2019 Climbing Shoe Review: Five Ten Dragon VCS

The Five Ten Dragon, MSRP: $160

The Five Ten Dragon, MSRP: $160


Two testers familiar with the old Dragons noted that, while the new Dragons—which come in both lace and Velcro (VCS) versions—have a narrow last, the forefoot was wider. The deep heel cup and versatile double straps ensured a snug fit. For wide feet, testers recommended street-shoe size; for narrow feet, size down.


Downturned, asymmetrical shoe. Microfiber uppers; sweat-wicking/odor-resistant brushed-microfiber lining; opposing Velcro-strap closure for VCS; split 3.5 mm Stealth HF outsole.


Stiff, precision toebox and the shoe’s light weight, big scumming patch, and deep, close-fitting heel made it a beast on overhanging, bouldery terrain. Padded tongue and lined footbed were comfy. Shoe is overbuilt and will hold resoles well.


Some biting into the ankle bone with the buckle of the top strap and ankle cuff—piping/padding could help. Shoe fits a specific foot shape, with minimal give during break-in.

Field Notes

“When I was cutting my feet on a roof or using the heel to squeeze a boulder, the Dragons did very well,” said one tester. “It’s hard not to catch your foot on something when there’s rubber almost fully surrounding the shoe.” Two testers also noted the Dragons as light on the feet, making them a good choice for thuggy, bouldery climbing in which your feet rip and you need to control the swing—less weight at the end of the pendulum. The new Dragons had a slightly higher-volume last than their predecessors, but make no mistake: They are a narrow shoe, without much give in the last thanks to their copious rubber coverage, and work best when sized aggressively. Their strong suit was off-vertical to overhanging technical edging and divot-toeing, with the sole—as with their sister shoe, the Aleon—protruding past the toebox/rand to produce an incredibly stable edging platform. On the flip side, smearing is less sensitive, though the ever-sticky Stealth sole and siping on the toe-scum patch, which let the upper forefoot flex, locked the foot on reliably once you learn to trust the feel.

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See the rest of our 2019 Climbing Shoe Review.