Climb Gear Reviews Climbing Guides

Five Ten vs La Sportiva – Best Climb Brand Comparisons

Choosing the right climbing shoes and equipment is vital to your overall rock climbing performance, and like anything else in the rock climbing industry, people are incredibly opinionated when it comes to which climbing shoe brand is best. We have lined up some similar products from two internationally recognized and well-respected brands; Five Ten versus La Sportiva, so that we can effectively compare them for parameters such as quality, features, and price.

We will be looking at some of the best bouldering shoes, some of the best climbing shoes for beginners, and for those who may find it difficult to find shoes, we will also be talking about some of the best climbing shoes for wide feet.

blank

What You Should Know Before Buying

History of Five Ten

Five Ten was originally founded in 1985 in California. They predominantly specialize in hiking, climbing, and mountain biking footwear, but in recent years have also started to produce functional sports clothing. In 2011, the company was purchased by Adidas, which merged Five Ten and Adidas Outdoor in 2020. These days, their headquarters is in Herzogenaurach in Germany, adjacent to the famous climbing region known as the Frankenjura.

History of Five Ten - best beginner climbing shoes

The name “Five Ten” comes from the Yosemite Decimal System of grading rock climbs. While these days, it is not unusual to speak of grades that exceed 5.14, before rock climbing became so popular, 5.10 was a grade that many climbers aspired to reach. Charles Cole created his first sticky rubber shoe in 1985 and called it a “Five Tennie”, which has been shortened to the “Five Ten” that we refer to today.

Material and Design

Five Ten predominantly make climbing, hiking, and mountain biking shoes. Five Ten climbing shoes are widely recognized for their iconic and versatile C4 rubber which is found on almost every single one of their products. C4 is most often compared to the Vibram XS Grip 2, which is found on most La Sportiva and Scarpa products. C4 is considerably more sticky than the Vibram XS2 grip, however, as it is considerably softer, it is not quite as durable and does wear down quickly in comparison, however, the extra sticky abilities make it especially good for slab climbers, especially on sandstone or granite.

Best Popular Designs

Below, we have compared some popular climbing shoes, approach shoes and climbing pants designs from Five Ten.

Five Ten Vs La Sportiva – Brand Comparisons

Five Ten do focus predominantly on creating high-quality shoes, and the simplistic and durable designs speak for themselves. While you may be hesitant to spend so much money on their premium products, you can be sure they will endure for a long time. Now, let’s have a look at some comparable La Sportiva products.

1. Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Hiangle is a climbing shoe with a lot of rubber, and a steep downturn. Like most climbing shoes from Five Ten, they are on the more expensive end of the climbing shoe price scale, however, they are packed with a plethora of helpful features to make this premium product worth the extra cost.

The heel is completely coated in Five Ten’s signature C4 rubber, giving you extra grip in those heel hook situations. The extra rubber coating on the top of the shoe protects your feet during toe hooks and karate kicks, which once more, providing you with extra grip when using these parts of your feet in technical moves. The aggressive downturn helps lock you into the wall on steep overhangs, and the breathable membrane under the buckle allows a little bit of air circulation, keeping your feet as sweat-free as possible for a climbing shoe.

2. Five Ten Anasazi LV Climbing Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Anasazi Climbing Shoes are a great shoe for beginners. While they may come at a slightly higher price than other beginner climbing shoes, you can guarantee that they also come with the quality that Five Ten consistently delivers in their premium products. For a beginner shoe, they are generously coated in rubber on both the toes and the heels, allowing extra friction and comfort when using these parts of your feet. The flat profile and flexible sole allow you to grip comfortably on slabs, and, as a starter shoe, are considerably more comfortable than those aggressive downturns which are best saved for steep overhanging routes. The double-strap-design allows for more adjustability, making them more comfortable for those with wider feet, and the padded inside helps to reduce that much dreaded “breaking-in” phase. This particular design is aimed at women and therefore has a slightly narrower design to conform to the shape of most women’s feet.

