This is the first shoe I’ve ever owned that made me truly understand the technical edge that the right shoe can give you. Maybe it’s partly that I’m getting better, so I’m understanding more nuance, but I’m also going to go with this being a kick-ass, really well-designed shoe. In fact, this shoe was designed by Chris Sharma with input from some of the biggest names in climbing, Daila Ojeda, Steph Davis, Emily Harrington, Lisa Rands, and Ashima Shiraishi, so you know they thought of everything. This shoe was made specifically for the low volume (meaning narrower) foot to take down those steep to overhung climbs. So, what kind of edge can this shoe give, you ask? How does this stack up against the original Evolv Shaman that we reviewed back in June? Read on to find out!
Fit: Narrow, customizable with the triple velcro straps. True to size.
I had a harder time with figuring out sizing out the men’s shoe, but totally nailed it with this LV version because it was accurate to my street size. The fit is definitely narrower than the original, as it is intended to be. I personally could use a little more width in the toe box (which is what I loved about the original Shamans), but my feet are basically shaped like little rectangles, so if you have an average to slim foot, this would be a great for you. I can get away with it because the opposing velcro does allow for some customization in the snugness.
Form: Aggressive shape. Long, pointed toe. Cute colors. Again, love the triple velcro.
First off, this is a good-looking shoe. You can see from looking at it that while the toe is not quite as downturned, and the arch not quite as high as the original. I think the magic here is in the length of the toe, and the precision of the point (I’ll say more about that in a minute). The heel cup really fits quite nice. Additionally this shoe is designed with similar features to the original, including the “love bump” in the midsole, that helps fill in dead space under the toes, and the “knuckle box” that provides room for the big toe, to keep the foot locked into a powerful position. And the colors kind of reminds me of dinosaurs (I know, that doesn’t really make sense, but they just do).
Function: Great for overhangs and toe hooking. Not a beginner’s shoe.
This shoe really excels with steep to overhung climbs. It allows me to really dig in and grab on with the toe, and feel much more secure when I’m hanging at a steep angle. That has given me much more confidence, and made me way more likely to go for it and push myself within that style. The sensitivity of this LV version as compared to the original version of the shoe is definitely greater. At the same time I would prefer a different shoe that has more sensitivity for more balancey, slabby climbs. In terms of smearing and edging abilities, I wouldn’t call those stand-out features, but it feels absolutely adequate to me, and it more than makes up for that in what it does on overhangs, so I have no complaints. This shoe is all about giving you that advantage on a pumpier climb. It’s ideal for bouldering, and the quality fit also make it a good choice for steep endurance climbs as well.
Finances: Retails for $150, totally worth it.
If you have low volume feet and you are looking for a great bouldering, or steep climbing shoe, I would say this one is worth your pennies.
Crush Status: Love.
It makes me feel confident and secure, what more could a gal want?
Lastly, if you want to know more about the comparison between the different Evolv models, or even just want to learn more about climbing shoe terminology, check out this chart that shows all the different Evolv models and explains how they compare to one another. I thought it was cool, so I thought I’d share!
Have you tried either version of this shoe? We want to hear what you think!
Photo Credits: Top photo and shoe chart from Evolv