Five Ten Men’s Guide Tennie
Size tested: 13
Manufacturer’s stated weight:
407 grams per shoe (in size 9)
- Upper: Nubuck Leather
- Sole: 5.10 C4 Stealth Rubber
Test locations: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO; Cascade Range, Teton Range, WY; Canyonlands National Park, UT
Days tested: 50+
The Guide Tennie is a mainstay in the approach shoe world. Five Ten makes a men’s and a women’s version of the shoe in a number of different colors, offering it in both a mid-top and standard low-cut version. A while back, Hannah Trim put the women’s Guide Tennie through its paces, comparing it to another prominent approach shoe, the La Sportiva Boulder X.
Hannah and I have drastically different foot sizes, however (she wears a women’s size 6, I wear a men’s 13) and I’m about 80 lbs heavier. A shoe’s performance, specifically its stiffness and the volume of its fit, can vary significantly with the size of the shoe and the weight of the wearer, so here’s another look at the Guide Tennie from the opposite end of the foot spectrum.
I took a pair all over the West the past few months to see how the shoe compares to a number of recent additions to the approach shoe market.
Before going any further, I should describe what I personally look for in an approach shoe. Approach shoes, distinct from from hiking boots and trail running shoes, are made to do well on alpine routes that combine long walks with scrambling and / or easy soloing. And I love having a shoe that navigates rock especially well, but without having to deal with much extra weight and bulk.
Sizing and Fit
The Guide Tennie fits pretty true to size; I wear a size 13 street shoe, and the Guide Tennie fits me well in a size 13. I don’t have a particularly low-volume foot, and the shoe does seem to have a high-volume fit, similar to the Adidas Terrex Solo, and much roomier than the Salewa Mountain Trainer or Evolv Cruzer.
Hiking vs. Scrambling Performance
The Guide Tennie strikes a nice balance in performance between hiking and climbing rock, though other approach shoes are preferable when it comes to climbing / scrambling alone. The Guide Tennie’s dotted sole is made from Five Ten’s Stealth C4 rubber, and, as on all approach shoes, has a wide strip of rubber wrapped around its toe. The sole of the shoe is markedly thicker and stiffer than that of the Cruzer or the Patagonia Rover. This, combined with its high-volume fit, makes the Guide Tennie extremely comfortable on hiking trails.
However, the Guide Tennie’s thicker sole and roomier fit detract slightly from its scrambling performance. To be clear, scrambling on dry rock in the shoe is still comfortable for the most part, it just doesn’t offer the sensitivity of a shoe with a softer, thinner sole like the Cruzer or Rover. Having a stiffer sole isn’t something I dislike in an approach shoe, as some stiffness is generally required to hold an edge, but the Guide Tennie’s roomier fit lets the shoe roll off edges more easily than the Salewa Mountain Trainer or Sportiva Ganda. The stiffness of the Guide Tennie’s sole also means it isn’t the most comfortable approach shoe for wearing around town. (If you’re looking for an approach shoe to double nicely as your street shoe, definitely take a look at the Evolv Cruzer.)
The Guide Tennie’s upper is made from Nubuck leather, so it’s a good choice for use in alpine environments where you’re often faced with the occasional slog through a small stream or patch of snow. I took the Guide Tennies up Longs Peak a number of times, once in snowy conditions, and repeatedly in dry weather that later dissolved into heavy rain. For the most part, my feet stayed dry in the Guide Tennie.
The Guide Tennie’s Nubuck upper means that it’s not as breathable as the Patagonia Rover (which has a lighter, more porous upper like that of a trail running shoe), and it doesn’t dry very quickly. Still, I thought the Guide Tennie offered a good balance of breathability vs. water resistance. The shoe keeps you dry enough to move through some snow or water, but you won’t be sweating in them when conditions are warmer and drier. Again, combined with its respectable performance on dry rock, this makes the shoe a great choice for adventures in alpine conditions where some snow or rain can be expected.
A Few (Potential) Downsides
The Guide Tennie’s leather upper and stiff, thicker sole do give it a considerable amount of heft and bulk, which are my primary complaints about the shoe. Whether or not the Guide Tennie’s weight and size are going to be problematic for you will depend on whether you’re planning to take them to a local crag or up into the high mountains—and in what conditions.