3. Five Ten Guide Tennie Approach Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Guide Tennie approach shoes are a solid, all-around shoe that is great for gentle hiking and everyday use as well as for getting to the base of the crag. The dotted flat rubber sole provides excellent protection and grip, and there is a generous coating around the toe for those rockier patches where you might require it. The stiff profile helps support your feet over rougher terrain, which is particularly important when hiking around the base of rocks and crags, and the reinforced toe will help you climb the most basic of routes without the need to change into your climbing shoes.

Where the shoes are made of leather, they are not so breathable, which means on hotter days, your feet are more likely to sweat and become unbearably hot than if you were to wear a synthetic pair of approach shoes.

4. Five Ten Access Approach Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Five Ten Access approach shoes are a more lightweight take on approach shoes. Constructed with a mixture of leather and polyester mesh, the shoes certainly weigh a little less than the other approach shoes on this list, and the typically non-breathable leather has been punctured to allow more air circulation, albeit at the cost of a little waterproofing. The toe area has been reinforced to help with difficult scrambles, and the narrow, technical fit helps you to retain sensitivity while traversing difficult terrain.

While the Access shoes are fantastic to use, getting the right size can be very difficult without first trying them on, which is difficult when buying online. The shoes have been created with a technical fit, and Five Ten have suggested that maybe you order half a size larger than your normal shoe fit, however many users are complaining that this is still far too small to comfortably wear. If possible, it might be best to try these on in a shop first before committing to an online sale.

Five Ten do focus predominantly on creating high-quality shoes, and the simplistic and durable designs speak for themselves. While you may be hesitant to spend so much money on their premium products, you can be sure they will endure for a long time. Now, let’s have a look at some comparable La Sportiva products.


History of La Sportiva - best la sportiva rock climbing shoes

History of La Sportiva

The humble beginnings of La Sportiva date back long before the beginnings of Five Ten. In 1928, Narciso Delladio began the brand, creating boots and clogs for lumberjacks and farmers. During WW2, Delladio made a living by manufacturing custom mountaineering boots for Italian soldiers. During the 1950s, he turned his attention to creating streamlined ski boots and began trading under the brand name “La Sportiva” which can be spotted in almost every single climbing gym around the world today. La Sportiva is still an independent company, with its headquarters based in Italy. La Sportiva specializes in mountaineering, skiing, and climbing equipment. They sponsor several big names in the climbing universe, such as Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell. Adam Ondra can often be spotted with the iconic La Sportiva shoes on at least one of his feet.

Material and Design

La Sportiva tends to make use of other local companies when creating their iconic climbing shoes. The soles and protective rubber are usually made from Vibram XS Grip 2, a popular and durable rubber sole that is not quite as sticky as the Five Ten C4, however, considerably more durable. Vibram also creates soles for hiking boots for many international companies.

Furthermore, many La Sportiva shoes come with a P3 design – an in-built, shape-retaining rubber strap that helps the shoe to maintain the downturned design even after the materials have warmed up during a hard climbing session.

Best Popular Designs

We have had a look at some popular climbing shoe and climbing pants designs from La Sportiva, used by both beginners and professionals, indoors and outdoors.

5. La Sportiva Skwama Climbing Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

These shoes are fantastic for the hardcore boulderer who requires peak performance at all times. The sharp rubber edge helps you to utilize the smallest of footholds with confidence, and the sharp, robust downturn allows you to squeeze your feet into small pockets on steep overhangs and retain traction. Once you have broken them in, the shoes are fast and easy to put on, and are also incredibly lightweight, meaning that you never feel weighed down below your knees. Furthermore, the excessive coating of rubber reduces the potential pain in toe-hooking and gives you that extra grip that you need for those difficult technical moves. The shoes also come equipped with a shock-resistant heel.

6. La Sportiva Solution Climbing Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The La Sportiva Solutions are the favorite shoe of one of the leading names in climbing; Adam Ondra. They are a highly adjustable, comfortable, all-around shoe. The soft padding and dynamic strap design allow a little more stretch, making them more comfortable for those with wider feet. The shoes have a relatively aggressive downturn design, great for those overhangs, however, the middle of the sole is considerably flexible which allows you to stand on those steep slopes and still retain enough grip. Like the Skwamas, the Solutions also have a shock-resistant heel, and a rubber-coated toe to give you confidence for those gnarly toe hooks.

