Price | $120
This new kick from Five Ten is one of the best all-day all-around all-performance climbing shoes I’ve worn recently and by a mile (ho ho). The VMile is built to go the distance on cracks, slabs, steeps — and whatever else America’s great multi-pitch areas toss your way.
Above all else, the VMile is stiff and supportive. It’s not so stiff you lose toe sensitivity, but it provides great support for torquing your feet into cracks, especially hand-sized ones. It’s no surprise that the shoe edges well because of this platform last. What was surprising, however, was when I tested the VMile on greasy limestone smears and dishes, and was able to climb nearly as well as in my high-performance sport-climbing shoes. That made me wonder why I continue to torture my feet with tiny toe-crunchers. Maybe softer shoes work a bit better on steep routes, or maybe that’s all in my masochistic mind. Life never offers easy answers.
The VMile seemed to be sized a bit bigger than other Five Ten models. I normally wear a U.S. 10 in Five Ten, and this size was a bit larger than I was expecting. That’s fine, as I really don’t want to crush my toes in an all-day crack shoe.
My favorite features of the VMile directly address some of the gripes I have with multi-pitch climbing. The VMile is easy to get on and off, especially while you’re hanging from a harness, due to two large pull tabs and a simple, functional Velcro closure system. With two Velcro straps, you can’t fine tune the shoe’s fit in the toe box, but I don’t really like laces for cracks anyway.
The shoe’s upper is proprietary leather, perforated so that it breathes well, and yet another feature that relieves at least one pain of multi-pitch climbing (smarmy, hot feet). Also, because the leather is white, I definitely noticed that the shoe was cooler while stranded at a belay, baking in the sun.
Finally, the VMile has a wedge of EVA foam beneath the heel that makes walking around more comfortable, though I doubt that a climbing shoe will ever successfully balance technical performance with the comfort and support of an approach shoe.