Will AppleyardDiver, mountaineer, climber and paraglider pilot, Will communicates his passion for adventure through his photography and writing and is the author of several books.
For multi-pitch routes these shoes sit up there with the best. Would recommend fitting and buying in-store rather than online to quickly solve any sizing issues as they run very small. Very rubbery and a fabulous fit.
Snug fit, laced closure, stiff midsole
Stealth® C4 rubber outsole
Extended over toe rubber for extra grip
Laces, if you prefer laces over velcro
Lovely padded tongue
High friction grip
fabulous fit, especially around the heel
Runs small, very small! order two sizes bigger than usual
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
In a climbing shoe, I’m usually after two things. Normally I choose a shoe with a velcro fastening, rather than traditional laces. I tend to want to get them off quickly and without faff. Climbing shoes need to fit perfectly of course, the perfect level of uncomfortable in any event. Tight, but not eye-wateringly so. Durability is essential, especially in the all-important rubber sole.
My last two pairs of climbing shoes have been from La Sportiva. When I find a shoe that fits well and ticks all the quality boxes, then I often stick with that brand. And so why bother changing? .
Unboxing these guys, I immediately knew that they were not going to fit. I had chosen the size that I would normally go to for with La Sportiva (42) and yet clearly, being unable to actually get even half a foot inside, I needed to size up to a 44 or so.
To be fair, on the adidas website for this model they do recommend that you size up by ½ a shoe size. In my case however, when the 44.5’s arrived the fit was perfect. And so that’s 2.5 sizes larger than usual for me and worth noting for anyone buying these online. That said, I suggest that unless like me you’re a creature of habit and just buy the same brand of shoe each time, always try your climbing shoes on in-store.
They’ve got laces! That’s not normally my bag. But the NIAD 5.10s are designed for multi-pitch climbing, which is my bag and so I was keen to get them working and lean a little outside of my comfort zone, laces wise.
It’s immediately apparent just how much rubber there is on this shoe too and the lined microfibre upper felt good to the touch. The generous squidgy tongue seemed like it would be pretty comfy as well.
This was to be a two-phase test. Here in Catalunya, the indoor climbing gym culture is massive. Where I live in Torelló among the foothills of the Pyrenees, we have at least five climbing gyms within a 30-minute drive of the house. Some of them are large and super posh and some of them smaller and a little more personal.
There’s a lot of rock climbing here too of course and so they complement one another. Train indoors during the week, then hit the mountains at the weekend.
For the first part of this test, I took the shoes to La Farinera, a cosy climbing gym near Vic. I wanted to bend them in a bit before spending time on the rock. Climbing shoes always stretch a little when they’re new and indoors was the best place to do this. This is the first time that I had used climbing shoes with laces. It felt good to be able to pull the shoes in nice and tight all the way from toe to the top of the foot and they actually stayed tight as we worked our way through the routes that evening. The extended rubber which covers the top of the big toe is fantastic and something that my other pairs of shoes don’t have. It’s a perfect detail for moves on over hanging routes. I felt, my foot wasn’t going to slip out of a hold.
With the laces versus Velcro question still in my mind finding the base of the route, I knew that once on the wall the shoes would stay on until the rappel off it. I imagine when embarking on single pitch sport climbing routes with lace ups, I may find myself whimpering for that quick relief that the Velcro option gives me.
Off we went to Huesca for a weekend in the van. We chose a 6-pitch shady north facing 270 metre line, just outside of the Pyrenean town of Benasque and above the village of Cerler.Grade wise it was to be quite straight forward. Nothing harder than 5+ but some of the pitches were 50 metres long and involved a couple of slightly confusing, yet exciting traverses. At the top of the heels, these NIADs have two generous sturdy tabs to pull them on, which I think every climbing shoe should be made with.
Although the rock was is of excellent quality and certainly not polished, I found myself on several occasions having to move on just my toes. The shoes held me on the wall superbly and I felt like I could trust their rubber all day. In fact, the rubber at the heel extends all the way to the top where the tabs are.
New climbing shoes tend to feel a bit pointy at first in any event and their newness helped me once moving in those more delicate situations. The STEALTH rubber sole held me when I needed to smear and the rubber upper toe element that I like so much from the off kept me wedged in those cracks along the traverses. The laces held the shoes tight to my foot for the entire four hours or so that we spent on the wall. I kind of expected them to work a little loose, but experienced no such issues on that front.
Who are these shoes for?
Designed specifically for long multi-pitch days or those who generally prefer the specific micro adjustments in fit that laces offer over velcro.
Compared to many of my previous climbing shoes, these things come with a lot of rubber, so if you like to feel a lot of rubber on your foot, then these could be the climbing shoes for you.
What Stands Out
The extended rubber over toe is fantastic.
The tongue feels more padded than other shoes I’ve worn which provides a whole lot of extra comfort.
Although I had to size up by 2.5X, they eventually provided a fabulous fit around and particularly at the heel.
Value For Money
They’re priced where I would expect a good quality climbing shoe to be. Fabulously well-made and you get a lot of rubber for your money.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
An all-round climbing shoe that works well both indoors and out on the rock. Just be sure to try them on before you commit to buying and be prepared to go up a couple of sizes.
The rubber over toe is worth a star or two alone. As comfortable as a climbing shoe can be and will clearly last some years.
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