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For technical vertical routes, this shoe is one of the best there is. It’s an impressive combination of edging capability, durability, and comfort. The Anasazi VCS doesn’t force you to sacrifice much comfort for performance — a decision most high-performance climbing shoes force you to make.
If you are looking for a shoe you can wear on long, vertical routes, this shoe is a top choice. If you are a sport climber first and a boulderer second, this could be your only shoe — for indoors and outdoors. The shoe is also incredibly durable — our reviewer’s pair shows virtually no signs of wear after 12 months of consistent climbing.
Our Five Ten Anasazi VCS review also concluded that for boulderers or climbers who often climb steep, overhung routes or problems, this shoe isn’t ideal for you. It isn’t aggressively hooked which prevents it from getting the best grip on overhung footholds.
Sizing & Fit
The Anasazi VCS is made out of a synthetic material which won’t stretch lengthwise, so get the shoe either the same size as your street shoe size or half a size below it (in US sizes). This means your pair should fit well on the first try. They can be a little tight since the shoe will conform to the shape of your foot better over time, but overall they should be comfortable out of the box.
The Anasazi VCS fits well from the start. Some reviewers have had issues with their heel slipping out or fitting loosely, but from our review of the Anasazi VCS we concluded that if you size it correctly the heel shouldn’t be an issue.
Because the heel is sharply cupped it will put forward pressure on your foot and your toes will most likely curl slightly as a result. This is natural and intentional and will help you edge even better in the shoe.
- Rubber: Stealth Onyxx™ Rubber
- Upper: Cowdura (a form of synthetic suede)
- Lining: synthetic
- Closure: Velcro
The Anasazi VCS comes with a generous helping of Stealth Onyxx™ rubber. Onyxx™ rubber is often considered one of the top rubbers on the market, along with Stealth C4™ and various types of Vibram© rubber.
Onyxx™ rubber is known for its durability and edging performance. In addition, it is surprisingly sticky for how stiff it is. Usually the sticky rubbers are soft and pliable, but this rubber is a nice combination of sticky and stiff.
This shoe is known for its exceptional edging ability on vertical or slab surfaces. Its flat and stiff sole helps you stick your toes to the tiniest of features.
Also, even though its rubber is thick and stiff, the Anasazi VCS has a degree of sensitivity and stickiness you would expect from a softer rubber. If you can’t find any microedges to nab your toe on, you won’t feel nervous smearing in these.
However, since the shoe doesn’t have an aggressive build it isn’t the best at edging on overhung routes or problems. 90 degrees and less is where this shoe excels. The Anasazi VCS is by no means bad at edging on overhung terrain, and many people do use the shoe for bouldering because it is so well-rounded, so if you will be doing some bouldering on the side then this shoe will meet your needs. However, if you mostly boulder, this shoe isn’t the best for handling the overhung stuff — check out a more aggressive shoe like the La Sportiva Miura VS instead.
The toe box on the Anasazi VCS is wide and slightly rounded which makes it difficult to stick the shoe into pockets. It’s just mediocre at using pockets as footholds.
Although some reviewers have had issues with heel hooking in this shoe (apparently due to sizing issues), we found the Anasazi VCS to heel hook well. The heel cup is very curved, and some people apparently have trouble getting a snug fit in their heel. However, if you size the shoe correctly, after the break-in period the heel should fit well.
The heel is comfortable and there is sufficient rubber on the back of the shoe to help your heel stick nicely to the rock or gym wall. Heel hooking in this shoe is not uncomfortable.
The Anasazi VCS is mediocre at toe hooking. The leather on the rand is thin and there isn’t much of it to protect your toes — two features which make us think it was never designed for toe hooking.
However, toe hooks are rare to begin with and probably even rarer on vertical and slab climbs. Our reviewer has owned the shoes for over a year and can’t remember the last time he toe hooked in them.
This shoe does a good job of balancing sensitivity with stiffness. The sole of the Anasazi VCS feels almost rock-hard to the touch. However, despite the stiffness, you can still feel some of the features of the rock and wall through the shoe.
Going along with its great edging ability, the Anasazi VCS is quite precise. The point of the toe box aligns perfectly with the tip of your big toe, and the stiffness of the rubber makes it so you can place your weight on a single point of your foot without the shoe bending too much or slipping off a hold.
The Stealth Onyxx™ rubber is known for being a great balance of stiffness/durability and stickiness. After a brief break-in period, the rubber will lose its factory slickness and be great at smearing.
Since the shoe isn’t aggressive you won’t have to fight the downturn each time you smear, making smearing more comfortable than it would be in aggressive shoes.
If you’re looking for a good crack climbing shoe, check out our list of the best trad climbing shoes.
This shoe could work OK for cracks — our reviewer had very little experience crack climbing in them and online reviewers range from liking to hating the Anasazi VCS for crack climbing. It seems like it’s safe to say you wouldn’t buy this shoe exclusively for crack climbing, but it can hold its own if it needs to.
Our reviewer has owned his pair of Anasazi VCS’s for over a year now, and during that time he has had no durability issues with the shoes. The rubber on the sole is still incredibly thick and no cracks have developed in it. You can still feel the thickness and stiffness of the rubber — even flicking it with my finger hurts.
Here’s how the rubber on the sole looks after a year of use:
The Velcro straps on the shoes have held up well. They have not lost their stickiness even after a year of use and have never come undone by themselves.
There are some slight signs of wear on the sole from smearing on rock, but besides that these shoes have rubber which seems virtually as thick as the day they were made.
After a year of use (both indoor and outdoor), our reviewer hasn’t even thought about sending his shoes to a resoler.
Bottom line: these shoes are super comfortable for how much of a performance punch they pack. They are snug — not tight — and non-aggressive which makes them great for extended wear. These are ideal for multi-pitch routes where you need to keep your shoes on for long periods of time.
Before the shoes have broken in completely, they might be a little snug and uncomfortable to keep on for more than 30 minutes. However, after they break in you should be able to wear the shoe for over an hour without discomfort.
Our reviewer initially could wear his shoes for 45 minutes without taking them off. Now that they’ve broken in and conformed to his foot’s shape better, he can wear them for 90 minutes without feeling discomfort.
Like most synthetic shoes (or climbing shoes for that matter), the Anasazi VCS can start to smell after a while.
Synthetic materials don’t breathe as well as natural leather, so it’s usually an accumulation of moisture (i.e. sweat) that causes the shoes to smell. Our reviewer found that he could manage the smell by simply spraying his shoes after every use.
This shoe isn’t the flashiest thing out there, but the tan color and the subtle Native American-esque designs complement the shoe’s name well and conjure up an image of climbing out in Red Rocks or some other swath of rocky desert in the American West.
In bright light these things will look a little drab compared with the almost neon yellow of some La Sportiva shoes. They might even blend in with the rock on which you’re climbing.
After our Five Ten Anasazi VCS review, we recommend these shoes to people who climb on vertical rock more than they climb on overhung rock and desire shoes that are comfortable but also great at edging. They work great as multi-pitch shoes because they are stiff and durable while also being a pleasure to wear.
If you are often climbing steep, overhung routes or boulder problems, this shoe is not for you. It’s not aggressive so it doesn’t perform as well once the angle increases past 90 degrees.
This review was conducted by an infrequent contributor to the site.