The Evolv Elektra has often been thought of as the ‘go to’ shoe for all round comfortable climbing at a reasonable price. As the most popular women’s climbing shoe in the USA we have got our hand on (or we should say are feet in) a pair to see what all the fuss is about.
Comfort & Fit
At first I have to say I was a little concerned at how uncomfortable this supposedly comfortable shoe was and perhaps looking back now I would have chosen a half size bigger. However after a couple of weeks in the gym and on the rock of the ‘I need to get my shoes off as quick as I can routine as soon as you hit the ground the shoes became a lot more comfortable. In fact, to the point where I never take them off throughout my whole climbing session. The Elektra’s have a hook and loop closure system (in other words a double Velcro strap). This helps makes the shoe as comfortable or as aggressive to suit your mood/route choice. Evolv do split shoe sizes so if you have one foot abnormally bigger than the other you should definitely consider this. Although the Elektra’s have a perforated Synthratek upper it doesn’t prevent the whole clammy foot thing, but what do you expect when most of your foot is surrounded by rubber. The plush nylon lining makes the shoe pretty comfortable the only trouble area I tend to have is that I find the heel of the shoe comes up quite high occasionally digging into my ankle.
The Elektra’s boast to accommodate beginners to advance climbers and one way they have done this is the durability of the shoe. The rubber is thick and does not breakdown very easily this make it really forgivable to those scrappy days common for those just starting out in climbing or pushing (sometimes well) above their usual climbing grade. They have thickened the rand of the front toe area wear the rubber usually wears quickest so we would really recommend the Electra as a good all-round training shoe.
Edging & Sensitivity
Like mentioned previously, Evolv have a thick front toe area. Although this is great for durability perhaps not the best for those tiny (poor excuse for) foot placements that require a sticky edge and sensitivity. These shoes are on the stiffer side and do not provide you with the best feedback from the rock or gym but they have clearly traded in sensitivity for the durability of the shoe. Saying that
At first I have to admit I was a little anxious and not fully committed to smear outdoors, but I needn’t have been. The 4.2mm TRAX® high friction rubber sole on the Electra’s perform better than expected and for the price you’re paying pretty unbelievable. You definitely get more than you paid for in this department. Being on the less aggressive side with a fairly flat bottomed profile also helps in the smearing department.
Cracks, Toe & Heel Hooking
In these said areas one quote springs to mind and that is, “a jack of all trades but a master of none.” But I don’t mean this in a bad way. The rand have a decent surface area but it’s pretty average in heel hooking area probably due to its comfortable rather than performance fit. The thick sole is great for your toe welfare making crack climbing if your into that kind of thing (it takes a special sort) a bit more painless.
Value & Summary
For the price the Electra is a perfect companion whether you have a gruesome training regime planned in the gym, starting out in the world of climbing, or just like getting stuck in outdoors for fun. It is a generalist rather than specialist shoe but unless you’re constantly climbing particularly technical routes above 7a the Electra’s can take what you throw at them. I would say it’s a shoe definitely those on the narrower end of the foot size spectrum and if your between sizes I would edge to a bigger rather than smaller size.