Evolv Shaman (2016) Review

Usually when I review a pair of performance climbing shoes, I dread the break-in period, but I loved the recently updated Evolv Shaman from the get go. To be fair, I probably could have sized down a bit, but even though they’re comfortable enough to climb multi-pitch, I’m still getting really great performance.

The new Shamans take some of the concepts from the originals, but have plenty of worthy updates. The shoe still has a good amount of downturn and an asymmetric shape, but the entire thing has a much more streamlined fit and a more supple midsole, which provided a really natural feel.

Evolv put more rubber around above the front of the shoe for added durability and more secure toe hooking, which produced a notable difference. As always, it comes with TRAX rubber and a variable thickness rand to put more material in high friction areas. I did take these on a few crack climbing trips for the sake of testing durability, and they held up beautifully. The TRAX rubber is amongst the best on the market. Whether I was on vertical routes with small features, slab climbing, or overhanging routes with tenuous footwork, I was really pleased with the performance.

Personally, I felt comfortable in these up to V7 and low 5.12’s. I almost always fit perfectly in size 10 shoes, and I have moderately narrow feet. These were comfy with a perfect fit right out of the box, but quickly stretched to be a little too big. I’m also testing the Evolv Agro and TK approach shoes and I’ve found Evolv has sporadic sizing across the board. I would highly recommend trying these on before you purchase, but if you can’t, I’d suggest about a 1/2 size down from the previous Shaman.

Bottom line: the new Evolv Shamans are a testament that a new era of climbing shoe is here—one where you truly don’t have to sacrifice comfort for great performance. If you sport climb or boulder, definitely go try on a pair.

Price: $160

Best used for: Sport climbing, bouldering, trad climbing

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