Approach Shoes Gear Review: Evolv Cruzer

evolve-cruzer-purple-main-image

Evolv Cruzer: they’re wonderful, they suck, I would (and did) buy them again

I don’t work for Evolv nor do I receive any sponsorship from them. I did however use and destroy a pair of Evolv Cruzer approach shoes, and happily bought another pair.

These shoes are not good for daily technical approaches nor for supporting your body while carrying a heavy pack. And don’t expect them to last a real long time either.

BUT … These are GREAT shoes for fast and light multi-pitch climbing with a walk-off. Period.

top-Marmolada-via-Don-Quixote
Wearing my Evolv Cruzer approach shoes atop the Marmolada via Don Quixote in the Dolomites, Italy. No, we didn’t take the f*#@-ing gondola down.
five-ten-approach-shoes-vs-evolv-cruzers
My purple Evolv Cruzers next to my brown Five Ten Women’s Guide Tennie.

I also own a pair of Five Ten Guide Tennie Women’s Approach Shoes, which I purchased back in 2013. After wearing a hole through the left toe side, it was time to retire them.

In 2015 I bought the Five Ten CANVAS Guide Tennie Approach Shoes. After three years they were undeniably shredded.

So after annihilating two pairs of the Five Ten approach shoes, I was faced with the daunting task of finding another pair of approach shoes. Five Ten changed their design of the Guide Tennie Approach Shoe and I found the new shoes to be too stiff. I also considered the La Sportiva approach shoes but they seemed very heavy and expensive.

Which shoes did I choose? In the end, I couldn’t find a shoe to meet all my needs and my budget, but the Evolv Cruzer is the lightest-weight “harness-able” shoes I could find.

The Evolve Cruzers are only 15 oz. and quite flexible. Compared to the the Five Ten Women’s Guide Tennie, weighing in around 1 lb. 10 oz. I decided to make the switch to the Evolv Cruzer.

Evolv Cruzer Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible – form to the rock and ground underneath your foot
  • Sticky soles
  • Compactly fit on a harness
  • The price – I had just quit my job to “vanlife” full-time. So, like many climbers, money was an issue.

Evolve Cruzer Cons

  • Little to no foot support – I learned that support was important after I experienced an epic ankle injury while hiking back alone from a week-long climbing trip in the Wind River Range.
  • Not a durable shoe – I wrote to Evolv explaining the early signs of wear I was seeing after limited use. They sent me some patches but I didn’t end up using them.

I knew I finally had to replace my Evolv Cruzers when I tried to put them on and they completely ripped down the side. F#@&!! I was leaving for a trip to the Dolomites in two days. In a panic, I sewed them … yes, I sewed my shoes, by hand, AND they held up just long enough for three routes. Worth it.

Expert tip: don’t be lazy like me and shove your foot into these shoes without untying them first. This puts too much pressure on a weak-point seam on the side and they will eventually rip. My boyfriend’s favorite crag shoes (an ancient pair of DC skate shoes) may also have many, many holes, but at least they didn’t rip in half, and he can still wear them.

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My situation 2 days before leaving on a climbing trip to the Dolomites.

 

Canvas-Wind-River
When a more durable and supportive shoe is required I bring out the old Five Ten Guide approach shoes.

 

2012-Five-Ten-CANVAS Guide-Tennie-Approach-Shoes
My 2012 Five Ten Guide Tennie shoes. I absolutely abhor shoe shopping. It is one of my most dreaded activities. Because of this, I wear my shoes waaaaay beyond their intended life.

Summary of the Evolv Cruzer approach shoes

I mainly used and destroyed my Cruzers climbing in the Dolomites (Heiligkreuzkofel, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Marmolada, Rosengarten), Wilder Kaiser, and the Zillertal Alps. These required harder and longer approaches than the Cruzers were intended for which accelerated their destruction. For example, while hiking into the sport crag Schleierwasserfall, I found my foot slipped from side to side inside the shoe, however, I was pleased with how well the rubber gripped on wet rocks. Even though my old Five Ten shoes have almost no tread left, leaving them quite slippery, they still offer more arch support than my Evolv Cruzers.

The Evolv Cruzers are not a very durable shoe, so to prolong use, I recommend using these shoes only in situations when you need to pack shoes on a harness.

I haven’t yet found my perfect all-around approach shoe, but I am happy with the Evolv Classic Cruzer for multi-pitch climbs with a walk-off.

 

[walk-off from Marmolada] video

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