Although some have made the comment that my feet look like that bit in Alien when that little thing erupts outa that dudes stomach. Not the erupting part, but the bit just before it when it’s makin’ a big lump. Er. Anyways, to kick off the Gear Review portion of the pie that is this site, i thought I’d review a shoe I’ve been wearing for a while. It’s called the Project, and is made by Five.Ten. It seems a little superfluous to be reviewing a product that’s not even sold here in NZ, but what the hell i’ll do it anyways because basically i like them and i also like Five.Ten. So there.
What makes these shoes interesting is the fact that if you have any kind of width in your foot, they will fit horribly. Being a bizarrely narrow shoe, forcing a hoof into them will splay the upper out, thus making it nearly impossible to do the single velcro strap up. Arriving home at 3am after setting for a competition all day, i was super jones’n to find the box on my bed, and proceeded to spend the next half hour desperately trying to stretch them over my foot while holding in my screaming frustration from waking up the whole street. I could get them on, but there was no chance of doing the velcro up at all. Crap…maybe i had to concede i had got the wrong size. Luckily however, the project is the softest stretchiest shoe on the market, and hardly four months later i was thrashing my way to glory on Achilles Last Stand, with the velcro strap done up no less!
If they fit so badly, why are they so good? Because the rubber is a virtually non-existent 2 1/2 mm thick! Lack-luster design was saved by the fact I could curl my toes inside the shoe and grab on to things with them. Combine this with the actual friction of the rubber, and I had myself the best performing paddle I’d ever owned. One day i was hooking my foot-yams into the slick mono’s on Angel of Pain, and the next i was getting my shmeary-bagel muscle working on Nasal Slip, so it was good to know i could go from overhangs to slabs in these without worrying about the associated problems of each. And while they are indeed eye-wateringly tight, i wasn’t hallucinating bright indigo and vermilion unicorns while slabbing. Which is always a bonus.
The one downside, (give yourself a gold star for spotting it) with such thin and sticky rubber is of course the durability. On paper it looks as if the rubber would dissolve into a gooey, holey mess the first time they came in contact with a solid surface, but after two full-on months at Castle Hill and then a few sessions on the ultra-razors of Northern ignimbrite, they are just now starting to show some signs of rand degradation. A good two hundy well spent. Right now they have been relegated to the lesser-used shoe bin for the simple reason that these are the only shoes I feel comfortable in to try AoP, so until I’m ready to send, i will preserve their precious rubber and content myself with looking at their tatty nice-ness.
If you’re familiar with five.ten, then disregard the size inside your shoe when ordering these. For an example, i wear US9 in everything else, yet fit 7.5 in the Projects…Good luck sizing these bad-boys, because you’ll most probably get it wrong. Fortunately they stretch more than a customs officer’s glove.
Should you want a pair, either nag somebody who happens to be going overseas to buy them for you, or contact the Rogue Trader.
Star Rating: 4