Materials: Synthetic, nylon mess
Use: Beginner to Intermediate all around shoe
Break-in Period: none
Great beginner shoe.
First off the fit. I went with my street size although many go a half size down and be pretty comfortable with it. This is a full synthetic shoe with a nylon mesh liner it will not stretch like a traditional leather shoe, you may get a half size stretch max but odds are it will be the material breaking in and getting softer as which makes it feel like its stretch as oppose to actually stretching.
This shoe is a pretty decent beginner to intermediate shoe that does everything well but nothing great. It offers enough support through out the sole to allow for decent enough edging for most beginners to intermediates as well as decent smearing.
I wouldn't suggest heal hooking in these shoes as the one area on the shoe that bags is the heel and I have many a scar from it slipping mid problem. That being said this shoe was never designed to be a super aggressive bouldering shoe so one can't really complain.
The older Tx-5 rubber is not as sticky as the newer Eco Tx-5 in my opinion but it is durable as hell probably more so then Vibrams or C4 which is good for people with sloppy footwork.
Finally the smell. Yes it does smell, yes it smells worse then unlined leather shoes, yes if you leave them in your car you will know the next time you get into said vehicle. This is just the nature of the beast with a synthetic lined shoe and is not really new. The 5.10 Anasazis have the same problem as well as the Galileos and all other lined synthetic shoes.
Now there are some preventative measure that can be take such as airing out thoroughly after each use don't just throw them in your gym bag wet. Secondly silica gel packs that help to absorb moisture can help as well just chuck a few in each shoe after you wear them. Keeping them dry is the name of the game.
Use: Bouldering, Sport climbing, Gym training
Break-in Period: 7-10 days
Price Paid: N/A pro price
These are my comfy shoes and smearing shoe. Medium last and a small heel. If you have a small heel you will like the fit.
They are extremely comfortable even when fit tight, which you should do. They do stretch a lot for a synthetic shoe. After stretching an out of the box insane tight fit (you should not even be able to put them on) will become painful tight, however, a painful (yet tolerable for 2-3 problems) tight fit out of the box will become sport/bouldering tight for 5-10 routes at a time, and a comfy yet snug out of the box will will need wool socks to tighten them back up.
Originally I had intended to go with a 8.5 which was a snug but good fit without stretch, but the rep told me to go smaller and he was absolutely right. I went as small as I could get my feet into and after about 1 week of use they felt great.
In an earlier review someone said that the fit is off. That is absolutely not true, they just size them U.S.A. style. Five ten also sizes on the same idea. La Sportiva sizing is based on the actual size of the shoe as are many European shoes, so you should size down from your street shoe size. In Sportiva I wear a 41.5 (about 8.5 U.S.) in approach, running, or casual shoe but a 39 or 39.5 (6.5-7 U.S.).
Evolv sizing is based on the size of your foot. In Evolve I wear an 8.5 approach/hiking shoe and an 8.5 (long route or downturned shoe) and an 8 in a performance flat lasted shoe.
So basically If you wear a 39 Sportiva (or other Italian shoe) and you order that size in a an Evolv shoe you have just ordered a shoe that should fit performance tight on someone who wears a comfortable size 6.5 U.S. street shoe.
Just order your street shoe size or one half size less for a tight fit. If they still don't fit evolve or the online retailer where you bought them will exchange the shoe easily.
Price Paid: $72
Don't buy them online or by catalog! Try them on first.
I didn't have a chance to test their climbing qualities. So, this is not what I am writing about.
The problem is: they are made with wrong size.
I ordered a pair of Evolv Defy climbing shoes over the Internet.
I ordered the size that I always wear. When I received them, they appeared to be at least 1.5 sizes smaller. I simply couldn't pull them on.
So, I had to return them. Manufacturer claimed that the shoes are OK, so, I was down $15 -- shipping to me and back.
I have no basis to judge their performance. Because of wrong size, I wasn't given a chance to do it.
Price Paid: $84.99
I really liked these shoes. They perform very well in the gym and on rock. I really like how quick they go on, and the fact that they are pretty comfortable, and still work as well as some shoes that kill your feet. They are very comfortable, and perform quite well.
My only complaint is they wear out a bit quicker than some of the 5.10's I've had, as well as they start to smell...
Materials: Trax rubber
Use: Bouldering/sport climbs
Break-in Period: 1 week
Price Paid: $70
All around awesome shoe. The problems that I have run into with it is the heel rubber on the back seperated, the heel itself ripped at one of the pull tabs, making any heel hook impossible. Also, I blew threw the rubber on the toe and I am using my big toe as friction now. For the five months that they lasted they were awesome. The problems that occured to me though, are most likely due to that fact that I got them in an 8 where I wear 11....
Price Paid: $45
Great fit, good control, but the rubber is too soft wearing out prematurely.
Where to Buy
We found the evolv Defy at 1 outdoor retailer: