Comfortable, durable, supportive – the Five Ten Guide Tennies were THE approach shoe favoured by outdoor instructor types, simply because they offered technical precision whilst remaining lightweight and breathable.
The latest version from Adidas are bold and brash, but don't sacrifice too much on practicality. They're still aimed at the same market, but also wouldn’t look out of place in a more streetwear, fashion context. Wider fitting in the toe-box than other approach shoes, they feel comfortable, with a construction that combines the light weight and comfort of your favourite sneakers with the midsole support and sole of a much more technical mid hiking boot. They're built really for dusty tracks and trails – for the UK's temperate, often boggy climate, there are plenty of waterproof options in T3's best men's walking shoe and best women's walking shoe guides.
Since Adidas took over from Five Ten, some have been critical of the shift to more ‘fashion’ inspired shoes, but I was impressed by the construction quality here. So, do they stand up to an approach to the crag without fear of ruining? Here's my full Adidas Five Ten Guide Tennies approach shoe review.
Update: The Adidas Five Ten Guide Tennies can be tricky to get hold of. For a look at an another approach shoe that we rate extremely highly, head to T3's Scarpa Mescalito review.
Five Ten Guide Tennies review: design and features
Five Ten Guide Tennies specs
Last: EVA Midsole
Sole: Climbing zone on outsole; Stealth S1 rubber outsole
Suitable for a range of outdoor adventuring activities, from whether it’s for mountain biking on a forest trail or walking into sample some of Gritstone’s finest on an evening, Adidas' Five Ten Guide Tennies are easy to slip on and off, with an elasticated cuff at the top of the foot, alongside a padded tongue. The laces are flat and chunky, meaning they hold well and are easily adjusted, with to the eyelets that hold the shoe well. A rubber rand, typical of the Tennies, help with the shoes’ overall resistance to scuffs and rough terrain.
Adidas Five Ten Guide Tennies have seen a fair few evolutions in their product history and whist it can be easy to dismiss them in favour of more ‘technical’ approach shoes, the Tennies pack in a lot of features. In a nod to sustainability, 20 per cent of the uppers have been made with recycled fabric, too. These still have a place as a single pitch, easy-going comfortable approach shoe that will continue to have a firm following.
Adidas Five Ten Guide Tennies review: performance and comfort
The Five Ten Guide Tennies exceeded my expectations in rough, open craggy terrain, with effective lacing and a standout design. After initial apprehension about getting them dirty (who wouldn’t want to get the pale suede muddy?!) the Guide approach shoes managed to withstand a fair amount of impact, thanks to the EVA midsole and cushioned heel.
They were able to cope with long descents, providing all day comfort with their noticeably cushioned heel. Extended toe rands also give also plenty of room to stretch your toes out. In fact, they size bigger than most other approach shoes I've tried (you could even consider going half a size down compared to the size you usually got for in approach shoes). Despite this, they don't feel 'baggy', with a comfortable, heel-hugging back and a flat, neutral footbed at the front. For tired feet that tend to ‘expand’ during hot weather, these would be perfect for all day comfort.
If you don't have a neutral profile, you might find the lack of arch support problematic. There is enough depth in them to fit an insole if you need it, without ending up with your foot squashed against the upper (although there are also alternative approach shoes with better arch support built-in).
The high friction Stealth S1 rubber outsole is reminiscent of a gecko, with circular pads that seemed to grip onto the rock as well as a dedicated rock shoe would, in both wet and dry conditions. This sticky sole also provides security when walking across rough terrain terrain, whether it be a quartzite boulder or a rock-strewn path.
The leather upper and textile lining deliver good breathability and decent waterproofing. Although these aren't necessarily the most obvious go-to approach shoe for a bad weather day, I found the Five Ten Guide Tennies performed well surprisingly well in rainy conditions and were able to cope with a surprising amount of abuse. The sock-like tongue kept showers out well, although it wouldn't hold up to a proper downpour or a dunking in a stream.
Five Ten Guide Tennies review: verdict
Put simply, the Five Ten Guide Tennies are an attractive pair of approach shoes that provide a great deal of support, and those with wider feet will welcome the more generous sizing. Despite concerns that they might not be an approach shoe that’s mountain-ready, I found these durable, reliable go-tos for any aspiring outdoor adventurer wanting reliable cushioning and support.