There are a lot of considerations when picking out a pair of climbing shoes, but in the end it’s what fits your foot and the style of climbing you want to do. If this is your first pair of shoes, check out my article “Climbing Shoes – Your First Pair” for some tips, but beyond that, here we go.
I recently picked up a pair of Evolv Defy VTRs and honestly could not be happier with them. Having a wide toe box, I was really concerned when going to purchase a new pair of shoes that I was going to have the long and strenuous search like with hiking boots, but was pleasantly surprised when trying these on. Just like all climbing shoes, the fit is definitely snug, but there was no ankle dig issues, and the fit around the toes was not too bad. I definitely threw them off after every wall for a while, but after a couple weeks, grew pretty accustomed to them. Now they aren’t a very aggressive shoe, but being somewhat new to climbing, I have yet to do a move yet where the shoes, not my technique, were the obstacle. They have also been quite durable. I’ve used them about 4-5 times a week over the last 4 months and outside of a very small rubber chunk out of the bottom of one shoe, they’ve held up quite well and there have been zero issues with any glued pieces. They are also 100% synthetic, so the overall shape of the shoe has not changed at all from the first day to my most recent climb. Now there is one big con to these shoes, and that is the stink factor. I prefer to climb without socks, (which may be the root cause), but they pretty much smell like they could kill small animals. I’ve done all the tricks, air them outside overnight, spray them down with Lysol and/or Odor Eaters, and even put them in the freezer overnight, and it kind of helps, but only temporarily. In the end, I would still totally recommend these shoes to any climber, new or experienced.