down radically from the big toe. So anyone else out there with a second toe that is noticeably longer than your big toe, MAKE SURE you can try them on first. To get a proper fit (no bagginess especially above the toes and snug in all the right places) my second toe had immense pain.

The heel though was fantastic! Closer to a Scarpa or La Sportiva fit.

The build quality looks great, and I love the super bright liner, but the straps are a bit too long I'd say.

I know last development is super costly but man I wish 5.10 would tweak the Verdon last to just have a bit more squareness for the second toe area, or slightly less asymmetric to give the second toe some room to slide into the point.

Sizing was way different than any other five ten I've ever had, even moc's. I'm a 11-10 depending on model and how I want to fit the Anasazi line, and I think a 9.5 for Moc's. But for the Verdons I'm either a 8.5 for a performance fit, or 9 for a more of a every day fit.

Matt.H Haron · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 185
Stealthy wrote:cool Matt, glad the shoes are working well for you...i've heard the laces can get really long sometimes... when i've done cuts i make sure to melt the ends. might help in the future?
Good to know, I thought the fabric that the shoelaces were made of would not be ok to melt so thats why i just used some old cord. no big deal really, just figured I would let people know so they dont take them out without checking.
NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105

Also as a developer for Five Ten. Why isn't the states getting that RAD lace up high top in the EU catalog?

Doug Hutchinson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 95

FiveTen can be crazy frustrating at times huh? Been years since they have had a good trad shoe, but they have been working on their TC Pro equivalent for 2 or maybe 3 years ("who in Cali would ever want a high performance high top" WTF?) and then they finally reveal their re-born Altia in EU only?!?

Glad u are selling so many MTB shoes, but last I checked, the big boys in the Valley, and Squish, and Index kinda like stiff, flat-soled, high-tops...

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

just FYI, there is no hightop being released anywhere globally. the catalog was printed while the shoe was in development still, and the decision to keep working on it and not release until its perfect was made. better for everyone. the days of releasing shoes that have a short life are gone.

i have used the "altia" extensively during development, and it climbs like a not quite as dialed version of the "Verdon" with a higher upper. a good shoe, but for me id pick the Verdon lace or VCS any day over the last working version of the "new altia" for the terrain mentioned in the post.

again, i personally found this particular shoe, VERDON VCS, to excel at Index ( granite ) climbing of all types of terrain. (with the exception of full on wide thrutching type offwidths which i didn't encounter on this day.) im sure they would be great for wide as well based on the fit ( for me) and stiffness. YMMV

perhaps i'd wear a light neoprene ankle brace if i was worried about my ankles getting little bo-bo's ( using stealth paint on these braces increase the friction and durability quite a bit)

as for the future development of "high top, all day performance, crack, face, etc" type shoe from 5.10, you can expect good things...until then, might i suggest checking out either one of the Verdon, Anasazi, Stonelands, or Rogue series of shoes depending on what FITS your foot, FITS your goals, FITS your budget, and FITS your overall needs.

Five Ten will be expanding our demo shoes nationally this year, so inquire at your local gym, or at an outdoor event to get a chance to test drive and find your ideal FIT.

i cant reiterate enough the pleasant surprise as my feet never felt uncomfortable for the entire day while constantly moving up or rappelling with the shoes on, over 17 technical pitches of a variety of terrain in 4 hours. in all other shoes i would have needed to take them off at numerous times, and or had some soreness at least at the end of the day.

i'm not really sure what other shoes currently or in the past can do that out of the box? for me that answer is none, and ive used everything from Merrell "smear" circa '90, OG Altia, Kaukulators, TC pro, and any other 5.10 of the last decade. YMMV.


Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

Ah - Kaukulators - the best climbing shoes I ever owned - fit me perfectly and climbed everything I was good enough to climb - in comfort!

I got 5 resoles out of them before they simply fell apart.

Stealthy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 635

agreed Chris, loved that style had several pairs with several Ramuta resoles on them for over a decade...paired with a super soft shoe like the mythos, i had a happy tool box of shoes.

kinda pushed my last pair to the limit :)

blown out Kauks...a sad day! though knowing my dirtbag status during those days, im sure i kept climbing on them

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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