User Review: evolv Pontas
Materials: cotton lined synthetic
Use: bouldering, sport climbing, competition
Break-in Period: initial: about ten medium routes. total: a few weeks
Price Paid: N/A (pro price)
Very versatile and sensitive. It has a 3/4 length semi stiff midsole which softens a bit and flexes. Put that together with the asymmetrical (pointed toe) profile and you get a good blend of edge and pushability with good sensitivity.
It isn't necessarily a powerful edging shoe. I tend to blow off of small holds in vertical high tension liebacks and oppositions, but I can always find the sweet spot on any little foot chip. For average to delicate footwork edging, smearing and toe pointing they excel.
To compare them to other shoes, they edge as well as the La Sportiva Viper and almost as well as the La Sportiva Katana or 5-10 Anasazi vcs, but that is combined with a toe that is just as sensitive as the La Sportiva Venom and the Cobra. If you are climbing a route that you would break out your Muras or Anasazi laceups for than this might be a little soft, but that is where the Pontas Lace comes in.
The heel is snug side to side and fairly snug at the rand. Really a moderately to mildly aggressive heel rand, comfy but keeps tension. If you have always found dead space behind your heel in Five Ten or Sportiva, then evolv is for you.
In the Pontas you may find a little space behind the bottom of your heel, but above that bottom corner it sits close to the back of your heel all the way up (incidentally the Pontas Lace fits the heel a little more snugly, especially at the base of the heel). With no midsole in the heel and thin rubber the heel is very sensitive, but doesn't protect your heel very much so sharp holds will bite you, but it is easy to tell if you aren't locked into the heel hook.
The toe rand is a great accessory. It makes it easy to scum and hook the top of your foot and helps with crack jams (cracks are not an ideal use of the shoe, but it works in a pinch).
The shoe seems to fit best on average volume, narrow to average feet. An 8.5 Pontas fits close to a 39 Sportiva Katana or Venom or a 9 Anasazi. It will soften in the first few days, but should not be fit for stretch. It should just feel a little stiff over the toes and that will soften out.
One of the biggest complaints about evolv is that the synthetic fabric starts to smell, but synthetic fabric is also washable, just don't machine dry them, the black rubber will mess over your dryer.
Bottom line: If you wouldn't NEED your laceups, downturned shoe, or crack boot, then these will do it. From slabs to severe overhangs they do the trick.