Five Ten 'Camp Four GTX' Super Grippy Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Get Five Ten Camp Four GTX @AMAZON at Amazon. There are hiking shoe and hiking boot versions.
Update 20 Nov 2016: comments added on the Five Ten Camp Four GTX Mid hiking boot in early November in the Sierra Nevada.
This review covers the Five Ten Camp Four GTX hiking shoe. There is also a hiking boot version with extending up above the ankle area.
Get Five Ten Camp Four GTX @AMAZON for about $190.
The Camp Four GTX contains a GORE-TEX® membrane for waterproof and breathable dependability in even the wettest conditions. The new Camp Four GTX comes equipped with increased lug heights for better penetration into soft ground, and reduced seams on the Cordura upper for improved durability and weather resistance. The Ortholite foam sock liner provides moisture control by absorbing sweat while the compression molded midsole and molded PU heel cage ensure a supportive and comfortable fit. Lace-to-toe closures can be worn relaxed for a long-distance fit, or tightened for climbing and scrambling providing you with ultimate control over your fit and performance.
Designed to tackle any terrain, from hiking long miles to aid climbing and mountaineering, Stealth® S1™ rubber is our premium hiking compound due to its high durability and excellent friction. The waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® liner protects you from the elements and keeps your feet comfortable in any conditions.
- Stealth® S1™ rubber outsole
- GORE-TEX® Liner – waterproof and breathable
- Increased lug height
- Reduced seams – Improves durability and weather resistance
- Durable water repellency (DWR)-treated Cordura upper
- Ortholite foam sock liner
- Synthetic, weather resistant toe box
- Lace-to-toe fast lace closure system
- Compression molded EVA midsole
- Molded poly-urethane (PU) heel cage
- Reduced foam layering – Reduces dry time and improves breathability
- Strobel construction – Increased under foot cushioning
My hiking context
I hike a lot of difficult terrain: granite slabs, boulder fields, loose dirt and rocks, class 3/4 climbing, wet and sometimes icy or snowy slopes, and so on. I almost always hike alone, so I take shoes and other gear very seriously—one slip from a shoe or boot and I could be spending my day photographing vultures at close range (see also the SPOT beacon). So I don’t mess around with my shoes; I get what minimizes risk of slippage for the conditions I expect.
Later in the year, wet rocks as well as ice or snow become more and more of a factor, along with colder (and thus riskier) temperatures coupled with far fewer people around, all of which dials up the risk factor, should my solo hiking take a bad turn. An inappropriate shoe is worse than useless; it can be downright dangerous. I learned that after nearly hurting myself twice in one day with a $200 pair of LOWA hiking shoes using standard Vibram, which is slippery as snot in creek beds. Those shoes sit in a box and I will probably never use them, though they would be just fine on standard hiking trails and in the mall.
Shown below is one example of my context: working my way around a lake at waterline on wet rocks and gravel and sometimes mud in blowing rain and sleet for six hours. I do not want to slip on a wet rock, and my feet must remain dry! I loved the fact that the GoreTex liner kept my feet dry even as water sometimes lapped over my forefoot. I could also step into water an inch or two deep to sneak around brush at lakeside and yet still keep my feet dry. Other lakes during this trip (higher elevation) and on other days had icy or snowy perimeters.
Replacing a well-loved predecessor
After years of hard use, my pair of Five Ten 'Camp Four' approach shoes @AMAZON wore out completely—half the sole tore of one shoe tore off during a hike.
Five Ten stood behind their years-out-of-warranty shoes, offering me a 48% discount on a new pair, even though the pair I had worn out had taken years of beating. I used that discount to purchase the 2016 model 'Camp Four GTX' (the GTX model has a GoreTex liner for waterproofness).
Five Ten 'Camp Four GTX' vs Arc Teryx ACRUX FL GTX
While the Arc Teryx ACRUX FL GTX is a terrific shoe, it is lighter weight and with some key differences. Both are superb but apply to somewhat different situations; I use and like both.
For rougher, messier terrain with sharp rocks, mud and loose stuff, the Camp Four is the better shoe because it is beefier with more reinforcement and deeper more aggressive lugs.
I cannot fairly say that the Five Ten Camp Four GTX has superior grip to the ARCTERYX ACRUX FL GTX but it is my impression that the grip may be better in terms of the rubber and is definitely better when the surface needs those deeper lugs to bite into things. So late in the year, the Five Ten Camp Four GTX is absolutely my shoe of preference. In summer, the ARCTERYX ACRUX FL GTX is an excellent choice, but it’s more of a rock shoe. Basically if the terrain gets rough and sloppy the Five Ten Camp Four GTX is the better choice.
|Arc Teryx ACRUX FL GTX||Five Ten Camp Four GTX|
|Grip||Grippy Vibram rubber variant||Outstanding super-grippy 'Stealth S1 rubber|
|Lugs||smaller, shallower more tightly spaced;
superb for rocks, less good for mud and snow where more bit is needed
|Deep aggressive lugs with ample spacing, super mud and snow clearance|
|Sole:||moderate protection from sharp rocks, etc||Beefy sole for sharp rocks|
|Waterproof:||YES, but cut slightly lower||YES|
|Protection:||very good||Beefy with excellent protection all around the foot, reinforced heel, aggressive lugs even on outer areas.|
|On/Off||Built-in comfy liner means outstanding snug fit and very low chance of any blisters, but more effort for on/off||Easy to slip foot in; can be worn loose; no liner so might need some break in time and/or the right socks for best fit.|
|Fit||Always snug.||Can be laced snugly, or worn fairly loose, nice for camp or in the car or just less demanding conditions.|
The widely spaced aggressive lugs extend right to the edge of the sole.
Grip: in the field and rocks and dirt and snow and mud
The Stealth S1 rubber has outstanding grip and durability. Late in October, I hiked one day with some solid hiking boots on some snowy terrain (snow in places was a bit deep so I went with boots)—and it was a scary frustrating experience where the snow had iced up. The next day, I wore the 'Camp Four' shoes—what a revelation: wet or dry, snow or ice, the Stealth C4 rubber just did not let go. Yes, anything will slip on glare ice short of spikes, but the Camp Four lugs bit into anything short of straight ice, and the rubber maintains vastly more grip than the rubber on my hiking boots.
On snow or in loose rocks stuff or muddy slop, the deep lugs hooked up and never slipped. Once I stepped onto a patch of moss on a steep rock; the foot started sliding but within half an inch those lugs bit through it and grabbed rock and hung on—very impressive. I did not go for a swim in the creek below me, quite a relief.
Side view shows just how deep the lugs are.
The "Mid' version
I liked the Five Ten Camp Four GTX so much that a month late I bought a pair of the Camp Four GTX Mid, which is more of a boot, but with the same rubber and tread. The higher area around the anke means that it is possible to walk through water up to about 3 inches deep and still keep dry feet—just be careful to not go a little too deep.
Below, I am standing in ice water. I did so for several minutes after having already traversed some shallow water for quite some distance, cracking through the ice at times. Back at my car, I removed the boots to verify no ingress of water: the inside liner was bone dry and my socks were dry also. However, they are not insulated, so standing in ice water does make feet cold!
The Five Ten Camp Four GTX is a winner. While the Arc Teryx Hiking Shoe also goes along as an alternative shoe, I now see it as more appropriate for summer conditions. The Five Ten Camp Four GTX grabs onto just about anything with its sticky rubber and deep lugs, so it is perfect for more varied and demanding conditions, particularly October/November in the high Sierra, where one encounters wet and dry rocks, gravel, mud, snow and ice and plenty of shallow water over all those things.