Five Ten - Approach Pro Review


Original Post
Sketty · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Background:

As a former gym employee and routesetter I am slightly embarrassed to admit the number of approach shoes that I've purchased over the years. La Sportiva Boulder X, Five Ten Guide Tennie / Aescent / Freerider / Warhawk, plus probably 3-4 pairs of Evolv Cruzers... the list goes on.

Obviously 'Approach shoe' is a weird category to begin with... almost all of the actual (1 hour+) approaches that I've done have been completed in my La Sportiva Wildcat trail runners since I'm usually much more concerned about slipping on scree / gravel (and of course, not getting blisters) than I am about being able to edge precisely. While the lack of sticky rubber isn't ideal, my Wildcats are plenty tacky and I've always figured that I can throw on my actual climbing shoes if I run into a death slab. After years of trying to figure out what role an approach shoe should fit, I figure that all I really want out of an approach shoe is something that can pack up to nothing and is soft enough to prevent blisters while still being able to edge/smear somewhat decently. 

For the aforementioned reasons, I never actually use any of my approach shoes outdoors with the sole exception of my Evolv Cruzers, which I use fairly often for multi-pitch when I don't want to stash anything or leave stuff behind. While the Cruzers aren't fantastic climbing shoes I've still found myself climbing entire multi-pitches up to 5.10 in them - I've always loved how light they are but have lamented the fact that they were just too soft to do anything but smear. All of the other shoes are either too stiff to hike in (blisters) or too soft to climb in (can't edge). People seem to love the Guide Tennies, but in my eyes they've always felt too stiff to hike well and too clunky to climb well - a true master of none. The Cruzers seem to strike an acceptable balance between the two - they're too soft to edge in but the softness allows me to size them tighter without getting blisters, which gives me better overall rock performance than a clunkier but stiff shoe would on most easy, slabby climbs. I'm definitely not going to go out and hike 10+ miles in them, but like most climbers I have pretty strong feet and have hiked 4-5 miles in them without getting any blisters or feeling the need for more support. However the Cruzers have another major downside - I've never had a pair go more than a few months without a major rip, usually right on the outside edge of my foot. The canvas is just too thin and fragile - they're like a pair of Toms with sticky rubber. So I've been keeping an eye out for a pair of approach shoes that are still light / collapsible while having a little bit of reinforcement to keep the rips at bay and hopefully tighten up the edging a tad. Enter the Approach Pro. 

Initial Observations:

While the Approach Pros are not as light as the Cruzers (15.4 oz vs. 19.5 oz for a pair of size 9's), they seem significantly more durable and edge much better than the Cruzers. I've only owned my Approach Pros for a few months but I have been wearing them 5 days a week (plus 2x/week to the gym for the past couple of months... since I messed up my back and can't bend over to lace up my normal climbing shoes!). While I can't "edge" per se in my Cruzers (it's more like 'smedging'), my Approach Pros will actually edge on small-ish (1/4 pad) footchips, which is something that none of my other approach shoes have even come close to doing. I might just be lucky with the sizing, but they're ultra-comfortable too... they have a respectable amount of foot support and are stiff enough to edge without my toes needing to touch the front, but soft enough to walk around in all day without getting blisters. Best part is, over the past few months of near-daily wear they still look almost-new and show no major signs of deterioration.

Conclusion:

Once my back heals up I'm excited to throw a pack on and see how these hike, but my initial impressions have been very positive so far. They're lightweight, relatively durable, pack up small, and can actually edge somewhat decently - everything  I want in an approach shoe. While these definitely don't rival the performance of a true climbing shoe, I've been edging confidently on 5.10 / 5.11 feet and can easily see myself leaving my climbing shoes behind entirely on easier multipitches or traverses with these shoes. I haven't seen many review of these yet so figured I'd throw my initial impressions out there - if anyone has put these through a more rigorous test please feel free to chime in and let me know your thoughts! 

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 73

Great info, thanks for sharing. How do you size these compared to the other approach shoes you've owned? Also, what is your foot like in terms of sizing?

Will Haden · · KC, MO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 90

Toe box and platform look a little more similar to the Terrex Solos. I'm interested in checking  them out!

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

I'm also super interested, and don't know how I haven't ordered a pair of these guys yet...considering I've used almost 15 different approach shoes :P

If anyone is interested the LA TX4 and 5.10 Aescents are the current leader of best approach shoes for me. 

pat a · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

I've been using a pair of these for the last couple of months and absolutely love 'em.  I run in minimalish zero drop shoes and decent ground feel (merrell trail gloves, VFFs, etc) and most approach shoes are kinda the opposite of that.  My favorite approach shoes used to be the Patagonia Rovers (no longer available), which were basically a cross between a zero drop trail runner and an approach shoe.  Decent rubber, stiff where it mattered, sensitive, etc.  The Cruzer is nice in theory, but doesn't really fit my wide forefoot and doesn't really climb all that great.  

The 5.10s fit me great in my street shoe size (half a size up from my 5.10 climbing shoe size). Enough room in the toe that hiking is comfortable, rubber that grips really well on steep wet rock, wears well on pavement, enough lateral stiffness to edge but flexible to hike in, close enough to a thin+zero drop sole.  Tradeoff to the durability is that the upper is thick so they get a bit warm in the summer and don't dry super fast if they get soaked. 

