With giant holds bolted to 45-degree walls, today’s gyms are a far cry from yesteryear, back when indoor rock climbing mimicked outdoor terrain. Gone are the gray rock-shaped holds, replaced with bright neon blobs, triangles, boxes, and various geometric shapes and sizes. Climbing shoemaker Five Ten’s solution to these indoor-specific holds is to design a shoe specifically made for ascending artificial terrain. They also want to drive maximum power out of it—especially on holds with smooth sides. That’s why its new Hiangle Pro lacks an inside edge; this way, it hugs giant shapes like a palm over a basketball rather than skimming and scraping off them.
Made with a seamless 3D forefoot wrap of sticky rubber that tapers from 3.5 to 2.1 millimeters underfoot, the soft inside of this shoe smears over holds. At the same time, the thin-rubber underfoot feels every nook and cranny. This increases balance and power on tiny edges and slopers.
“The lack of inside edge, coupled with a reinforced outer edge, is totally unique,” per Five Ten. “As indoor and competition climbing has become more dynamic and acrobatic, the way climbers use their feet has changed.”
Winner of three innovation awards for its unique shape, the Hiangle Pro is wrapped in sticky rubber called Stealth C4, from the heel to toe, with additional rubber over the forefoot and reinforced outer edge. This way, the shoe securely hooks, backsteps, and adheres to large volumes and other gym-specific terrain. They also have an aggressive talon-shape toe area to deliver precision and power from the ring-toe to big toe. The design helps them fit snugly and securely. There’s a single Velcro closure strap to secure feet inside the unlined synthetic suede uppers.
The Hiangle Pro excels in gyms on the steepest terrain, where extreme movement and fluidity are mastered. Here, individuals and groups work out the beta (sequence) and help their friends on the send (making it to the top).
Reaching new heights at the Olympics
The 2020 Summer Olympics helped bring this language to those outside the climber’s world. It brought viewers to parkour-style routes, which means running and leaping over a series of holds to catch a distant grip, as well as compression style, in which athletes cling their arms and legs around the terrain like a starfish pulling in with all points at once. One of the most exciting moves seen in today’s gyms is the paddle dyno: You leap through the air with outstretched arms bouncing (paddling) from one hold to the next to secure an out of reach jug (big hold). This advanced movement is exactly the style of climbing the Hiangle Pro was designed for. (To learn about climbing terms, check out Matt Samet’s book The Climbing Dictionary: Mountaineering Slang, Terms, Neologisms & Lingo.)
Launched in Europe and Japan in time for the Summer 2020 Olympics, today the Hiangle Pro is available for U.S. customers looking to get the most out of their gym climbing, from recreational climbers to the best in the world competing for the top of the podium.
I found the shoes comfortable out of the box. Despite their radical design—which squeezes, wraps, and secures the foot in place while shaping it to a point at the forefoot—my forefoot and toes didn’t feel pinched, and the heel area felt secure and snug. There’s only one drawback: Because they fit like compression socks, removing them was energy-consuming, making me want to leave them on and keep climbing.[$160, available at adidas.com]
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