One criticism is that the dynamic strap design, while pretty strong, is still quite easily broken. It is possible to get them repaired by the company, however, you will see many owners of solutions continuing to use them after the strap has snapped, as they are still fully functional, but just not quite as snug as before.

7. La Sportiva TX4 Approach Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The La Sportiva TX4 approach shoes come equipped with a Vibram sole, guaranteed to endure the test of time and provide a reliable grip on a variety of uneven surfaces. The colorful design not only looks fantastic but is highly functional. These approach shoes are suitable for gentle hiking and have a narrower profile which helps increase sensitivity for scrambling over difficult terrain. The reinforced toe area will assist you in very basic climbing, and the thick padding and drawstring closure will ensure your comfort over long periods.

Like the Five Ten Guide Tennie shoes, these are also made of leather (suede), which makes them less breathable than synthetic material and can make you prone to overheating while in use.

8. La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

Built from durable leather and stealing features from the popular La Sportiva Mythos climbing shoes, the Boulder X approach shoes are designed to protect and support your feet on rough terrain and be comfortable for an entire day of cragging. Much like the TX4 shoes, they also come equipped with a tough rubber sole from Vibram – a world-renowned producer of such soles. The Mythos style lacing allows you to fully adjust the fit of the shoe for maximum comfort and functionality, and those who are already acquainted with the popular multi-pitch climbing shoes will slip seamlessly between the Boulder X and their Mythos shoes. The Boulder X also comes with a more generous coating of rubber over the toe area than the other approach shoes on this list.

While these are comfortable shoes that can be worn all day, they are not streamlined for hiking, and those who are wearing them for longer tramps are finding them a little uncomfortable over time. It is worth noting that approach and hiking shoes are two different things, and while there is a large crossover in features and functionality, using them for alternative purposes might not be ideal.

9. La Sportiva Mantra Climbing Pants

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

Available in numerous vibrant colors, the La Sportiva Mantra Climbings Pants are a streamlined product, designed to never restrict your flexibility and mobility in those difficult, technical climbing moves. They are constructed with a nylon and spandex blend, with a gusseted crotch and articulated knees to allow your body to move freely, even in intense situations.

The elasticated hem at the bottom of each leg keeps the pants out of the way while you are climbing, reducing the chance that they can snag on protruding pieces of rock on the wall. They have an elasticated in-seam to make sure that they sit comfortably on your hips. Furthermore, unlike many pants designed for women, they come complete with pockets for storing your essentials on the way to the crag.

10. La Sportiva TX Pants

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The La Sportiva TX Pants, like the Mantra Pants, are a blend of nylon and spandex, although have a higher ratio of spandex, thus making them a little more flexible. They also have a gusseted crotch and articulated knees to ensure maximum flexibility so that your mobility is never hindered. The elasticated inner waist ensures that the pants are snug and comfortable fit, while designed to work seamlessly with a climbing harness so that there is no unwanted abrasive rubbing or discomfort when using the two products together.

The pockets are all zippered so that if you are one of those few climbers who make ascents with an essential carrot to eat at the anchor, you can be sure that it will not fall out of your pockets when you perform technical moves at height.

We can confidently say that both La Sportiva and Five Ten are creating high-quality, durable climbing shoes which are appreciated by both beginners and experts alike. While both companies are creating products on the more expensive side of the climbing shoe price scale, Five Ten tends to inflate their prices just that little more, and while you will find nothing short of excellent quality, you will be paying for it.

La Sportiva has had a little more time to refine their products down as well, as when Five Ten were starting their business, La Sportiva was already winning awards for their internationally recognized climbing shoes. With all that being said, every climber requires something different from their shoes, and Five Ten are still creating fantastic products that give you enough confidence to perform unrestricted in difficult positions on the wall.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from a link you click on the site that lead to a qualifying purchase. It will not cost you anything additional, but it does help us in supporting this site to keep creating great content for you. All our recommendations and reviews included in the site are purely unbiased.