Purple and white scar tissue protrudes grotesquely from my anklebones–evidence of the sizeable gobies accumulated over many years of climbing wide cracks. When I started climbing in Five Ten Grandstones, it had been well over a decade since I had last worn a high-top climbing shoe. The generous coating of sticky rubber and a roomy toe box make these kicks perfect for chimneys and offwidths, but they flail on smaller cracks that require a sleeker profile.
With the appearance of an old Edouard Bourdonneau (EB) shoe resurrected from The Eighties, the Grandstone is a classic, lace-up trad shoe with cotton-lined leather uppers, a supportive mid-sole and lots of C4 rubber. It has a refined, articulate fit and is the stiffest shoe in the Five Ten lineup.
During the summer and fall months, I tested the Grandstones in the Tetons, Sierras and on the Colorado Plateau. Its trad-specific design led it to excel on the wide, shallow or flaring cracks of Garnet Canyon. While climbing Open Book on Disappointment Peak’s Grunt Arete, I appreciated the Grandstone’s bulbous toe box that made it comfortable to stand around on extra-small belay ledges. The cut-out heel helped with flexibility and balanced out the shoe’s extra-stiff mid-sole. This feature also kept my heel seated in the heel cup without socks. Edging on small features was blissfully straightforward because of the precision-cut toe and flat-standing sole. In general, these shoes were a comfortable and protective choice for perusing long, moderate climbs.
In comparison with my La Sportiva TC Pros, the Grandstone lacks a glove-like fit. While more volume is the key to the shoe’s comfort, it also detracts from the performance in some technical situations. There was just too much material in the top of the toe box to smear my toes into angry, inch-wide fissures. If were to redesign these, I would downsize the toe box to accommodate smaller cracks.
The root of the Grandstone’s design makes these shoes perfect for the climber who demands comfort on long routes or on desert towers. It really is a great shoe to spend the whole day in. But if you are in search of a tight and precise fit, this shoe may not be the best choice–for me the Granstone came in a solid second place to my TC Pros as a true hard-route performer.
Pros: precision-cut toe is great for edging; comfy, large-volume fit is comfortable; cut-out heel keeps my heel from slipping and improves shoe flexibility; high top protects ankles.
Cons: bulbous toe box is too big for thin cracks.