April 28, 2021

Evolv Defy Review

by Jullie

Our review of the Evolv Defy climbing shoes will reveal several truths, one of them being that they were designed with beginner boulderers and climbers in mind. It performed above average in most climbing adventures, though it is not suitable for edging. 

Nevertheless, as a beginner, you will not require pro-level performance shoes yet. You simply want a comfy shoe that allows you to learn climbing at your pace, which is what the Evolve Defy is offering. Here is our review of this beginner-level climbing shoe.

What we like:

  • It is a highly comfy shoe.
  • Sleek design.
  • Ideal for beginner boulderers and climbers.

What we don't like:

  • Not good at edging.
  • Difficult to jam your feet in small cracks.

Evolv Defy Feature Highlights

Gravity and steep climbs will never hold you back when you're wearing the lightweight and comfortable, vegan-friendly Evolv Defy climbing shoes.

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Toe

Feature Toe Box

Evolve designed Defy's toe box precisely for comfort. What's more, this climbing shoe is not as stiff as the other beginner climbing shoes. However, this relative stiffness makes it difficult to remain stable on small holds. 

The toe box shape is a bit on the pointy side, making this climbing shoe ideal for slabs, face climbs, and nearly all gym routes. On the other hand, we found that the Evolv Defy was not good at edging. It did not offer us much stability when edging due to the soft materials. 

Also, the toe box's bluntness creates difficulty to get a stable toe on the small holds. The sole is moderately soft, and therefore, it did not offer our feet enough support for edging, as is the case with pricier climbing shoes. 

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Heel

Feature Heel

As a beginner's climbing shoe, the Evolv Defy heel hooks shockingly well. Overall the heel is this climbing shoe's strong point. When testing it, we found it suitable for bouldering, which usually needs a lot of heelwork. These climbing shoes might not be a good choice if you're not excellent with your footwork. 

They are relatively softer than most climbing shoes; therefore, you will have a hard time getting the necessary hold on minor ledges. While these climbing shoes are extremely sensitive, it will be too painful to attempt to support your body weight without enough support. 

Nonetheless, this could be a good thing. A softer climbing shoe will force you to polish your footwork. Even though it will be more brutal and painful to reach the rock, it will eventually better your foot strength significantly faster than climbing using a stiff shoe. 

When we were on our testing adventure and required to wedge the Defy into more minor cracks, this climbing shoe worked slightly well. If you are looking for a climbing shoe that performs excellently in cracks, you have to go for a wider shoe that will not cave in when crammed inside a crack.

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Rubber

Feature Rubber

The Evolv Defy rubber makes it rather sensitive and soft. That being said, it performs pretty impressively at indoor climbing since the rubber lasts long enough to tackle nearly all routes perfectly. The rubber's density changes depending on the part of the shoe. 

The manufactures utilized a rubber with high density in the toe box for additional protection and sturdiness. In the same way, for the low-impact parts of the shoe that require extra sensitivity and comfort, a reduced density rubber is utilized. 

The high-quality TRAX friction rubber delivers quite an incredible sensitivity to the Evolv Defy. This is also thanks to the soft sole. These two features combined meant that we felt all the micro features beneath our feet.

Besides, they made us feel confident enough to trust our feet’ positioning. This generous amount of sensitivity is advantageous for smearing and the times that you need to feel the small things beneath your feet. 

Even though we cannot assure you of life-long protection from toe smashing, the few adventures of testing that we took with the Evolv Defy made us feel like we were wearing slip-on climbing shoes. 

Therefore, you can be sure to feel comfortable and not stress about mashing your toes. Even though this climbing shoe does not perform well in edging, the teardrop MX-P half-length midsoles add a bit of edging power without giving up sensitivity and stability for smearing and technical moves. 

Feature Comfort and Fit

The Evolv Defy is a highly comfortable climbing shoe. The toe box and flat sole make it feel as comfy as a slipper-style climbing shoe, but without the fuzzy, smooth lining. You can wear it consistently for long adventures without bruising your feet, precisely indoors. We tried them out in the gym for a climbing session, and we never took them off in between climbs. 

This climbing shoe's closing mechanism is three Velcro straps. These straps are durable, and even when you overuse them for an extended period, like a whole year, they will not become less sticky. Besides, the Velcro straps are wonderfully fitted with narrow feet. 

For additional comfort, the Evolv Defy climbing shoes feature nylon linings that manage the moisture in the interior. What's more, they are rather breathable, and once you take them off in the middle of your adventure, you shouldn't worry about them emitting odors. This is quite the advantage since you never know who you'll meet during your adventure. 

While they do need some time to break in, they are certainly worth the wait. In the beginning, you might need to remove them once or twice between climbs, but once you break in, you're good to go. This climbing shoe does not stretch lengthwise as with leather climbing shoes. 

It will simply form into the shape of your foot; thus, choosing the correct size is vital. Ensure you buy a size that fits your correctly on the first try since it will not stretch. Eventually, it will become softer and conform to your foot's shape; however, it won't stretch lengthwise. 

Making sure you get the correct size might sound a bit difficult, but it will be worth the hassle. The Evolv Defy is not quite impressive at edging; therefore, if you purchase a pair that's too tight or too big, you will edge much more poorly.

The New High-Quality Upper Material, Offers a Soft but Secure Fit

Spend the whole day climbing at the crag or bouldering with friends in the comfortable Evolv Defy Rock Climbing Shoes. They provide comfort, sensitivity, and a great fit for climbers of all levels.

The Verdict

The Evolv Defy is the ideal climbing shoe for beginners. Considering it's a soft shoe, beginners can wear them the whole day during their adventure or in the gym and not have any issues with smell or comfort. Also, their fit is highly adjustable; thus, you can begin preparing yourself adequately for a fitter and tighter climbing shoe by tightening the straps to surge the shoe's rigidity. 

Fortunately, even the cons of these climbing shoes offer beginners the chance to become better climbers. For instance, the tow is quite tapered for the pockets in the rocks, though it will not reach that far. This can offer you an excellent introduction to this type of climbing and improve your skills. 

And while this shoe does not edge well, it will give you an excellent chance to strengthen your muscles in the feet and toes. This means that you can be better at it once you are comfortable enough to use an intermediate or pro-level climber shoe ideal for edging. 

On the other hand, advanced and intermediate climbers can utilize this climbing shoe for multi-pitch adventures or crack climbing where they need comfort than performance. Advanced and intermediate boulderers need to look for a high-performing shoe since Evolv Defy is not for them. Well, there you have it, a comprehensive review of the Evolv Defy.

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About the author 


Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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