Five Ten are an outdoor footwear company that was founded in 1985 by Charles Cole. In the 1980's, Charles Cole was an outdoor climbing fanatic, that has referred to his philosophy as: one with the dirt. Charles Cole was regularly found climbing in the Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, located in the United States of America. Charles Cole named his company Five Ten in reference to the rating gradient of climbing routes in the Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite National Park is located in Cole's home state of California: within the central eastern portion of the U.S. state of California.
After slipping during a descent in 1985, Charles Cole decided to put his engineering degree to work by designing climbing shoes that had better rubber grips than what were currently available. Cole has stated that climbing shoes in the early 1980's were not fit for purpose: the soles were generally made from old 'slick' airplane tires. Cole developed a new high friction rubber that was named Stealth S1. The Stealth S1 high friction rubber was revolutionary for it's time: providing previously unknown high levels of grip. Present day, there are nine Stealth rubber compounds. Five Ten have developed footwear for a variety of outdoor pursuits: climbing, hiking, mountaineering, and biking. However, the primary pursuit their footwear is designed for is climbing, and Five Ten's shoes are categorised for: aggressive climbing; moderate climbing; and relaxed climbing.
While Adidas has been the world's most popular brand of sneakers for decades - it's currently the second most popular brand after Nike - there are many niche sports that it's sneakers have failed to cater for. One of those sports is climbing. While Adidas has produced a range of hiking / trekking boots, and has developed technologies like Adituff, it has had difficulty competing with niche brands, like Five Ten, who are experts in their sector. In November, 2011, the Adidas Group announced that it planned to purchase the entire Five Ten business for $25 million. The Adidas Group stated that they believe the outdoor action pursuit sector will grow to over $750 million (globally) annually. The Adidas Group also stated that the purchase of Five Ten will help them position themselves as a "leading player" in the outdoor sector.