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 www.spadout.com 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!