The Evolv Valor is a beginner/intermediate velcro shoe based on the popular Defy model. It features a stiffer midsole then the defy with ample padding and a large toe and heel rand. We’ve been testing the Valor on many rocks types and indoor walls over the last few months to see how it faired.
The stiffness of the shoe provides a good platform to edge on, the grip on positive rock is more then enough but the Valors did struggle on less positive edges and sloped pockets.
The rubber on the Valor feels quite hard, coupled with the stiffer sole we didn’t find the smearing performance to be particularly great. That said, as the shoes aged the smearing performance did improve (he Valors seemed to ‘break in’ after a few sessions).
Heel & Toe Hooking
The rand that runs around the shoe provides good adhesion for heel and toe hooking, as the fit of the shoe is aimed more for comfort then performance it’s not the most snug fit, and we found the Valors not as secure on heel hooks as some of it’s rivals.
The Valor isn’t a specialist crack shoe, but it does the job (the Valor is certainly better then my ability to climb cracks), the lack of laces and rubber rand help grip the rock when cammed into cracks and can’t complain too much in this area.
Comfort & Fit
This is the main selling point of the shoe, it’s great for long multi-pitch climbs where you’re in your boots for hours on end. We went for a direct street size and found the Valors tight but comfortable, they did stretch a little over the first few weeks which improved the fit – we did think however that the defy was more comfortable.
The Valors seem to be well made and have stood up to the abuse of sharp rock and bad technique. The shoe and rand are quite thick and these are certainly shoes that will last longer then most high performance shoes.
With a rugged build quality and thicker sole, the sensitivity of the Valors is not fantastic. The dull feeling you get through the shoe does not help install confidence (this is another area where the Evolv Defy seems to excel over the Valor).
The Valor makes for a good training or beginner shoe however the ever popular Defy (also by Evolv) would be our recommendation.