These Are My Secret Weapon Crack Shoes

Hey Steph,
I saw a photo on your Facebook page recently and it looked like you were wearing the Five Ten Projects on a desert crack climb (I think on Castleton). I thought that was interesting- a soft bouldering shoe for crack climbs. Do you wear those often in the desert?

Hi Samuel,
The main shoes I have worn for 16 years are the Five Ten Anasazi Velcros (now, the LV’s which are even better for me) and Moccasyms. There are 2 other models I like for certain things (Anasazi Lace-ups and Zlippers), but basically Velcros and Moccasyms are the only ones I wear for everything I do. New styles come and go, but I only want Velcros and Moccasyms.

So last year I happened to put on this crazy new shoe called the Projects, slightly downturned, incredibly soft and minimalistic with one velcro strap. I started wearing them on my climbing wall, and then took them to Rifle. I felt like I was cheating. For steep climbing, they are the best shoes I’ve ever used–unbelievably sensitive and precise. I feel like my feet are two curved knitting needles with tiny frictioned tips, and I’m just reaching out and grabbing little rock nubbins with them. It totally changes the climbing experience. I haven’t been this excited about a climbing shoe since I first put on the Velcros.

Recently I wanted to climb a route called Maverick on the Hindu Tower, which is steep and thin and cruxy. (Thanks to Chuck Fryberger for this photo above, which is a frame pulled from footage I shot with Nelson Carayannis for Chuck’s next movie.) I always wear Moccasyms in the desert, and occasionally Velcros for super thin cracks with some face holds. Since I’ve been wearing the Projects all the time, I decided to try them out. I couldn’t believe how great they were, and I took them down to Indian Creek to try them out on Ziji, which is a longer route with some full value splitter rattly finger climbing–and a footy, face-y crux on pitch 2.

So the verdict is that if it’s possible to love these shoes more than I did before, I do, a million percent. They are not only softer and thinner than my Moccasyms, but they give me perfect sensitivity and precision for face holds. In the past, that’s what I had to compromise by wearing crack-sized (slightly bigger) Moccasyms. To get the shoes thin and flat for the thin cracks, I had to wear a slightly bigger size, so they were a little sloppier on the tiny face holds–that’s why I switch to velcros for some thin cracks, but then they are not quite as good for pure thin crack feet, so you see the dilemma.

With Projects, I get all of everything–I can morph my foot into the thinnest cracks but at the same time, I can use the smallest faceholds and smears. So I can now say the Projects are the ultimate hard crack shoe for the desert, as well as being awesome on steep sport climbing. Not only that, they are comfortable from day one.

So after 16 years of basically wearing two kinds of shoes, the Projects are now in my top three can’t-live-without shoe lineup, which is a pretty strong statement. What I’m trying to say is I love them so much I can’t even believe it! This is a really special shoe, unlike anything else out there.

Five Ten is currently not offering Projects, but they are working on a synthetic (i.e., vegan) version. If you want Projects, call them up and let them know….. 909-798-4222.
But only if you want everything you climb to be twice as fun as it was before.
🙂 Steph

  • Hey Steph- just got word of your site through a @Chicksclimbing tweet. Love that you posted up all this info about the shoes you wear. Here in Utah we climb in the desert quite a bit and this info will be very helpful for our readers. We’ve reposted on Twitter and am wondering if you’d mind if we reposted (with a link) this article on our site?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the RT, of course you can post it!

  • Jake

    This is awesome! How much do you downsize to use this shoe for Indian Creek? Thanks in advance.

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  • Anonymous

    I wear the projects for everything in size 6.5, which is the same as my hiking shoe size (they seem to run pretty small).

  • Awesome, Steph! We’ve got you in for a feature tomorrow morning. We’ll announce it on twitter when it goes live! =)

  • Charles

    Hi Steph ! I’m currently shopping for a pair of climbing shoes. I’m looking for something that will be used 95 % on boulder problems. Are the anasazi vcs a good choice besides the La sportiva solutions ? I’m an intermediate climber working on v5 problems right now.

  • Anonymous

    Check out the Anasazi velcros, and the new Arrowheads (and/or try to find a pair of Projects).

  • Argh, I jinxed myself! My Projects need a resole. My usual shop doesn’t do rubber that thin, any recommendations?

  • Anonymous

    yes! call five ten and ask for a resole: 909-798-4222
    Also, has Projects still available from size 6-11:
    Five Ten used a special rubber on the projects, which is more durable than normal shoe rubber, which is how they get the sole so thin…

  • Charles

    I finally bought the anasazi velco shoes last week and I totally love them ! What a great difference they make on those tiny footholds ! Thanks for the tip Steph !

  • Anonymous

    my all time favorite shoes on the planet!


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