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Five Ten founder Charles Cole dies at 63

Published July 19, 2018

REDLANDS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Charles David Cole III, the founder of Five Ten, died on Saturday, July 14, at the age of 63.


Cole started climbing while earning his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from USC in the mid-1970s. He launched Five Ten in 1985. In 1986, the company introduced its grippy Stealth rubber compound. The company entered the bike world with its Impact bike shoe in the late 1990s and has sponsored DH riders including Nathan Rennie, Greg Minnaar and Chris Kovarik. More recently, trials star Danny MacAskill has become a Five Ten-sponsored athlete. 

"Cole was known for approaching life with an extraordinary focus. He toted a sketch pad wherever he went, furiously jotting down new ideas for ads. He frequently broke out in song, his rich baritone raising above the ubiquitous barking dogs in Five Ten's chaotic headquarters," wrote Nancy Bouchard in an article on Rock & Ice magazine's website.

Cole sold Five Ten to Adidas in 2011 and retired a few years later. He is survived by his wife, Paola, their children Margherita, Alessandra, and Wyatt, and his mother, Mary Cole (nee Studer). Cole's nephew, Dave Kasse, is the climbing category manager for Five Ten.

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