Five Ten Anasazi Pinks | $150 | fiveten.com
[ FEATURES ]
Stiff lace-up shoe.
Outstanding edging and crack climbing power.
Focused, precise toe box.
Lined, synthetic non-stretch upper.
4.2 mm Stealth C4 rubber sole, and C4 rands.
The Pink is a reincarnation of Five Ten’s Anasazi Lace-Up, one of the most innovative and iconic rock shoes ever. The Lace-Up had its heyday in the early to mid-1990s when it quickly became the go-to shoe for standard-setting climbers in America and Europe (who weren’t sponsored by other shoe companies).
In addition to Five Ten’s proprietary rubber, two features made the Lace-Up legendary: The first was an asymmetrical toe box, which had a pronounced big-toe point and was sculpted in the shape of an “activated” toes-curled climber’s foot, rather than a ping pong paddle. Second was a powerful slingshot that snapped around the heel of the shoe and rocketed your foot forward into the toe box. These features made climbers appreciate the power of their big toes and gave them the confidence to stand on micro edges.
I was a huge Lace-Up fan in the 1990s and was bummed when the shoes were discontinued. I was also excited to test the new Pink this year.
So, 20 years on, how does the new Pink stack up against my fond memories?
Five Ten has remained faithful to the strengths of the original design—and fixed a few of its flaws. Notably, the new model has an ergonomic, snug-fitting heel cup, which feels locked on and comfortable (the old heel cup could aggravate your Achilles). The lining of the Pink is also improved: It’s tidier and plusher, without the potentially uncomfortable stitching and tendency to rip that plagued the Lace-Up.
The Pink is equipped with a sticky and durable 4.2 mm Stealth C4 rubber sole and C4 rubber rands, and has the same synthetic “Cowdura" upper as the original. A great thing about this shoe’s lined, synthetic construction is that it doesn’t stretch—at all. A bad thing is that it doesn't much breathe—be prepared for your feet to sweat in hot weather.
The Pink has the same lacing system as the old Lace-Up. I love that the lace holes run deep down the toe box, enabling you to customize the fit, but I wish Five Ten had added a speed lacing system to the ankle end of the shoe, or just made the lace holes bigger there so you didn’t have to wrestle to thread them. This shoe is fussy to put on and take off, making it inconvenient for bouldering and gym climbing.
Another gripe is that the Pink’s upper has a bit too much volume, at least for my British feet. My street-shoe size is 10, and that’s what I initially tested in the Pinks. When I cranked the laces, the left and right sides of the shoe virtually met. I exchanged the 10s for 8.5s.
The Pink has the same stiff sole and flat (actually slightly up-turned) last as the Lace-Up. Sized aggressively (1.5 to 2 sizes down from your street shoe), it is for me the best edging shoe for slabby to vertical terrain ever made. For such a stiff shoe, it also smears remarkably well on these angles. Sized conservatively (0 to 1 size down), it is a nimble trad-climbing and multi-pitch shoe, without the clunkiness that mars more boxy all-around models. It is also a great crack shoe thanks to its trim toe profile and lateral stiffness.
Back in the day, I swore by my Lace-Ups for steep bouldering and sport climbing. But times have changed. Since then I’ve become a convert to softer, down-turned models for this sort of climbing. And the climbs I’m trying have also changed. The Red River Gorge and Maple Canyon are a lot more overhanging than Smith Rock or Shelf Road. Bottom line: I loved my Pinks for vertical and slabby terrain, but reached for a more aggressively lasted, grabby shoe when the quickdraws on my projects didn’t touch the rock.
ABOUT THE RATING: I gave the Pink 3.5 stars because it’s an improvement on a shoe I loved, and remains one of the most powerful edging shoes ever made. However, I feel that Five Ten could have tweaked the lacing and last to make the design even more modern.