ProView – Five Ten Aleon
As a long time climber, I’ve recently gotten back into bouldering and steep sport climbing as a way to train for longer and harder routes. I needed a climbing shoe that would give me the performance of an aggressive shoe while also not being too uncomfortable to wear while climbing. I wanted a shoe that would work well on my projects and give me a bit more of an edge to get the send. The Five Ten Aleon’s checked those boxes. Designed by world-class boulderer Fred Nicole, the Five Ten Aleon certainly delivers Nicole’s bouldering expertise into a well-purposed shoe. Additionally, Five Ten’s partnership with Adidas has given them access to a broad range of materials and technologies to produce a top end climbing shoe. They are lightweight, perform exceptionally well and are somewhat comfortable for such an aggressive shoe. To top it off, these shoes aren’t overly flashy but still have a nice stylish appearance.
Five Ten Aleon
Product Description: The Five Ten Aleon is an aggressive shoe designed for hard boulder problems with really small footholds. It's a powerful, extremely precise shoe which, thanks to Adidas' plethora of resources, features new materials and new manufacturing processes to improve its comfort, fit, and performance.
Offer price: $190 MSRP
These shoes are designed for steep sport climbing and bouldering and that’s what they do best. Five Ten is known for a narrower toe box, but the Aleon’s have a wider toe box that accommodates users with wide feet. Due to the tight fit, they hold up well when heel hooking, and also perform very well on the smallest edges.
- Perform exceptionally well on steep sport routes and boulders,
- Solid heel hooking
- Edges stick well to the smallest chips
A snug fit which can be uncomfortable
- Don’t do well on low angle slabs or crack climbing
I planned a trip to the New River Gorge in West Virginia to try these shoes for the first time. While I didn’t have the opportunity to test them fully, I did try them out on some of the sandstone boulders within walking distance of the American Alpine Club campground. I was a little worried that the size I chose would be too small even though it’s the size I normally wear, but I was impressed to find that they fit well. The sizing was a little tighter than most, but it didn’t seem to be a problem and the snug fit felt great when heel hooking. The shoe has a single Velcro strap near the top which keeps it out of the way when toe hooking, but still allows for some adjustment.
After returning to my home in Western North Carolina, I decided to take the Aleon’s for a spin at the popular boulder fields of Rumbling Bald. It was a beautiful spring day with temps in the mid 50’s and really good friction that morning. I did a circuit around the boulder field trying the shoes out on different styles of climbing, from steep heel hooking problems to thin crimpy faces, and the shoes seemed to do well in most areas with the exception of course on lower angle slabs. The aggressive nature of the shoes made it quite painful on the slabs, but in reality, that’s not what they are designed for.
I wanted to spend more time in these shoes, especially on steep sport routes, so I made a trip to Hidden Valley, Virginia to test them on some steep overhanging sport routes. I knew that the Aleon’s would do well on the steep stuff, so I also wanted to try them on vertical faces and cracks. I chose a route that began with a vertical crack and then finished out a roof. The crack section was short, about 30 feet, but by the time I topped out onto a ledge above I was ready to take the shoes off. I took a second to rest on the ledge and let my feet recover and then I took off into the steep heel hooking roof above. While climbing through the roof I felt great and the shoes excelled. Once I clipped the chains I made a mental comment to myself about how solid my foot placements felt while pulling the roof. The C4 stealth rubber works very well and seems to stick to everything. I intentionally tried to use the smallest edges and was surprised when my foot didn’t pop after weighting it.
Room for Improvement
The only downside I found to these shoes is the tighter fit and they are limited to a specific style of climbing, but they do exactly what they are designed to do, and they do it well.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with these shoes and would certainly recommend them to someone looking for a high-end, bouldering specific shoe. They do great with steep sport climbing as well but wouldn’t be my go-to for a day of cragging. I will continue to take these shoes bouldering because I love the way the heel stays put while heel hooking and how sticky that C4 rubber is. I was also impressed by the Primeknit material which is one of the benefits of Five Ten’s partnership with Adidas. The fabric allows for a snug fit across the top of the foot while remaining comfortable due to the seamless nature of the Primeknit upper fabric. If you’re wanting to climb hard and looking for a shoe that will give you a bit of an edge with your footwork, then the new Five Ten Aleon’s are a great choice. Also, keep in mind that these shoes accommodate a wider foot than most other Five Ten shoes, so don’t let the Five Ten brand turn you away.
About the Gear Tester
Forrest has worked as a climbing guide and instructor since 2012 and currently works for Fox Mountain Guides in Western North Carolina. He started climbing in 2005 on the gneiss boulders of Rumbling Bald in Lake Lure, North Carolina and roped up for the first time on the metasandstone of Table Rock in the Linville Gorge. Since then he has gone on to climb Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan, and Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades. He has also made trips to climb in Red Rock outside of Las Vegas and numerous trips to closer destinations such as the Tennessee Wall in Chattanooga and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Climbing is Forrest’s primary sport, but he also enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and trail running. You can follow him on Instagram at @forreststavish.