Skip to Content

Rock Climbing : Articles : Gear and Reviews : Evolv Shoes Gear Review

Evolv Shoes Gear Review

Submitted by rrradam on 2004-10-07 | Last Modified on 2006-12-10

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 2 | Comments: 0 | Views: 21330


First, a little history…

My introduction to EVOLV shoes came in a round about way. I needed a pair of Ascents resoled, and my usual resoler was in the Valley, so a friend of mine who works at my local gym suggested that I try YosemiteBum resoles. I called Brian, the owner, and he said he could resole them in about a week, so I sent the shoes off to him. Two weeks later, I called to get the status of my shoes, and he was very apologetic, stating that in the last two weeks he had been moving his business to a bigger shop, and insisted I allow him to furnish me with a brand new pair of shoes to use until he could finish my shoes in a few days. I declined, but he insisted, so I used the shoes for only a week until my shoes arrived 4 days later. The quality of the resole was first rate, and the customer service in the form of the “loaners” gained my loyalty to YosemiteBum. Unlike any other resoler, they replace the front part of the rand instead of just a patch, so the shoes always come back looking brand new. And to this date, none of the resoles to my shoes have delammed.

Shortly after I got my Newtons resoled, Brian told me about his new line of shoes, the Royal Arches made under the YosemiteBum name. He asked me if I’d like to try out the shoes, and sent me a pair (review of those shoes below). After the success of that first shoe, YosemiteBum joined forces with an experienced climbing shoe design team and formed a new climbing shoe company, EVOLV. They still offer resole services as Yosemitebum and resole their own shoes and all other brands of shoes. Like YosemiteBum, EVOLV shows the same attention to detail, craftsmanship, and customer service in the shoes.

Soon I was furnished with all the shoes they made, and asked to get other members of the site involved, and was able to get shoes for them as well, to have their input in this review.

All prototype shoes are extensively tested by climbers of all styles and levels of difficulty, and the feedback is incorporated into the final product. They even sell odd sized shoes for those who have different sized feet, something no other company does to my knowledge. They also sell custom versions of their shoes, to include a stiffer midsole, extended rand, etc… Visit their site for the list of modifications that can be made to each shoe at the customer’s request. Since they truly value customer satisfaction, you will find them willing to work with you in any way to get you the best shoe for you. So are they a good shoe ??? Ask Chris Lindner, as he is now sponsored by EVOLV, as well as many other pro climbers !!!

YosemiteBum Royal Arches

Now the EVOLV Quest

The reviews…

“Since admission is the first step to recovery, then I have to admit that I am a shoe whore. Emelda Marcos and my wife have nothing on me. When it comes to climbing shoes, I have at least 30 different styles. I'm mostly a 5.10 bitch, but I do have several styles from Boreal and Sportiva just to round out the colors spectrum. And I can proudly state that EVOLV's KAOS shoes have now become a mainstay of the collection, proudly stuffed into my backpack wherever the trip may take me.

First and foremost, my testing was done under extreme conditions at best. I finally started bouldering after nearly four months off due to a blown tendon on the arch of my right foot, and upon coming back into the game, not only reinjured myself, but added a little insult by bruising the other heal thanks to screwing up the beta 20 feet up on a highball. That being said, the last thing I wanted to try, was another pair of shoes. But being the whore I am, when I saw the bumblebee colors and the velcro ease, I couldn't help but salivate at the thought of giving these slippers a burn.

Upon slipping these on, it was apparent that the designer was a climber. The shoes were made to have minimal stretch, which is great in that the shoes won't stretch with the sweat of the day and roll on your foot when you need that smear, but it also means that if your foot does not fit the style of this slipper, it can become painful. However, I was lucky enough to have a foot that snugly fit into these babies. Two loops in the back provided ease to slip the shoes on, and the heel cup slid over perfectly.

The synthetic upper has two foldovers that provide plenty of comfort to cinch down the velcro to make the shoes as tight as you want, without the ache velcro can sometimes give. The sole of the foot has a unique "s" design that for the weight conscious makes this shoe nice and light, and with continued improvement, should be able to provide more of an arch for the rope-enthusiast.

I tested the shoes on several cracks at Josh. I abused my soles from full ankle-busting twists, to delicate smears off finger locks, and for this C-4 enthusiast, I was sold. The shoes held my weight on the delicate smears of J-Tree, as well as the sandstone grit of Stoney Point.”

Michael Reardon on JBMF (V5)
Mike “mreardon” Reardon
Mike is a long time climber, previously sponsored, and is the Producer and Director of the popular “Climb On!” series of climbing videos. He has climbed .13 Sport, .12 Trad, and regularly pushes double digits in the V-scale when bouldering.