Great all-rounder. Climb well, hike well, look like normal sneakers and comfy enough that I wear them around town all the time.  My son and I have been trying to find all the best cracks between buildings and in parking structures and these are my secret weapon.  Silly fun to have something so close to a legit climbing shoe that I can wear to the office on friday.  :-P

Sketty · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Zachary Winters wrote:

Great info, thanks for sharing. How do you size these compared to the other approach shoes you've owned? Also, what is your foot like in terms of sizing?

I'm a dead-on 11.5 d/e on a brannock device, and the 11.5 Approach Pro fits me perfectly - toes not quite touching the front when my feet are swollen but they probably would be if I put on a heavy pair of wool socks. Fit seems very slightly roomier than my Cruzers, but very slightly tighter than my Aesents.

It's honestly hard to compare fit to the Guide Tennies or Boulder Xs because those shoes are so much stiffer and I need to lace them tighter as a result. The heel is pretty form-fitting on the Approach Pros so honestly I've never needed to fully tighten them down (even when climbing) so in a way that probably makes them seem more comfortable then they might be if I had to really cinch them down. I don't know if that makes sense, but it feels like the difference between putting on my ice boots vs. putting on a pair of normal tennis shoes... I expect them both to fit differently so its hard to directly compare.

And likewise Pat - I wore mine to the office today and have to admit they're a low-key good looking pair of shoes. I never thought I'd get compliments on my approach shoes from non-climbers, but go figure!

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

I give them 2 months before they delaminate.

Melinda Russell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Can anyone comment if these size similar to the Guide Tennies? I'm a half-size smaller than my street size in the Guides. 

Arthur · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 138

Had mine for around a month before they were torn on both shoes right around that rubber piece that sits on the outside of your foot.  Used them on a trip up to the Perch and a few days of 3rd classing was the death knell.  Lasted shorter than my Cruzers which only lasted a few months as well.  

I think there is no getting around the fact that these lightweight approach kicks will be destroyed if they ever actually touch rock.

Using a pair of Sportiva TX4s now and we’ll see how that goes.

Luna Luna · · New Haven, CT · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 55
Melinda Russell wrote:

Can anyone comment if these size similar to the Guide Tennies? I'm a half-size smaller than my street size in the Guides. 

I just ordered a pair and am returning them to get a half size up from street (5.5 women's Up to a 6). Intiallyni agree with the op on all counts except I will comment the instep is low and the toe is a bit narrow. I have a small slightly wide food so hopefully the size 6 will still fit well!!

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 160

I've used these for months, they are bomber, no weird delaminating so weird wear or tear.  I had two pair of cruzers before this that were fully submerged in shoe goo after LIGHT use.  I use these apporach pros frequerntly at tahquitz and the likes and they are fantastic.  Low profile compared to the guide tennies so you can throw them in your pack for the climb plus sam super sticky stealth dot rubber.  LOVE THEM!

sherb · · Loveland, Ohio & Wheat Ridg... · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 60
Melinda Russell wrote:

Can anyone comment if these size similar to the Guide Tennies? I'm a half-size smaller than my street size in the Guides. 

New or old Guide tennies?

new guide tennies run half size large (eg size 10 feet need to buy size 9.5 new tennies). The Approach Pro runs the same sizing as old guide tennies which are true to size.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 160
Melinda Russell wrote:

Can anyone comment if these size similar to the Guide Tennies? I'm a half-size smaller than my street size in the Guides. 

my GTX Guide Tennie Mid tops are size 10 and my approach Pro's are size 10.5 men's.  If that helps!  

Melinda Russell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
sherb wrote:

New or old Guide tennies?

new guide tennies run half size large (eg size 10 feet need to buy size 9.5 new tennies). The Approach Pro runs the same sizing as old guide tennies which are true to size

I guess the new[er] tennies. They just released a new model, but I have the ones just prior. Sounds pretty consistent that the Approach Pros are about a half size bigger than the Tennies, or rather, more true to street shoe size. Good to know!

Doug Chism · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Hope they make a mid version, as someone prone to rolling ankles options for high tops are slim. Guide Tennies don't fit my wide forefront well.

NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105
Doug Chism wrote:

Hope they make a mid version, as someone prone to rolling ankles options for high tops are slim. Guide Tennies don't fit my wide forefront well.

If you are prone to rolling ankles you should first look into: 1. hip/ leg exercises and stretches 2. working on balancing out your body 3. Finding proper fits on your shoes. That will pay dividends over just buying high top shoes. Current mid and high cut shoes aren't stopping your ankle from rolling, they are helping to secure your foot (the navicular and heel in particular) to the footbed/midsole which makes your foot more stable.

But if you are set on getting a high top approach shoe you should looking into the Mid TX4

Doug Chism · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
NorCalNomad wrote:

If you are prone to rolling ankles you should first look into: 1. hip/ leg exercises and stretches 2. working on balancing out your body 3. Finding proper fits on your shoes. That will pay dividends over just buying high top shoes. Current mid and high cut shoes aren't stopping your ankle from rolling, they are helping to secure your foot (the navicular and heel in particular) to the footbed/midsole which makes your foot more stable.

But if you are set on getting a high top approach shoe you should looking into the Mid TX4

My hips and legs are in great shape, but I have long standing issues with my foot and ankle from a motorcycle crash. 

At the advice of my doctor, I have been doing balancing and strengthening on my ankle for the last few months, and I have noticed an improvement. However its not going to be like my other ankle, ever. High top shoes really help, especially on descent. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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