Evolv shoes are the best shoes on the market. This is an opinion. I have been climbing for 20 years now and used just about every kind of shoes along the way. From beginner to expert, Evolv provides the best climbing shoe experience period.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I get free Evolv gear/shoes. However, as a physician, the cost of these items is insignificant and I would only climb in/use the best gear possible. I have been a Pontas man for several years now; they are the only shoes I would wear. Now however, there are several other options that I employ in my climbing that I shall review in detail. I am very loyal to my sponsors, but I actually had to switch to Evolv from MadRock since I felt I could not ethically endorse MadRock's products since they did not work well for me and my climbing style.
Here are some of the amazing, amazing shoes that Evolv offers:
From left to right these are: 1. "Ollie" flip-flop 2. Shaman 3. Bandit SC 4. Pontas. Here is another view:
What makes Evolv shoes the best on the market?
1. Wearability. These shoes perform right out of the box and only get better. They exhibit the shortest break-in period of any shoe I have ever worn. They fit like a glove and are by far the best balance between sensitivity and strength of any shoe I have ever tried.
2. Durability. These shoes last. Unlike 5.10's (Which I also love) which break down easily and last a month or less, Evolv products last until the rubber is climbed off, and then through the re-sole, too. Because of their lifespan, the cost of the shoe represents a better value in a money to longevity perspective. These shoes also smell less than other shoes I have used, for what it's worth.
3. Comfort. This seems to be a foot shape issue and therefore a personal attribute, however, I have noted that people don't take their Evolvs off at the crag. This can actually reduce the life of the shoe, but it is great for the gym and is evidence of the glove-like feel of Evolv shoes.
4. Customer Service. Have you tried to talk to some shoe companies about returns, sizing, advice, etc? I have heard overwhelmingly that Evolv rocks in this dept. and can attest to it from personal experience. I switched shoe sponsors several years ago partially for this reason, and partially because Madrock climbs horribly on granite.
5. Philosophy. Evolv is not about climbing hard and being the best. Sure they have Chris and other bad-ass role-models on the team, but Evolv is about fun and adventure and fulfilment in the climbing lifestyle. This philosophy makes them focus on quality above anything else. Like Apple's iPad, iPhone, etc. Evolv has made products that have brand appeal.
Specifics of the Evolv shoes I wear:
The new Shaman is Sick, as is the Bandit SC. These shoes solve the sole (no pun intended) problem that I used to have as a Pontas guy: The heelhooking was lackluster. Now, with the Shaman's I feel like I finally have THE PERFECT SHOE. No real gimmicks, just the most solid shoe I have ever worn. I use Shaman's for steep and hard projects/routes, Bandits for techy and thin with heeling, Pontas for all around/warm-up/climbing up to V8, flops for easy approach/post-approach/easy warm-up between burn lounging.
The Ollie flop is great, I will admit that through the years, I have always loved the La Sportiva flop. In fact, I still think it is a better flop than Evolv's, however, I believe it has been discontinued. The Evolv flops are a little too soft for performance, although I have still done up to v6 in them comfortably. I also am a size 14, so I wear the 13's and this could contribute to my thoughts. The Ollie is growing on me.
Here is a video of Evolv shoes doing what they do best on Tahoe's epic 4 star "Ground Control" V11:
BOTTOM LINE: Evolvs are the best shoes in the world for rock climbing. They excel on granite, the rubber is the best by far: hard enough to grab a penny-edge jib, supple enough to push into a techy smedge or sandstone smear. If you are trying to improve at rockclimbing, even as a beginner, Evolv shoes will take your climbing to the next level.
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Seek perfection of character, respect others & Try Hard. Noah as usual