Approaching the Rim: Review of the Five Ten Guide Tennie Mid
I just want to start this review by saying that I know that the Guide Tennie from Five Ten was designed as an approach shoe. This being said, I decided to put it to the ultimate backpacking test in the Grand Canyon. My thought was, “If it can survive a week of scrambling over multiple types of rock, in some of the worst conditions, while I had a 40+ pound pack on my back, it would probably be able to live up to the punishment a climber could inflict on their hike to the crag.” We hiked from the rim to the river and then all over the place down in the bottom of the canyon. At the end of the three days we spent in the canyon, we hiked almost 70 miles in total and covered everything from loose silt to granite to sandstone. We covered just about every terrain that you would ever encounter while climbing (other than ice or snow). I was extremely impressed by how well the shoes performed and how comfortable they were.
Design and Aesthetics
In my opinion, the simplicity in the design of the Guide Tennie is one of their best features. With it’s water-resistant, nubuck leather upper and the tried and tested Five Ten rubber, there isn’t much that can go wrong. I thought that since the rubber used on the shoes is Five Ten’s stealth rubber, the same rubber that they use for their climbing shoes, it would be great for gripping on rock but also be soft and have a very short lifespan. I’m happy to report that I was right about the first prediction but wrong about the second. The Guide Tennies performed very well on all types of rock even when wet. I was able to easily scale and descend rock slopes without slipping while everyone around me was struggling for footing.
When I tested the Guide Tennie from Five Ten, I pushed it further than I think most would push it (at least in the time that I was testing it). I’m so happy with how well they have performed that I’m going to continue to use them all summer. I’m leading climbing trips all summer and I plan to report back with my thoughts after a longer term review. The nubuck leather upper has proven to withstand even the most persistent thorns. I thought about trying to punt a cactus but thought better of it. The C4 Stealth rubber that is used in the Guide Tennie is something from the rubber labs deep inside of the Five Ten headquarters. It is actually used in many of Five Ten’s climbing shoes, so I wasn’t surprised by how well it gripped on even the tiniest ledges and cracks. On the other hand, I was surprised by how durable the rubber has been. I haven’t noticed any major wear on the rubber which is pretty impressive from a climbing rubber which is known for being rather soft and wear away quickly. I’ll report back after the summer and see how it has held up.
When it gets right down to it, the Guide Tennie Mid has impressed me way more than I expected. That being said, 160 bucks is a lot to pay if you’re just going to wear them on your hike to the crag. On the other hand, if you’re going to hike in them or you’re looking to do some more scrambling or canyon style hiking, these shoes can’t be beat and all of a sudden, $160 seems like a pretty great price for a very versatile shoe.
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