Shoe Review – Five Ten Guide Tennie


Those of us who’ve tried hiking into a crag wearing flip flops or Chuck Taylors understand the importance of a good approach shoe. We learned the hard (ahem…stupid) way, but we’re finally seeing that scrambling up rocks is a whole lot easier and safer when you’ve got a sticky sole and some support. Here, in my long-term review of the Five Ten Guide Tennies, I’m giving the oft-forgotten approach shoe a little attention.

Fit: Here’s the version I’ve been using and abusing for the past two years. The current version is almost identical, save jazzy new colors and a little extra toe rubber. The interior shape and construction are fairly simple so the fit on my foot isn’t very “personal”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a comfortable shoe, but I’d love for it to hug my foot and have more of a contoured design. The sole is a little flat, so depending on your foot you may need to add in a little arch support. I also find the shoe a little wide, so if you have a particularly narrow foot this shoe might not work for you. On the flip side, it’d be great for a wider foot. They run true to size or just a touch large.

Form: The women’s specific shoe comes in Electric Avenue in leather (pictured above) and brown canvas. If these colors don’t do it for you, the unisex version comes in a variety of colors, in both canvas and leather. I like the pop of color in the contrast stitching that’s present on most versions. The overall design and crisscross stitching are great, but I think they could push the colors a bit and give us something more fun.

Function: This is where the Guide Tennie really shines. The Stealth rubber sole is SUPER sticky. I always feel secure hopping from rock to rock, even when I’m scrambling downhill. The rubber sole wraps around to cover your toe, providing great toe-stubbing protection. After two whole years of rugged wear and tear, the rubber on the toe is only starting to detach now. Overall, these shoes are perfect for short-ish approaches on all types of terrain and excel at what they’re made for, approaching the crag.

Finances: Retail price is $110, but I got mine on sale for somewhere around $80. You can definitely find them for less than retail price online. Check my favorite gear aggregator to compare prices.

Crush Status: Going steady, but probably won’t end in marriage. The sticky rubber sole is amazing, but the fit isn’t perfect. I love Five Ten products, so for my next pair I’ll try other Five Ten approach shoes to see if any are a better fit for me.

Do you have a pair of Guide Tennies or other approach shoes you love?
Let us know what you think!

Climb on!

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6 thoughts on “Shoe Review – Five Ten Guide Tennie

  1. I love, love, love my Guide Tennies! I got them on sale for like $50, lol. But they’ve been the best approach shoes I’ve ever had. I do have a bit wider feet so they fit like a charm and the size runs true to size for me. I do agree with you about the colors though. I have the brown canvas and I would like something a bit happier but for how well they perform I won’t complain too much 🙂 I’ve used them climbing offwidths, scrambling to approaches and even climbing easier routes as well. Fantastic shoes. *I have no affiliation with 510. I’m just a huge fan, lol.

  2. hootie says:

    i really used to dig my sportiva exum pros. they were rugged, stiff soled, and had sticky rubber. i think they might be better for longer approaches due to the stiffness, but they certainly leave a bit to be desired in terms of aesthetics.

    • Cate says:

      Hootie, I totally agree with you – I LOVE the La Sportiva Exum Pros. The rubber is awesome and they last for forever. I’ve used them to trail run and hike in the snow. (I also like the way the look). – Cate

  3. I love these approach shoes! Well, I have the unisex version in a greenish color. I used them last winter in Bishop- totally awesome and super comfortable. Thumbs up!

  4. Kim says:

    After years of trying to find an approach shoe that fits well and performs, I finally found one – La Sportiva Boulder X Women’s! Super supportive on long approaches, durable and I’ve been amazed at how well they climb too! I sized them to fit like a glove and I feel like they’ve worn in to fit my feet perfectly. I’ve started wearing them when I’m route setting in the gym and am constantly impressed with the moves I can pull off while wearing them. The rubber is super sticky and they edge really well too. I’m definitely getting another pair of these soon… the treads are almost gone. You can even wear them with gaiters since there’s space on the sole for the bottom strap! Love!

  5. red2over says:

    Love my 5.10 guide tenni’s. They are falling apart, but I can’t let them go! But when I do, it will be another pair. I agree with you on the colors for sure. Not just shoes either. I don’t understand why the guys always have more colorful choices and we get PINK or PURPLE. That said, I have noticed that Patagonia is coming out with more color choices for women! Yay!

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