Despite a variety of “entry-level” climbing shoes out there, my recommendation to beginners looking to buy a pair for the first time is to find the model with the best fit, and buy it, regardless of price. In fact, I usually try to steer them away from the lower end shoes, as they generally just aren’t very good for anything but taking up space in your gear bin. Plus, if they stick with climbing, they’ll already have a good pair that will last awhile, and if they decide they don’t like it, it’s much easier to sell a high end shoe then some $80 piece of crap.
So it was with some skepticism that I decided to check out the Five Ten Rogue slippers. These are targeted at intermediate climbers, who maybe aren’t ready to step up to a more high performance (and high priced) model like the Anasazi just yet. I’ve used them in both the gym and outside, and I have to say that so far I am digging them. At first glance, the shoe is pretty simple, with low key colors and two velcro straps. It’s designed specifically for climbers moving from the gym to real rock, and they do very well on plastic. They have enough stiffness to comfortably edge on small jibs, and the velcro closure means it’s easy to give your feet a break in between pitches.
On real rock, I recently took them out to some local road choss to see how they would perform. I started the day on an easy pitch, but from the start something felt off. Oh right, I was wearing my super stiff edging shoes, and these routes required more delicate, subtle footwork. For the next climb I slipped on the Rogue’s and all was right with the world again. I could smear comfortably and stand on little footholds with ease, being able to feel them much better thanks to the softer shoe. The rest of the day I climbed in the Rogue’s and they quickly proved themselves as a trustworthy shoe, especially when technical footwork was required.
As far as the fit is concerned, when I first got these, I thought maybe I’d need a size up. They were painfully tight, and I like snug but not painful shoes. It does no good if your toes hurt so much that you can’t even use them! Thankfully, they have stretched a perfect amount and the fit is now quite comfortable. They are also easy to get on, and the two velcro straps cinch down perfectly. (For the record, I have an 11.5 street shoe and these are 10.5′s.)
So despite what I usually tell people, I would definitely recommend this shoe to a beginner, or really anyone who wants a nice but inexpensive pair of slippers, (retail is $94). As for me, they have become my gym shoe of choice so I can save my higher performance rigs for climbing outside. And these fit that niche perfectly.
Disclaimer: The FTC in their infinte knowledge thinks you need to know that this product was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing.