Review: Five Ten Guide Tennie

The 5.10 Guide Tennie can most commonly be found adorning the feet of outdoor based instructors all over the UK (and probably the USA too). The combination of sturdy fabrics, grippy sole unit and comfort make it a popular choice. I bought my Tennies back at the start of summer and have given them a solid working over in environments ranging from the Peaks, to Snowdonia, to the pub.

First and foremost, the important thing with all footwear is the fit: If it doesn’t fit properly then a shoe or boot will give you all sorts of problems. The Tennies fit slightly wider tapering down to an average width heel, fairly similar to Zamberlan footwear. The lacing runs all the way to the toes and so offers climbing shoe style adjustment allowing the wearer to have a uniform close fit all over. An annoyance for me is that the laces are stupidly long and when laced up still touch the ground giving the potential to step on them and send the wearer stumbling.
The Tennie offers no inbuilt arch support and has the most basic insoles, I strongly recommend sticking either your own custom insoles or something like Superfeet. I found recently that after a few long hours of pavement walking my knees and hips started suffering from the lack of arch support which resulted in my feet pronating too far and affecting correct body alignment. I went out and did a similar walk the next day with my pair of green Superfeet insoles in and the difference was immediate, no leg or knee problems at all.

The reason these shoes are so popular with instructors is that the sole unit is made of Five Ten’s grippy and hardwearing Stealth C4 rubber which is used on plenty of their climbing and approach shoe styles. It’s not much of a testament to the climbing properties of the Tennie, but I have managed VDiff grade climbs wearing them – I would have continued up the grades but the shoes are just a bit too flexible to get a solid edge or toe placement on the rock. Although that could just be me being a wuss and there are probably climbers out there who have scaled E-graded climbs wearing Guide Tennies!

Other observations I have made with the Tennie is that they did feel a bit hot during the summer months, making me wish I’d been patient and bought a pair of the canvas variations. Even when wearing light merino sport socks my feet were quite warm and sweaty during casual wear. Another is that, although the shoes fit me very well, the fabric around the heel has worn and broken through to the padding underneath. It does make me question whether or not my Tennies will endure through to next summer and beyond before they need replacing – they’re coming with me to the French Alps for this winter season and will be my everyday shoes. Finally, although they aren’t waterproof they do hold up well against wet grass and passing light showers, the high rubber last helps ensure toes are kept dry.

If you are looking for a comfortable pair of approach shoes that are just as at home on the casual walk around the town as they are doing scrambles in the mountains then it’s definitely worth tracking down a pair to try on and play with. If you’re hot-footed then I might suggest the canvas variant to save discomfort during the warmer months, but otherwise it’s a popular shoe and justifiably so. Available in a  range of colours too.

Guide Tennie Khaki

Guide Tennie Khaki

RRP: £85
Weight: 410g (Size 8)

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