When FiveTen and Dean Potter went to work making a shoe to crank twenty pitches a day in, they came up with the Anasazi Hi-Top. A stiffer, more plush climbing shoe meant to soothe your aching feet as you stuff them deep into whatever crack system you are scaling in Yosemite. Fortunately, climbing shoes designed for granite are awesome in sandstone as well.
The Anasazi Hi-Top fits the bill for an all-around desert shoe. It’s stiff, sticky, comfortable, and sized correctly, based on a last Chris McNamara calls his “cheating shoe.” But most importantly, it covers your ankles. Anyone at Indian Creek, Zion, or Red Rocks will tell you ankles bones are only to make you suffer more as you stuff your feet as deeply as possible into whatever crack you are ascending. That only sightly protuberant part of your ankle is constantly grinding into the lip of the crack. It’s not fun, you get a bloody spot that eventually scabs over only be cracked and ground bloody again and again. Hi-tops are an obvious solution to this problem.Most people will tell you you need to rush out and buy a pair of TC Pros from La Sportiva, almost universally held up as the “greatest trad shoe ever.” Now competitors – FiveTen’s Anasazi Hi-Top and Evolv’s Astroman – are trying to take the throne from the TC Pro.
I decided to try the FiveTens for a variety of reasons, but it really came down to ease of use and stickiness of rubber. I know Tommy Caldwell can take a pair of bowling shoes and send my project without breaking a sweat. However, I struggle very much with only being a mediocre climber who really enjoys trad in the 5.10-5.11 range and only infrequently gets to send 5.12 on gear, let alone 5.14. Quite frankly, I need and attempt to gather every advantage I can amass for when I get on the sharp end. The Stealth C4 rubber is so sticky. I have had shoes with just about everything, but my hardest climbs have always had C4 on the sole of my shoe. I am hardly a brand loyalist, and if I had to be honest sometimes the last on FiveTen shoes leave a lot to be desired for my foot. The rubber, however, is not the problem.
The other reason the Ansazi Hi-top seemed like the shoe for me is the velcro closure. It’s fast and easy, and with three straps, it gets tight in there. Also, cracks chew through laces like a pit bull through rawhide. Although you can you can always just replace them, the straps on my Hi-Tops are burly urathane backed leather and are not going anywhere. The upper material is similarly durable, thick suede leather with a plush lining to add some padding to the toes. However, the blunt toe box, coupled with the thick C4 sole and stiff midsole, make it difficult in thin cracks to really stuff your toes in and gain good purchase. It’s really only in Ringlocks, around the red Alien or purple Camalot size, that things get tricky and another thin crack style shoe may be preferable. If you don’t mind having two pairs of crack shoes, then this is not a problem and the Hi-Top will propel you upward flawlessly on thin hands to off-width, leaving your ankles fully armored against all those cracks that want to grind you down.