Choosing climbing shoes can often be a herculean task, especially when you’re looking for something to suit a myriad of needs, often unrealistic ones. And so with many expectations, I set off to find the perfect shoe for my current needs. I had a few criteria my shoes had to meet. I needed something durable – as this was going to be primarily a gym shoe. They needed to give me more performance than my current shoes to hopefully compensate for my sloppy footwork, specifically on overhangs, but still be a nice all-rounder that wasn’t going to murder my feet or, for that matter, my pockets.
I have a few fairly unorthodox methods for testing shoes which we will definitely get into soon enough. I spent weeks trying countless shoes from countless brands in every size close enough to be considered my size. Thankfully many shoes eliminated themselves due to my foot not quite matching up to its shape – much to my dismay and elation in various cases. Sadly (or luckily) this left quite a few shoes as my options, but I just couldn’t quite settle on a clear winner that I felt encapsulated my needs. There were many great shoes in my potential repertoire to choose from Luchadors, Kronos, and Stonelands among a few others. While these were all great shoes, I wasn’t quite satisfied with either of them. I was at an impasse that I dreaded I would end up at from the start. I saw myself drifting more and more into the higher performance and more expensive range of shoes (which to be honest, happens all too often when it comes to me and gear). The Ocun Ozone’s were the current contender but they were by no means satisfying my needs in terms of pocket and durability as gym shoes, besides destroying these indoors was a bit too much for my heart to bear. Then I stumbled across it. The final hope to satisfy my needs. The Evolv Supra.
These shoes were fairly new to the market and many places don’t stock them just yet but I was determined, like a dog digging for a bone. I tried them on in three sizes to see just how tight I could get them without my foot turning into a veritable concrete brick, and much to my surprise, even with the painful foot cramps of sizing it too small they were pretty damn comfortable. They were slightly more downturned than the Kronos and had the added bonus of slightly more toe rubber on the top which is perfect for toe hooking when you need it most. Between the slight downturn and the stiff 1.2mm midsole they’re perfect for the steep climbs and overhangs you find in the gym. They also provide quite a bit of support for standing on small edges. Additionally and not to be understated, they translate really well to outdoor climbing according to others that have come before me.
Now, even though these seemed to be the clear winner I wasn’t quite sold. I was in too deep to be easily persuaded into a pair of shoes. Besides at this point I had become extremely critical and the Supras have a bit of a higher heel, which provides a good amount of support but felt a bit off to me. I like wearing my shoes and getting to know them while I ponder their possible acquisition into my gear bag. Since I wasn’t quite happy with the heel I decided to pop my foot onto the smooth marble counter in what I like to call my office. I doubted how solid the heel would be and jokingly pulled myself toward the counter on my trusty steed which is a wheelie office chair. The shoes in an act to prove me wrong for my mistrust decided to not budge an iota, as I so readily expected them to, and promptly dethroned me from my pedestal. As I was very rapidly approaching the ground, I concluded that I was proved wrong and that these shoes are pretty damn good. My chair still glares at me to this day…
So for an all-round shoe that gives good performance both on rock and in the gym that performs particularly well on steep routes, edges and overhangs, while not breaking the bank. These would definitely be in the top of my list of considerations.