Edging - /10
Smearing - /10
Steep Terrain - /10
Comfort - /10
Sensitivity - /10
Value For Money - /10
- Good value for money
- Stealth C4 rubber
- Good at edging and smearing
- Small toe rand
- Heel lacks features
Best For: All-around performance
Summary: There’s no doubt that these shoes are designed for slabs, long sport routes, and basic all-around beginner/intermediate-level gym climbing. If you these expecting to crush those awesome problems at your local gym, you will be disappointed.
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Five Ten Anasazi Lace Review
The Anasazi VCS – a classic, durable shoe that is part of Five Ten’s famous Anasazi family and looks like something straight out of a ’90s climbing magazine.
While the Pinks or Blancos might be Five Ten’s front runners, the VCS certainly holds its own. So much so that they have been favored by many top-class climbers including Tom Randall, Pete Whittaker, and Steve McClure.
With a medium-stiff sole, flat last, low asymmetry, and a healthy dose of that legendary C4 rubber, this is an incredibly comfortable and precise shoe that is ideal for long days at the crag. Even at a glance, it is obvious that the Anasazi VCS is designed for vertical – or less than vertical – climbing. That’s not to say you can’t climb a monster overhang or roofs in them, but this certainly takes a lot more effort than Five Ten’s performance shoes.
I’ve been testing the VCSs for over half a year now. During this time, I have climbed both sport and bouldering in the gym but they have seen their fair share of rock too. Out of the box, these are one of the best-performing Velcro shoes I have tested. Standing on the smallest of flakes feels like a breeze thanks to the sharp edges and stiff rubber. Once broken, the magic of the Stealth C4 rubber really comes into its own, and is one of the best-smearing shoes you will find.
In this honest Five Ten Anasazi VCS review, I will talk you through some of the best and worst features of this hugely popular Anasazi model. Let’s get started!
The toe box of the VCS is all about that age-old compromise between comfort and precision.
They use a flat last, with a never-so-slight downturn. This makes the shoes pretty comfortable, which is a refreshing change to wincing in pain as you waddle around the gym. This coupled with an abrupt edge, allows you to pin-point tiny footholds making this shoe ideal for slab climbing.
The toe hooking is probably one of my main gripes with the VCS. There’s a tiny amount of rubber on the toe rand, which won’t help much – if at all. The synthetic upper is fairly low volume so, you’re bound to feel the weight being put on the knuckles of your toes.
The simple fact is, these shoes were not created to rival the Solutions or the other high-performance climbing shoes of this world. In fact, it’s very rare to find a toe hook on a vertical or slab route, so it’s understandable why the VCS’s upper isn’t plastered in rubber.
One of the stand-out characteristics of the Anasazi is their highly tensioned heels. They create a suction effect that not only creates a super-secure fit but also helps drive power to the front of the shoe.
And just like the rest of the family, the heel of the VCS is no different. While it is certainly less tensioned than its lace counterparts, the shoe still creates a comfortable and secure fit.
While I highly doubt you will need it for your slab project, there is plenty of rubber around the ball of the heel, which is certainly more than capable of sticking a technical heel hook or two.
The piece de resistance of the VCS is their sole. Constructed from a single piece of 3.5mm Stealth C4 rubber, this is one of the main features that make it such a popular climbing shoe.
I honestly can’t fault the rubber on these shoes. They’ve been used on any climbing surface imaginable. Plastic, sandstone, limestone – and I’ve never been disappointed with the lack of friction.
In truth, there have been more than one occasion on slab and vertical where the grip and edging ability of these shoes have given me the confidence to place weight on a tiny hold. These were situations I would have most likely bailed with a softer, more flexible shoe.
These shoes saw about 10 hours of use a week over 6 months before the toe area wore through to the rand, at which point I sent them off for a resole with the same rubber. Easy!
Comfort and Fit
The Anasazi VCS is certainly more than comfortable enough to have strapped on for an hour or two before tapping out.
I think this is a win, especially considering in the world of climbing shoes most people won’t be able to keep their shoes on for half that time.
Five Ten says the VCS is designed for wider feet than the lace model, which I would agree with. My feet are fairly narrow so the shoes still fit but there is a noticeably long bit of Velcro which overhangs when they’re done up. This has been more of a slight annoyance than anything else though. I certainly found that my foot shape was more suited to the Pinks or Blancos than their Velcro counterpart.
Make sure you size your VCS to fit as, like any synthetic shoe, the stretch is minimal. After extensive use, I would guess mine have stretched 1/2 size if that. I’m a street size 10.5/11 US and got these in an 11 US.
When I first got the shoes I took them off maybe twice a session but after a little while, I was happy spending multiple hours in these shoes. I probably could have gone a half size down if I really wanted to go for that performance fit.
A common problem with synthetic climbing shoes is that they tend to start smell BAD. For any climbing shoes, I would suggest bagging yourself a pair of boot bananas to fight the funk.
Overall, I have been really impressed with the Anasazi VCS, so much so that I decided to get them re-soled instead of throwing them on the used pile. If I could change anything about these shoes it would be to have more toe rubber and a wrap-around heel… So basically the Anasazi Pros.
There is no doubt that these shoes are designed for slabs, long sport routes, and all-round beginner/intermediate level gym climbing. If you buy these expecting to crush those awesome cave problems at your local gym, you will be disappointed.
I’d recommend anyone looking to leave behind the gym rentals to try the VCS as they will provide a high level of comfort and durability on a wide range of climb types.
I’ll likely continue to use the Anasazis for the foreseeable future, although I won’t be throwing my Solutions away anytime soon. I hope you have enjoyed this Five Ten Anasazi VCS review. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email!
We’ve had our say, and now it’s time for you to have yours. If you have a history with this shoe, then please leave a review! The climbing community needs your wisdom.