First Look Gear Review
Street Price: $79
Pros: Light, comfortable, great for long approaches
Cons: Not great at edging, a little bulky when put in a backpack
Best Uses: Climbs with big approaches such as HIgh SIerra routes
The Escapist has been discontinued. Evolv no longer makes a similar trail-running-shoe-style shoe. They do have an unrelated model, the Evolv Cruzer which we love. It won our Top Pick award in the approach shoe review.
Below is the review for the discontinued Escapist
These are great shoes. I wear them just about everywhere, whether it is a long hike or a big wall. They are very comfortable and one of the least expensive approach shoes out there. That said, for $15 more, the La Sportiva Exum Pro scores higher and is more durable. If you want a shoe that climbs better, look at the Five Ten Guide Tennie or the La Sportiva Ganda.
These are a great approach shoes for big approaches because they are light and have great traction. They have a "trail running shoe" design that features a big heel cushion and generous room in the toe area. I have used them for big Sierra and Cascade routes where they performed well. Before I got these shoes, I would approach in non-sticky rubber running shoes. The approach would be great but once I got to easy scrambling terrain, I would have to make a tough decision about whether I wanted to be a little less secure in my running shoes or have more discomfort and extra hassle by putting on climbing shoes. These shoes solve that issue by giving you confidence on 4th class scrambles and easy 5th class terrain. They are relatively light and the sole design gives a good balance of traction and friction.
The downside of being so comfortable on hikes is that these do not edge as well as a shoe like the Five Ten Guide Tennie. They are just a little too loose and comfy for serious ropeless scrambling. The generous padding that makes them so comfy also makes them a little bulky when clipped on the side of your harness or crammed in a backpack. So these really are a hiking shoe first and a scrambling shoe second. These are not the most durable. The toe rand is starting to peel back a little on my pair.
At $79, these are a great short-term value and some of the least expensive shoes we know of. However, the short lifespan of the toe rand means they don't have a long life if you climb hard.
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: August 29, 2012
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