Five Ten NIAD Moccasym review: Finally an update on climbing shoes that I don’t hate

If it is not broke, do not fix it. And while the Anasazi Moccasym wasn’t perfect, Five Ten had done much better to make the update – the NIAD Moccasym – better.

The original Five ten Anasazi Moccasym has become one of the most popular slippers since its release in 1992, adored by climbers of all disciplines. Climbers had to gain the fit, but the natural leather upper stretched to become a second skin.

The very first asymmetrical shape moved the tip of the shoe towards the big toe for more power. The sensitivity has soothed the most critical block and the slim profile fits well in cracks. And it was the first shoe to use the now legendary Stealth C4 rubber. They never shot well, but it was a slipper, and rock jocks got it.

When Five Ten announced a redesign of the base slipper in the form of the NIAD (Nose in a day) Moccasym, I was skeptical. They became available in April and when I first put them on the warning lights flashed – they were noticeably stiffer than the originals. But over time I realized that the extra stiffness addressed a main weakness of the original Mocc to produce a better tool.

The Five ten NIAD Moccasym may give up some of the original feel and smoothness, but the shoe provided better edging and the tradeoffs were minimal. Other nuanced improvements have been added to the package, making the NIAD Moccasym a better weapon overall.

Five Ten NIAD Moccasym review: added edging power, but still a slipper

Out of the box, the new Moccasym was much stiffer, but over a 4 month testing period on rocks, gym walls and boards, several times a week the shoes softened considerably. Not quite to the smoothness and sensitivity of the originals, but close. Much of this is due to the 4.2mm C4 outsole (compared to 3.5mm for other NIAD Anasazi shoes) and the full-length 1.0mm Bontex midsole.

The good news is that the leather upper has conformed to my foot and continues to do so, providing that painted fit so nice. The leather is a new HT (high tear resistance) version, directly addressing the issue of the eruption of well worn original Moccs, which I assumed to be the opportunity cost of the leather that formed up to ‘at the foot.

New Five Ten NIAD Moccasym

Other updates on the NIAD Moccasym

The heel of the heel slingshot is now made up of two pieces instead of one, and they are larger and out of place. And they produced a little more tension than before, which I appreciated.

It’s not a “red dot,” toe strain, but it made the shoe more usable on more minor features. Another benefit of the two piece rand is a better fitting heel, as the overlap of the rand is no longer in the center of the heel.

There are now rubber patches on the toe and instep, and they have added grip for modern hooks and scum. I also felt they offered a bit more protection against the sharp features when hooking the toes at super high pressure.

NIAD Moccasym Fit

five ten niad moccasym - fit
(photo / Seiji Ishii)

Five Ten’s Slipper Update suits me as well as the Original moccasym; I have a narrow heel and a wide forefoot, with a slim vertical profile. I felt the leather touch every part of my foot with no gaps other than the heel.

A small break in the rubber cover between the slingshot rand and the rubber heel cup formed a little “ledge” where I could feel the difference in tension and contact. But I never thought it affected performance.

The amount of tension provided by the slingshot seemed ideal to me for high performance training. It wasn’t as much pressure as a high stakes redpoint shoe, but it was more than a training shoe. It was enough to avoid rolling over a small edge, but I was able to keep the shoe on for long periods of time.

New mocc performances

For training and local steep bouldering, the Five ten NIAD Moccasym conquered me. Sensitivity was excellent for the smooth, polished characteristics of our local limestone block, and the Stealth C4 rubber provided exceptional grip.

I could handle myself with confidence on the small specs due to the slight stiffness gain and sling tension, but these edging masters were by no means masters. But it was a welcome improvement over the original Moccasym.

They stabbed medium-small pockets (up to two fingers) well. And although the shoe was flat, there was enough conformity to pull my hips if there was a positive lip on the pocket.

five ten niad moccasym - performance
(photo / Seiji Ishii)

The NIAD Moccasym could heel hook as well as any other slipper i have used. This was enough when the heel hooks statically held my hips closer to the wall up to about 40 degrees overhang, on single pad holds. But for the heel hooks that required a lot of power, the Mocc failed, like any other slipper in the same situation.

My favorite performance attribute of the Mocc was the ability to train to a high level on the boards or in the gym while still being comfortable. I could keep the shoes on for an hour of training without a problem.

An update that doesn’t suck

When it comes to athletic shoes I know what I like, and when I hear an update coming my usual response is to buy all the stock I can. And I felt the same for the Moccasym.

Yes, the original had flaws, but in a wide range of uses, the shoes were an all-time favorite slippers.

But Five Ten did OG Moccasym justice with this update. The NIAD Moccasym retains fit, comfort and Stealth C4 rubber with modifications that make it a better all-around slipper. I might be old and crisp, but I admit it when a brand brags about “new and improved,” and it turns out that’s exactly it.

Well done, Five Ten!

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