Behold, the most ubiquitous women’s climbing shoe! You see at least twenty ladies padding around in them like a pair of beloved house slippers every time you go to the local gym. They are cute, with their pleasing bright purple hue, and user-friendly velcro. But these shoes are more than just a pretty face, I would go as far as to say they are a very important shoe for the new climber. Here’s why:
Fit: The aspect of fit is the first of a number of reasons why these are a great beginner shoe. As far as a climbing shoe goes, these are pretty comfy, and break in quickly. They are true to size, and made with a narrower toe box than other climbing shoes, but they also don’t cramp your toes (probably because of magic, because you know that’s how they do things at Evolv). They are snug enough that you get the idea of what a climbing shoe should feel like, but not bad enough to scare you off.
Form: This shoe is quite flat, and non-aggressive. The toe has a slight point, and the rand on the top of the shoe doesn’t have much ridge to it, it’s fairly flat. I would say a good shoe for smearing, less so for hooking (I mean toe hooks and heel hooks, pervs, get your minds out of the gutter!). But, it doesn’t really need all the bells and whistles. It really meets the needs of a beginner, because you probably don’t even know what a heel hook is yet (it’s cool, I basically learned, like, yesterday). The velcro allows for a customizable fit. Also the fabric on top, and around the velcro is nice and cushiony, which I enjoy. Oh, and I mentioned the cute purple color already. Purple is my favorite color. Just sayin’.
Function: These shoes are SUPER durable. I only appreciate that now, being on my third pair of climbing shoes, and seeing how quickly they wore out. I beat the crap out of those Elektras, dragging my feet all up a 5.8 like a mess (both an indoor and outdoor mess, thankyouverymuch). I can’t believe how well they survived and are still in such good shape! Also, I know my whole thesis here is that these are a beginner’s shoe, but I also saw a girl crushing 5.11b at the gym in a pair of these, so really, these are a great pair to have, especially for gym climbing and bouldering, for people of many skill levels.
Finances: Ok, so this is the best part of this shoe. I got mine for $40! They are the 2011 version, which you can still find here and there. The newer version will cost you somewhere between $71-89. Still, as far as climbing shoes go, and what kind of product you are getting, it’s a steal. The nice thing about the price is that if you’ve tried climbing at a gym, and you really like it, and you can’t deal with how the inside of the rental shoes are slimy and smell disturbingly like aged parmesan (that was the nicest way I could think to say it), then smacking down $40-80 for a pair of shoes doesn’t feel too steep. And if you are like me, and traumatized by rental shoes, you buy a pair of these after climbing twice, because it’s worth it to never have to go through that terror again.
Crush Status: Pretty crushed out. I don’t climb in these anymore, but I did save them, because they hold sentimental value, AND I’m sure I’ll be able to pass them on to a beginner some day, because they still have some wear left. I said in the beginning that these are an “important” shoe. The reason I say important is because I think that having an affordable, comfortable, well-made, and cute shoe makes it that much easier for women to spend more time on the rocks, and falling hard for the sport.