One of the most important pieces of gear you will use is your climbing shoes. While many climbers have slight preferences when it comes to climbing hardware like cams and quickdraws, shoes are a whole other ball game as the options and personal preferences vary widely. Here’s my experience testing the Five Ten Grandstone

Background and First Impressions

I have dedicated a big portion of my life to climbing over the last several years. I’ve climbed around the country including at Red River Gorge, Rumbling Bald, Rifle, Yosemite, and Squamish. I know each areas style and how the type of rock differs and know that you need (want) a shoe that can perform in many if not every environment.

Yosemite Valley by Casey Chitwood
Testing the Grandstone in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Casey Chitwood.

The Grandstone is a shoe designed primarily for traditional rock climbing. My first impression of the Grandstone out of the box was, “Wow this shoe is more aggressive then I was imagining!” The arch is slightly concave and there is a more defined toe shape which I was pretty excited to try out.

Features Overview

Filmed at Outdoor Retailer, Dave Kassel explains the features and how the shoe came to be. 

Sizing & Fit

While most climbing shoes use European sizing, Five Ten still uses a US size chart and the Grandstone is considered unisex. I found that odd for it to be called “unisex” because men’s sizing is typically 1 – 1.5 sizes larger than women’s.

Editors note: “Unisex” is the term for a men’s model that the brand would also like to market to women. It’s used when a brand doesn’t have near-future plans to make a female-specific model.

I normally wear a 6.5 street shoe in US women sizing and usually wear a 5.5 male or 6.5 unisex size. I decided to go with a 5.5 expecting it to be truer to male sizing. I was wrong. I could barely jam my foot in the 5.5 and there is no amount of stretch that would have made that size climbable for me. I returned the 5.5 and got a 6.5 and it fit perfectly. I would highly recommend trying this shoe on before buying or at least test another Five Ten model for reference before buying.

Editors note: Five Ten shoes made by Adidas do seem to run almost a full size smaller than the Five Ten shoes that were previously made in the US. The Granstone page on the Adidas website has a number of reviews with more notes about fit.

Over time, I did notice was they did stretch a little bit around my ankle. After 3 – 4 all-day long routes I noticed the Grandstone did loosen in the ankle and heel region. It wasn’t a huge difference but I definitely tighten my laces more now.

Testing

Once I had a shoe that fit, I got down to the important stuff and put this shoe to work. I trad climbed and bouldered primarily in Donner Summit and Yosemite, with their notoriously slippery granite before starting this review. Since then I have climbed volcanic rock in Tahoe City, granite in Sugarloaf, limestone in Auburn, and granite in South Lake Tahoe.

The first time I climbed in this shoe I thought it felt a little stiff to put on but honestly after a day and a handful of pitches it felt broken in and felt much more natural. The break-in period was very short and convenient with very minimal stretch to the shoe. The next thing I noticed about the Grandstone was the Stealth C4 rubber. I was incredibly impressed at how well that rubber stuck to the rock, whether it was smearing on a slabby runout pitch or trusting a dimple on a sheer face. This rubber is on point and I kind of wish all my shoes had it.

Yosemite Valley by Nathan Ross
Testing the Grandstone in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Nathan Ross.

Another important feature I discovered was how incredibly well this shoe edged. The toe box of the Grandstone is concave and slightly downturned so it really helps to give you that extra push when you’re on extremely small or non-existent foot holds. I found this extremely helpful when I was trying to jam the tip of my shoe into a small crack, I was really able to push in and twist when needed. Also, when I was using my whole foot to jam I loved the fact that this shoe had a high top fit. It really protects your ankle not only when you’re jamming but also from just simple scrapes and bumps along the way.

Yosemite Valley by Nathan Ross
Testing the Grandstone in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Nathan Ross.

Mainly I did multi-pitch climbing to test this shoe out. I wanted to see how it held up on long big days on the wall and after climbing several thousand feet in these shoes I have to say I am a big fan. I loved that they were a bit more technical then the TC Pro for climbing but didn’t kill my feet after a couple hours. The Grandstone has a stiff midsole which really helped with support for all day climbs. The lacing system is great, you can loosen or take out an eyelet on ledges and quickly tie it back up when you’re ready.

Durability

After months of climbing, I can say the durability of the Grandstones is very good. Tahoe has had an unusually warm winter so I have been out climbing a lot and these shoes have met mud, snow, and all types of rock. Besides the normal scrapes and smudges the Grandstones have really held up.

Grandstone vs TC Pro

I was previously wearing La Sportiva’s TC Pro and could immediately see the differences in the Five Ten Grandstone. The Grandstone wasn’t completely flat like the TC Pro and the Grandstone has a more defined toe. The Grandstone also comes with Stealth C4 rubber.

TC Pro vs  Grandstone at Lake Tahoe by MicTC Pro vs  Grandstone at Lake Tahoe by Michelle Vlasich
5.10 Grandstone (left) vs La Sportiva TC Pro (right) at Lake Tahoe by Michelle Vlasich

Sizing & Fit

I wear a 37 EU size in TC Pro’s which is a 6 in US sizing and in the Grandstone’s I wear a 6.5. I recommend sizing up just a little bit for the Grandstones because the toebox is a little bit more narrow and defined and if you are going to be wearing this shoe for long routes it would be beneficial to have a little extra room in the toe region. As far as the fit of the heel, I did not notice a big difference between the two shoes. Both have a high top fit and laces to adjust the fit of the shoe.

I have to say I did notice the arch in the Grandstone but in a positive way. I found that I am able to twist the shoe a little bit better then the TC Pro.  Whether I am trying to twist the tip of my toes or my entire foot I found I was really able to bend the shoes easily as needed. At belays it wasn’t the most comfortable just because your foot isn’t completely flat but you can always loosen the laces and pop your heel out for a minute or two.

All-day Comfort

In terms of comfort the TC Pro would be more comfortable for an all day shoe. Your foot is not completely flat in the Grandstone and the there is a more defined toe box which scrunches your toes after a while. It wasn’t painful for me to wear the Grandstones all day but the TC Pro’s definitely have a step up in terms of all day comfort.

Performance

For all the reasons stated earlier in the review, I thought the performance of the Grandstone was a step up from the TC Pro and going forward this will be my new go to shoe for big routes.

Price

The Grandstone retails for $180 while the TC Pro retails for $190.

While I paid for my own pair of TC Pro’s, for this review, I received the Grandstone’s for free in exchange for my truthful opinion. 

Summary

Personally, I will use the Grandstone more over the TC Pro. I like that the Grandstone is a bit more aggressive while still maintaining the qualities of an all day shoe. You can loosen the laces anytime your feet start to ache and then tighten them back up for the crux. Additionally, the Stealth rubber is incredibly sticky. I really noticed this on slab pitches and was impressed by how much more I was able to trust my feet than usual.

Favorite Grandstone Features

  • High stop fit to save them ankles!
  • Holes around the ankle to help your foot breath more and sweat less
  • Stealth C4 rubber
  • Broke in quickly
  • Edges on a dime

Shop Backcountry

Five Ten Grandstone – Details at WeighMyRack


If you’re curious, these are the US retailers (and current prices) for the Grandstone and the La Sportiva TC Pro:

Share
Michelle Vlasich

Michelle Vlasich

Michelle Vlasich has been avidly climbing since 2013, diving head first into learn all different climbing styles and techniques. Her most notable climbs have been: The Grand Wall 5.11A0 in Squamish, Lunar Ecstasy 5.10C2 in Zion and Pinkies Up 5.13a sport in Lime Creek Canyon. Her passion continues to grow and she can't wait for the next adventure.

All author posts