[Updated July 2021] The Five Ten Galileo is no longer available.
Five Ten Galileo Climbing Shoe Review, by Greg Chapman.Despite quietly residing in the shadows of other stalwart and widely acclaimed models, such as the Anasazi Velcro, Verde and Blanco, the Five Ten Galileo has steadily earned a reputation as a solid performer, since its creation some 5 years ago. In truth, it is likely the non flashy, simplistic nature of the Galileo has much to do with its lack of high profile plaudits; however, having now used the Galileo, I have come to recognise that it is this rational evolution, rather than revolution, to the design approach, which stands this shoe apart from many of its peers. According to Five Ten, the Galileo was developed by their European R&D team, but to what specific end is left unexplained. One might hazard a guess that the shoe was developed as a way of selling the Anasazi story into the stiff, less aggressive shoe lovers of the Germanic countries, as well helping to tap into the trad climbing ethos of the UK? Whatever the reason, the finished product is definitely well worth considering if you are replacing shoes in the ‘top end all rounder’ category.
FitI got the Galileo as a Velcro alternative to the Anasazi Lace Up Blanco, as whilst it is more akin to the Anasazi Velcro, in terms of fit, the Galileo offers much greater levels of support. Having now had the shoes for sometime, I would suggest the rigidity level is by far the highest I have come across in a Velcro shoe, making them a superb edging boot for those who don’t like laces. As alluded to above, the forefoot is almost identical to the Anasazi Velcro, however the heel offers a marginally different design. The most notable change is the de-tensioning of the slingshot heel rand, which is far less aggressive, making them easier to pull on and a good option for those with sensitive Achilles tendons. The obvious marginal downside to this reconfiguring, is the heel has a little less grab when hooking hard, although this is only really noticeable on harder terrain, when large amounts of weight are on the heel in question.
Materials & FeaturesAs with the Anasazi range, the Galileo upper is constructive from ‘Cowdura’, a synthetic suede like material which holds its shape and gives little in the way of stretch. This is then lined to further prevent malformation; an unfortunate consequence of this is the shoes are not particularly breathable and are prone to smelling after prolonged use in warmer (sweaty) climes – although no more so than the Anasazi shoes. The sole unit is armed with the now well established Stealth Onyxx (or ‘Onyx’, depending on which Five Ten literature you read), and thus gives some of the best levels of friction and durability available. It is worth noting that the sole at the forefoot is a couple of millimeters thicker than on the Anasazi Velcro, combine this with a stiff composite midsole and you can see why this model is comparable in rigidity to the Verde, laterally at least (laces tend to provide an extra dimension of rigidity down the length of a shoe). In terms of features, as with all the best products, the Galileo is simple and functional: two Velcro straps provide easy on-and-off and quick adjustment, whilst the double rear loops also help with putting the shoes on and give you somewhere to clip to your harness. One slight negative with the rear loops is they are made from the same narrow, skin severing webbing as used on the ‘Team 5.10’, however unlike with the Team you are less likely to have to pull as hard to get them on, hopefully negating any issues on this front.
Overall, while the Galileo may not have the sun kissed looks and longstanding reputation of its brown skinned counterpart; this honky’s solid, ice cold design and performance fit offers potential suitors a highly proficient, sensitive edging Velcro, for a diverse selection of uses. One word of caution: if you like your shoes to offer out-of-the-box comfort and performance, the Galileo might be worth a rethink – the stiff sole and sturdy upper do take a little breaking in. However, those who persevere will gain a hard wearing, long lasting performance piece of footwear.