The Five Ten NIAD Lace are an attractive, performance-focused pair of climbing shoes that offer a powerful set of features to enhance your next adventure, including the Stealth C4 rubber edges, the form-fit heel, stiff midsole and a lined toe box to enhance comfort.
Good for edging
Good for technical moves
Takes time to break in
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Five Ten NIAD Lace: first impressions
Face or crack climbing? Granite, Limestone or sandstone? If you’re wearing Five Ten NIAD Lace women’s climbing shoes, the choice is yours. The NIADs replace the previous Five Ten Pinks and they’ve been launched with their familiar dusty pink and duck egg blue logo design, but with a twist.
At first, the NIAD Lace might look like a bit of a “fashion” climbing shoe. The exterior packaging, with its minimalist embossed logo design and much smaller box sizing, suggests the product is aiming at a different, broader-based market to the climbers Five Ten traditionally targeted. A blue diamond-shaped icon, plus black squiggles on the dusty red lining fabric are, in fact, cleverly thought-out details relating to a topo of the infamous rock feature, The Nose, in Yosemite National Park.
Five Ten, which was bought up by Adidas a few years back, has reduced the weight and size, yet still managed to retain a variety of technical features. The versatile Stealth C4 rubber edges grip and smear across all surfaces, both indoors and out. The form-fit heel and stiff midsole provide a positive feel whether you’re standing up on sloping plastic holds at an indoor wall, or committing to starting moves on limestone.
A lined toe box enhances comfort too, which is definitely appreciated when climbing in cooler temperatures, but perhaps might feel a bit tighter in hotter temperatures.
• RRP: $150 (US) / £120 (UK)
• Weight (per shoe): 200g / 7oz
• Last: Stiff midsole
• Lining: Textile
• Outsole: Stealth C4 rubber outsole
• Upper: Partially lined microfiber
• Colors: Core Black / Crew Red / Acid Mint
• Compatibility: Outdoor and indoor climbing
Five Ten NIAD Lace: on the crag
We tested the Five Ten NIAD Laces on the steep, overhanging walls at Peña Roja (Llíber) on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
These were one of the smaller-sized shoes in the product test. Not quite as small as a Tenaya or La Sportiva shoe, but I was recommended to wear a size down from my normal trainer size in order to have a “performance” fit.
The NIADs are relatively easy to slip on and off, thanks to the soft, padded, breathable mesh tongue lined with microbial-treated material. The laces are flat and chunky, meaning they hold well and are easily adjusted, thanks to the perfectly cut holes that help cinch in the shoe. A rubber rand, which provides cover from your big toe to your fourth toe, is an additional design feature helping climbers get a bit more traction for tricky cracks.
With a heel-hugging shape and a flat, neutral footbed, the shoes provide sufficient support for a neutral arch, but it’s important to note that this doesn’t give much room for the feet to spread out. For tired feet that have a tendency to “expand” during hot weather, this might be an issue for all-day comfort – unless you sized up another half size to allow for extra “breathing” space.
The NIAD Lace women’s shoes were great at being both breathable and waterproof thanks to the microbial textile lining. They felt super comfortable – simply due to their design, which allowed the toes and front foot to have plenty of room to wiggle in.
An incision on the rubber provides greater flexibility and helps with the shoes’ overall resistance to scuffs on rough rock. Despite daily wear on a two-week climbing trip, the rubber still managed to look as good as new, bar a few chalk marks.
After my initial apprehension about getting them broken in, the NIADs managed to withstand a fair amount of impact, and the EVA midsole and cushioned heel helped with comfort.
They were able to cope with long climbs thanks to the stiffness in the sole, although climbers with a slightly larger heel may find the sizing too narrow for all-day comfort when it comes to taking the shoes on and off.
The NIADs were able to cope with descents in crags where topping out was required on loose rock thanks to their generous shape, and I had the confidence to trust them on a variety of rock surfaces thanks to the Stealth C4 rubber outsole, which works really well on hot rock.
As a reliable, all-around performance shoe, once they had been broken in and lost their “new shoe” stiffness, the Five Ten NIAD Laces proved well suited for a whole range of rock types. They exceeded expectations in rough, open craggy terrain, thanks to their all-day comfort from the strong lacing and standout design.
A former brand ambassador for Merrell and current Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Jessie Leong’s lifelong outdoor odyssey began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award walks in the Peak District. This segued into long hill hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, multi-day treks in the Lake District, scrambles in North Wales and adventures scaling alpine pinnacles. When not walking, she can be found rock climbing, wild swimming, cycling, photographing, filmmaking, writing and modelling. Jessie’s most recent claim to fame is playing a Miss World contestant in the 2020 feature film Misbehaviour.
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