Upper: No-stretch Cowdura synthetic upper
Outsole: Stealth C4
My Foot: Average shape, medium arch, but small
Street Shoe Size: 5-5.5
Size Tested: 5.5
Climber Type: Primarily sport and trad climbing, some bouldering
Time Tested: 4 weeks
Locations Tested: Indian Creek, Utah; Turkey Rocks, Colorado; the gym
I grew up climbing in Evolv and La Sportiva shoes, because that’s what the people around me wore. In fact, I hadn’t even seen a Five Ten shoe until maybe two years after I started climbing. I remember thinking they didn’t look very aggressive because they didn’t have a down-turned toe (the only thing I knew about climbing shoes at the time).
My first experience wearing Five Tens was two years ago, when I went for a pair of Blackwings. The Five Ten Blackwings are certainly wonderful shoes, but they’re incredibly aggressive, and the old-school Anasazis kept creeping up in the back of my mind. The few climbers I had seen wearing Anasazis were hard-core, older climbers who ignored the obsession with aggressive, down-turned shoes and still climbed insanely hard.
So when a family friend bought a pair of the Anasazi LVs, the low-volume version of the traditional Anasazi, I was too curious not to try them. I was especially curious to see how well the lower-volume version of this classic shoe fit my foot. In general, I tend to have a very average-sized foot, but women’s shoes often fit me way better than unisex and male-specific shoes. Plus, I thought the LVs were a gorgeous color.
My first impressions of the shoe were positive, although the fit was different from any other shoe I’ve pulled on. The LVs slipped on easily, thanks in part to the placement of the two heel tabs on each shoe. Some climbing shoes have only one tab on each heel, which I find much more annoying for squeezing my feet into than the double tab option.
The specific placement of the tabs was also helpful; having a tab on the inside of the heel as well as the back made fitting my feet into the slightly asymmetric LVs very comfortable. This is a very minor point, of course, but I appreciated the lack of struggle required to get into these shoes.
Another note on sizing: the LVs stretch minimally, if at all, because of the Cowdura upper, a synthetic, leather-like material, designed specifically to stretch as little as possible. For this reason, Five Ten puts a note on their shoeboxes saying the shoe should be sized comfortably. Take that note seriously. I sized these shoes similarly to my other all-around shoes (La Sportiva Katana, La Sportiva TC Pro, Evolv Geshido and Elektra), and they were almost too tight. That said, the LVs seem to run about a half size smaller than the Five Ten Blackwings (I wear a 5.5 in the LVs and a 6 in the Blackwings). Overall, I really like my all-around shoes to be tight in the toes, but not tight enough to curl them, like they are in aggressive shoes like the Blackwings.
Most climbing shoes that I’ve worn feel more like a glove once I’ve slipped them on, and tightening them only fine-tunes the fit. The LVs were very different in this respect. Once I had the shoe on my foot, it felt a bit loose around the arch. The toes felt appropriately tight, but it really took tightening the straps all the way down to make the LVs feel like what I’m used to from all-around climbing shoes. They felt pretty similar to the Evolv Elektras in the way that they hugged my feet (instead of the more aggressive shoes like the Blackwing or La Sportiva Solution).