Unique "S" shaped sole and heel remove all dead space in shoe

“The EVOLV KAOS feature more or less standard velcro straps, a split tongue opening, 2 dual pull on loops, lined synthetic leather material and a somewhat exotic looking sole. I don't know if the color will change but my pair is a bright yellow. Construction appears sturdy and resilient, the rand is holding up well and the unique "S" shape of the sole does not appear to detract from the performance one bit.

This is a shoe that excels at face climbing or thin (finger-hand) crack climbing. The toebox has a nice narrow profile for jamming into thin seams or stuffing into hand cracks. The rand could be a bit higher to protect the toe knuckles but would probably stiffen the front of the shoe up a bit. The heel cup fits like a dream, not to baggy and enough "grab" that my heel always feels firmly in place, this is a heel hookers dream shoe. The split tongue overlaps just a bit preventing the skin on the top of my foot from being exposed or pinched. The shoe edges well and has enough sensitivity that I can "grab" holds with it. I've put these thru the paces climbing in Joshua Tree and the gym. I can say this is a shoe I would spend my hard earned pennies on.”

'Skeezer Pleaser' (5.11b), Malibu, Ca.
Art “artm” Morimitsu
Art has been lead climbing for 2 years and falling off routes every weekend somewhere in SoCal. He prefers Trad, J-tree and Crossroads, but also enjoys Sport, Bouldering and Edchadas.

EVOLV Bandit

“Like Mike, I am a Five-Ten kinda guy… In fact, all of my shoes have been Five-Ten until provided with the shoes in this review. Nothing can seem to compare to Stealth C4, until now, and the EVOLV shoes do seem to be a little more robust than Five-Tens, and stand up to abuse quite a bit better. As a matter of fact, I haven't put on my Five-Tens since I got these shoes... I'm sold.”

Royal Arches / Quest
“As I said, my introduction to EVOLV came through the resoles of YosemiteBum, then the Royal Arches made under the same name. Those shoes fit like a glove, and reminded me of my first climbing shoe, the original maroon Five-Ten Hueco. It is a great all around shoe, that edges just a bit better than the Huecos, and smeared just as well. I still use these shoes for long multi-pitch Trad climbs. My only gripe was that they only had one pull on strap at the heel, making it a bit of a chore to get my “Barney Rubble’s” into the shoe, but once on they were as comfortable as house slippers, great for those long Grade III’s. These shoes can also be had for a mere $68 from the YB site on 2002 clearance, and are also marketed as the EVOLV Quest.”

“These are my first true high performance shoe. The unique “S-Sole” serves to suck the shoe up to my arch, making for an extremely tight fit, with no space left within the shoe. I chose the shoes with the custom stiffer midsole added to it, and found that they were an edging machine. I could stand on the smallest of edges with the least amount of effort, so much so that I almost felt as if I were cheating. The shoes are not meant for wearing all day, especially since I have the above mentioned “Barney Rubble’s” for feet. The Velcro and two pull on straps made for easy on, easy off at the crag, allowing my feet to stretch out a bit before I donned them again. The rubber is just as sticky as Stealth C4, and held up well to the cheese grater rock that is J-Tree. These shoes are destined to be my “ace in the hole” for hard routes, as they inspire confidence on the smallest of holds. They can also double as rescue beacons, as I’m sure even the Space Shuttle can see the bright neon yellow from orbit.”

"These are the newest of their product line, and among the cheapest at only $89 retail. I wear these the most, as they fit very comfortably, and perform perfectly with a great balance between smearing and edging. An outstanding shoe at any price, let alone only $89."

“These have got to be my favorite of all the shoes, especially for Grade III's… They remind me of my Newtons, but they fit a lot better. They edge and smear well, and have the ability to dial in the sensitivity as do all lace ups. I use these for harder multi-pitch climbs, where a comfortable performance shoe is needed. They are made of white synthetic, so they do not absorb the heat of the SoCal sun hundreds of feet up as do the darker colors of many climbing shoes. The rubber is the same as that of the KAOS and Royal Arches.”

'Urban Struggle' (5.12b) Malibu Creek, Ca.
Adam “rrrADAM” Bingel
“I’m just your average climber, who enjoys a job inspecting nuclear power plants around the country that allows for an above average climbing life. In less than 4 years, I have climbed in well over 10 states, in some of the best crags the US has to offer, and been paid to do it. While I prefer long Grade III Trad climbs, I also enjoy Sport and Bouldering. I have also done an gear review for Splitter Gears Cams.”

The New RAGE


Twitter  Facebook  StumbleUpon  Delicious  Digg  Reddit  Technorati

Add a Comment