Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $71 - $89 | Compare prices at 9 resellers
Pros: Comfortable, great value
Cons: Gets soft over time, not best edging
Best Uses: Gym climbing, trad climbing, sport climbing
While this climbing shoe is ideal for beginning or budget-conscious climbers, it works in nearly any application, except maybe your hardest micro-edging redpoint where a stiffer-soled shoe would be better. Other shoes will do specific tasks better (like edging) but this shoe does nearly everything adequately and at a great price. For gym, sport climbs and most outdoor climbs it works great. We found the Mad Rock Flash did a little better on edging and small pockets and would choose that shoe over the defy for more outdoor use. If you have an unlimited budget, get the Five Ten Anasazi VCS.
View our complete Climbing Shoe Review to see how this product compared to others.
The Evolv Defy is one of the best values in climbing shoes. It is the best selling shoe at most Bay Area climbing gyms and maybe the best selling shoe in the country. It climbs great, looks cool and only costs $85. You can almost buy two pair for the price of an upper-end climbing shoe. So the last time I bought shoes I actually bought one tight pair for hard climbs and one pair a half-size bigger for all-day climbing comfort.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This rock climbing shoe excels at comfort and value. It is soft enough that it climbs comfortably right out of the box. Then over time it gets even more comfortable. This is not an ideal micro-edging shoe but I can't remember the last time I wanted a shoe just for that.
The same qualities that make the Evolv Defy shoe comfortable right out of the box also make it a little sloppy over time. After a few months you have to tighten the velcro more and put more effort into standing on little edges. This is to be expected from any shoe that feels soft right away. My solution of buying two pair solves this problem. My big pair gets more comfortable over time. Meanwhile, my tight pair is used less often and keeps its "edge."
These shoes excel in the gym where comfort always wins over edging. They also do great outside, especially on sport climbs. I use mine on technical steep granite but find they are not as precise as a stiffer shoe like the Anasazi Velcro.
This is one of the best values of any shoe on the market. For $85 you can't go wrong. If you buy them too big or they stretch way out, save them for long easy free climbs or the gym.
The Evolv Elektra is the women's version of the Defy and is a great budget shoe. The Elektra wins our Best Buy Award.
If you love the Defy, the logical higher end upgrade is the Chris Sharma pro model, the Evolv Pontas 2 $130, or the Evolv Shaman, $150.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 12, 2014
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