Upon purchasing the Evolv Cruzer approach shoe a mere week and a half ago, I’ve gotten many compliments on my new red “Toms.”
These stylish, urban, hipster-looking shoes are actually technical climbing approach shoes that climb remarkably well. They are lightweight, which make them ideal for multi-pitch climbs, but unfortunately the thin, canvas-like material that contributes to its good looks and lack of ounces also makes the shoe significantly less durable.
However, if you’re looking for a shoe that you can wear to crush 5.10s with style and then run out to coffee to meet friends without stopping home to change, then you’re in luck.
The Evolv Cruzers run at about $75 full retail; however, I bought mine at the local gear shop “Gearonimo Sports,” for just $30. These shoes smear well indoors, on plastic walls, and outdoors on Garden of the Gods sandstone.
They also edge well for approach shoes; if you size them smaller than you might normal street shoes, edging will be easier. However, I found that I could get up most moderate routes surprisingly well with a combination of smearing and edging.
They also have a fold-back option on the heel, so you can wear them like slippers. This is an especially convenient feature if you’re cragging and find yourself walking back and forth from climbs.
The one major drawback of these shoes is their lack of durability. I’ve only owned them for about a week and a half, and already small holes are starting to wear through the canvas. They are definitely not the first shoes I grab if I know that I have a long, burly hike ahead of me, and honestly, the small approach up to New Era on Kindergarten Rock in Garden is about as rugged as these shoes can handle.
Due to their lightness, these approach shoes hike like the ever-popular “minimalist” or “barefoot” shoes, with minimal heel cushioning and padding when walking. I happen to like the new minimalist shoes and therefore like the feel of the Cruzers, but it is definitely not for everyone. These shoes also do not have the best traction, especially on steep gravel, sand or dirt.
This lack of usability is due to the low profile dots on the sole, some of which are starting to wear alarmingly fast.
Despite these drawbacks, these approach shoes are one of my favorite approach shoes for casual, low-key cragging, and for extra style points walking to class. They climb remarkably well for approach shoes and look great in an urban, non-climbing setting.
Jamie Sarafan, Staff Writer