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Five Ten Guide Tennie Review

This is the best approach shoe for scrambling and climbing.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $120 List | $108.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Excellent smearing, edges, and crack climbing
Cons:  Not as light as some competitors
Manufacturer:   Five Ten
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2017
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 10
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 20% 8
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 2

Our Verdict

The Five Ten Guide Tennie gets our Top Pick For Climbing. This product started the approach shoe category 30 years ago, and the small changes over the years have refined its all-around performance and shaved off a little weight. The Stealth C4 sole smears better than any other on all types of rock, and the edging ability is top-notch as well and climbs a little better than the Editors' Choice Award-Winning La Sportiva TX2, but isn't as comfortable for hiking and carrying heavy loads. If your favorite type of climbing involves easy scrambling in the mountains, this is your shoe.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $108.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$130.00 at Amazon$140.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$125.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$120.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent smearing, edges, and crack climbingLightweight, comfortable, supportive, climb wellAwesome balance of hiking and climbing abilities, great supportSupportive, durable, very sticky rubberDurable, great traction in dirt and mud, excellent value, workhorse approach shoe
Cons Not as light as some competitorsSynthetic uppers not as durable as leatherRelatively heavy and bulkyHeavyHeavy and bulky, especially when carrying on your harness or in a pack
Bottom Line This is the best approach shoe for scrambling and climbing.These are the best approach shoes out there for the majority of climbers.This model combines all-around performance with the ability to handle big loads and big walls.A good all-round approach shoe, especially for folks with narrow feet.These durable shoes are well-equipped for miles of hiking and scrambling at a great price.
Rating Categories Five Ten Guide Tennie La Sportiva TX2 La Sportiva TX4 Scarpa Crux La Sportiva Boulder X
Climbing Ability (35%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
Hiking Comfort (25%)
10
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6
10
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8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
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7
Support (20%)
10
0
8
10
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7
10
0
9
10
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8
10
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10
Weight And Packability (20%)
10
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2
10
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9
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4
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3
10
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1
Specs Five Ten Guide... La Sportiva TX2 La Sportiva TX4 Scarpa Crux La Sportiva...
Outsole Stealth C4 dot Vibram Mega-Grip Vibram Mega-Grip with Trail Bite heel Vibram vertical approach Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear dot pattern
Upper Material Suede & synthetic Polyester mesh Leather Leather Leather
Weight per pair (size 9.5) 28.8 oz 20.3 oz 26.2 oz 27.2 oz 32.8 oz
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Mid Height Available? Yes No Yes No No
Lining Material Mesh Non-slip mesh Non-slip mesh Recycled polyester Mesh
Midsole Compression molded EVA Mem-lex/C2 Combo Cord Traverse injection MEMlex EVA Micropore EVA
Sticky Rubber? Toe Rand? Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The current version of this time-tested classic is a little more comfortable and supportive for hiking and carrying loads than before while retaining the majority of the climbing performance that has made it so popular. The Best Buy La Sportiva Boulder X is a much more supportive shoe for carrying loads or covering many miles, but is heavier and doesn't climb as well. Finally, the super-lightweight Evolv Cruzer Psyche is a fantastic shoe for kicking around the boulders between burns or toting up long multi-pitch routes if saving every ounce is your focus.

Performance Comparison


This is the classic approach shoe that started it all.
This is the classic approach shoe that started it all.

Climbing Ability


Climbing ability is where the Guide Tennie shines. The Stealth C4 sole with an edging pad up front smears like no other and edges better than all.


The toe profile of the latest version is a bit higher volume than in the past, limiting the crack climbing performance.

No shoe can edge and smear as well as the Guide Tennie.
No shoe can edge and smear as well as the Guide Tennie.

Edging


Our Editors' Choice winner edges very well. The midsole provides enough support to stand on medium-sized edges but is more sensitive than heavier models that edge well. The previous version of this approach shoe used a full sheet of C4 dot rubber on the entire sole, and the new molded sole's edging pad provides a little better edging capability. If edging ability is your main concern, size these down half to a full size from your street shoe size. You'll sacrifice hiking comfort, but this relatively high volume shoe edges better when fitted smaller.

Smearing


No doubt about it, many climbers consider the Stealth C4 rubber used on this approach shoe the gold standard for smearing ability. In our tests on the slick granite of Yosemite Valley and the rough Quartz Monzonite granite in Bishop, the Guide Tennie smeared better than all the other test shoes. Across the range of rock types we play on outside, this is the best shoe for smearing.

Leather uppers and a relatively low profile make this shoe great in cracks.
Leather uppers and a relatively low profile make this shoe great in cracks.

Crack Climbing


The Guide Tennie has a taller toe profile than the previous version by a few millimeters, meaning it doesn't fit as well into cracks as the previous version. But for flared cracks, the sticky rubber toe rand and moderately stiff forefoot provide excellent crack smearing ability. The redesign that gives this higher toe profile also provides significantly better hiking ability, and we are happy with this trade-off.

Hiking Comfort


We found this shoe comfortable for hiking and scrambling over uneven terrain. There are better approach shoes for hiking in this review, especially in muddy terrain or on loose dirt, but the Guide Tennie gets the job done.


Seven lacing eyelets allow you to cinch the toe down when it's time to climb or loosen the upper for comfort while hiking. This model is shipped from the factory with thin, abrasion-resistant laces. While the lace durability is appreciated, we found these laces a little challenging to get to hold a knot when new, and skinny enough to be uncomfortable on tender fingers after a day of climbing. If you aren't crack climbing in these and don't need the abrasion resistance, we recommend replacing the factory laces with a fatter lace that'll be kinder to your fingers. The Guide Tennie is one of the models we tested with a gusseted tongue, a feature we appreciate that helps keep sand and trail debris out of the shoe. The tongue and ankle collar also use synthetic materials rather than leather, allowing this shoe to breathe better than most.

The current version of this shoe combines the dot rubber of the original with a smooth climbing zone at the toe.
The current version of this shoe combines the dot rubber of the original with a smooth climbing zone at the toe.

Support


This shoe earned a support score in the middle of the products we tested. While there is substantial cushioning in the midsole for hiking comfort, the forefoot is fairly flexible. This contributes to its great smearing ability but doesn't provide a platform for carrying heavy loads. This said, many climbers have solid feet, and find this shoe supportive enough for carrying moderate loads. There are always tradeoffs, and we like the moderate support and moderate sensitivity of this shoe.


If you want a do-everything shoe, and foot support is more important to you than climbing ability, consider our Best Buy, the La Sportiva Boulder X.

Weight & Packability


The Guide Tennie weighs in at 28.8 oz, making it one of the heavier shoes that we tested. We'd prefer a lighter shoe clipped to our harnesses.


The lightest shoe is the Evolv Cruzer Psyche, but it doesn't offer nearly as much support for long hikes and heavy loads as the Guide Tennie.

The latest version (left) next to the original Guide Tennie.
The latest version (left) next to the original Guide Tennie.

Value


The Guide Tennie is very affordable. It is a steal for the excellent climbing performance it delivers.

Conclusion


The Five Ten Guide Tennie is the best approach shoe for climbing and scrambling that we tested. Small improvements over many generations have left us with a shoe that hikes well and is more durable than past versions. We're glad the shoe that started the approach shoe category is still going strong and a great option for wall climbers, alpine scramblers, and valley rats alike.


Matt Bento