Call me materialistic, but being greeted at the door by a Zappos box stirs up a Christmas morning-esque excitement in me. Next comes the traditional tearing open of the box and hoping to find that fits-like-a-glove Cinderella slipper inside. My most recent “perfect slipper” experience was with the Evolv Cruzer, a really well designed minimalist approach shoe. Here’s why I’m smitten:
Fit: This simple shoe has an easy going, no fuss fit. The cotton canvas is nice and flexible so you can lace up tight for a snug fit or leave it loose for a more relaxed feel. My favorite feature is the split tongue, making it super easy to open up the shoe when taking it on and off, while also eliminating the problem of the tongue shifting from side to side during your approach. Another great feature for easy on-and-off is the back pull tab, which you can also use to clip the shoes to your pack or harness. The insole is made of a relatively thick Microfiber lined memory foam, but there’s little arch support, so if you have a high arch or require a lot of support this shoe might be a bit too minimal for you.
Form: I love that you can wear this shoe out to the bar after a hard day of climbing and not look like you spent all day playing in the mountains. No offense to the “dirtbag climber” look, but sometimes I like to go out looking cute, okay? The Cruzers have a sleek, low profile look and come in a ton of cute colors, including purple, turquoise, red, and slate, and they’re available for both men and women. The designers at Evolv also chose just the right lace color for each shoe.
Function: As climbers we’re well aware that different shoes serve different functions. Just like I won’t be wearing a pair of aggressive down-turned climbing shoes on a technical slab route, I won’t be hiking 10 miles in the snow in my Cruzers either. These shoes were built for relatively short approaches in warm weather, and for that purpose they fit the bill. If you’re a multi-pitch climber, they’re also light enough to carry up with you and great for those slightly sketchy descents. The outsole is made of TRAX® high friction rubber, which feels really secure as you scramble up boulders to reach the crag. Be careful in the rain with these babies because they’re not waterproof, so your feet might end up damp on a rainy day.
Finances: At full price the Cruzers will cost you $75, which seems totally reasonable for a well made minimalist approach shoe. If you search around the internet a bit you’ll also be able to find them for a little less than full price.
Crush Status: Summer love. Unfortunately right now is not quite the season for my Cruzers, but I will be wearing the crap out of them this spring and summer. They’re really perfect on hot days when you want a light, easy going, but sticky approach shoe.