Five Ten Guide Almighty
These are, by far, the worst boots I have ever bought.
Break-in Period: 1 month
Price Paid: $79
These are, by far, the worst boots I have ever bought. I purchased these a few months before travelling to Wyoming to climb the Grand Teton last year. The shoes were extremely comfortable out of the box, and the stealth soles gripped very well during a break-in climb.
Unfortunately, during the approach to the Grand, both heels started to separate from the shoe. Within about six hours, the left sole had separated to the middle of the shoe and was just flopping around. While boulder hopping, I landed and the heel slid out to the side, causing me to fall and sprain my knee.
We made it to the camp near the Lower Saddle, but our trip was over. The guides from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides tried to duct tape the shoe together, but it was still unstable and now, very slippery due to the tape covering the sole.
These shoes had only been worn twice before and cost three of us a trip we had been planning for six months. The guides could not believe how quickly these shoes fell apart, although one guide said he had the very same problem a few months earlier. Everyone we met on the way down, including Exxum guides, said Five Ten should reimburse us for our trip. After many unanswered phone calls and emails, I could barley get them to reimburse me for the shoes, even though they had admitted that there were defects in early runs of the shoes.
I will never buy Five Ten shoes again. I understand that there are probably many stories of people who haven't had problems with their Guide Almighties, but I have never had shoes that became so useless (and dangerous!) so fast, and their customer service was horrible.
I've always been a fan of Five-Ten shoes and these…
Use: approaches, light technical climbing
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: $80?
I've always been a fan of Five-Ten shoes and these new boots have reaffirmed that status.
They can be hard to find. While Five-Ten's climbing shoes are pretty well distributed in climbing shops, their impressive line of approach shoes and boots are almost impossible to locate. However, your efforts to find a pair will be well rewarded. (try www.mgear.com)
The Guide Almighty is a high-top approach boot that can also be used for light-duty technical climbing. It has a nice soft leather upper that is well padded around the ankles. The lacing goes all the way down to the toes, so you can crank them down really tight when/if you actually want to rock climb in them.
The sole is a 'dot-pattern' of highly sticky climbing rubber. The dot-pattern means that you'll have some traction in dirt and leaves on the trail; but don't expect them to give you much traction in mud. Where the soles really shine is on rock - where they stick as if glued. There is also a sticky rubber rand up over the toe and around the front half of the boot for wedging in cracks.
They were extremely comfortable out of the box and required no break-in at all.
I have done mid-length approaches in these (not carrying too much weight -- climbing gear, lunch, clothes) and used them on technical rock climbs up to about 5.7 or easy 5.8. They are most especially excellent if your approaches involve hiking up low-angle rock or doing a lot of talus hopping. What I would NOT recommend these for is standard hiking with a heavy pack in wet weather. They are also great around town since they are so comfy.