The Five Ten Guide Tennie is a shoe that has been around the world and tackled some of the most intense terrain that an outdoor athlete/adventurer can handle. The Guide Tennie is not just a shoe, but a rock-scrambling, wall-hopping, trail-pounding approach shoe.

The Guide Tennie sets itself apart from all other approach shoes in that it has been around since 1985 and is the benchmark upon which all other approach shoes are judged. Over the years, the design of the shoe has not changed much. As new materials, rubber traction, durability, and stronger stitching have improved, so has the shoe. This shoe can handle just about anything thrown its way. The shoe is even known to have made its way up the 3,000-foot walls of Yosemite’s El Capitan.

Yosemite Valley El Capitan

The Guide Tennie comes in either a Nubuck leather upper or canvas upper for those folks in warmer climates. I have used my Guide Tennies year round in Oregon, and during summers in Idaho, Montana, and Colorado. I own the leather upper version, and the shoe does start to get a little swampy on the inside when the temperature rises above 80° F. For next summer, I will definitely be getting myself a pair of the newer canvas uppers.

The shoe weighs in at 15.9 ounces for a size nine. It definitely feels heavier than your average trail-running shoe, but much lighter than the average hiking boot. I have never noticed the weight of the shoe, even after a 10-mile hike on mountain single track. The only time you may notice the weight is if you decide to ford a body of water. These things like to soak up water. Due to the leather upper and the plush/warm inside liner, they have a hard time drying out if they do get soaked through.

The sole and toe rand of the Guide Tennie is made from Five Ten’s proprietary climbing rubber compound called C4. This is the same rubber that is used on many of their top-end rock-climbing shoes, and has mastered some of the highest-rated rock climbs in the world. This rubber is sticky! If you desire to climb over obstacles that you never thought possible, you may just be wearing the wrong pair of shoes.

In the three-plus years that I have owned these shoes, I have hiked hundreds of miles of single track, climbed over walls, scrambled house-size boulders, climbed easy fifth-class rock climbs, pounded pavement, and even grabbed a beer (or a few) at my local pub while wearing them.

Guide Tennie Sole Wear

PROS:

  1. Super-sticky rubber that will let you conquer just about any vertical obstacle.
  2. Durable. Considering the softer nature of the C4 rubber, my Guide Tennies show minimal wear.
  3. Warm. With a thick pair of socks and some movement, I have been down in the single digits without losing a digit.
  4. Lacing. The lacing system goes almost all the way to the end of the toe box and allows the tension throughout the entire shoe to be adjusted to user preference.
  5. Works quite well as a hiking shoe if not traveling in muddy or very wet conditions. (I have used these with a 30-pound load on my back and would not be afraid to carry 50-60 pounds, as they have a very stable, flat platform with great edges.)
  6. Very good traction on all natural surfaces, including wet rocks.
  7. They look good enough to wear around town and not have people wonder where you just came from.
  8. Value for the money. At $130, they do more than many top-of-the-line hiking and approach shoes that are twice the price. The canvas version is $120.

Guide Tennie Top View

CONS:

  1. Can get sweaty in warmer temperatures. (Canvas version is available, and reduces or eliminates this issue.)
  2. After three years, they have developed a fairly unpleasant aroma (I don’t recommend going sock-less in any footwear if you don’t want this to happen).
  3. If soaked through, the shoe is takes a considerable amount of time to dry out.
  4. Does not come in a waterproof version.

Overall, if you are looking for an approach-style shoe that is very supportive for a low-top, great at climbing, and good at hiking, this may be the shoe missing from your closet.

Guide Tennies

If you have any questions pertaining to this product, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.