The Cruzer wins our Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award because it is nearly half the price of some of our other award winners and can get you to and from some of your favorite crags. Versatility certainly isn't one of its qualities, but this unique shoe makes for an excellent buy for the average climber.
Don't let the Cruzer's low scores deceive you. Earning a full 10/10 for weight and gaining bonus points for its low price, this shoe is an excellent budget buy if short approaches are in your future.
Exploring the boulders of Bishop with the Cruzer Psyche.
Our testers put the Cruzer to the limits all over the state of California to see how well it could edge, smear, jam, and get us to our favorite places. With an above-average score of 6/10, were generally impressed with the Cruzer's climbing ability. A firm edge and a snug fit made easy scrambles enjoyable.
Featuring a smooth climbing zone, we felt confident smearing in the Cruzer, but its flexible sole made for less than ideal edging. For easy slab approaches or the occasional downclimb on your descent, the Cruzer was decent. We were uncomfortable, however, trusting the edge on low-fifth class climbs. The slim build of the Cruzer makes for solid crack climbing.
Though complete with a nice edge, the Cruzer is a little too flexible for our liking.
Because we separated "comfort" and "support" for this review, this category is mostly concerned with the midsole, materials, and lacing. The Cruzer is definitely one of our favorite hanging around town shoes, due mostly to its lightweight nature and canvas upper that makes for a more casual shoe than the technical La Sportiva TX3 or bulky Five Ten Guide Tennie. However, the Cruzer is very limited for long hikes, which is why it earned a low score in this metric.
We appreciated the semi-stiff, semi-flexible midsole and comfy canvas upper of the Cruzer for easy approaches, descents, and casual wear. These exact features didn't make for exceptional hiking, however. After hiking uphill for two hours to Yosemite's Higher Cathedral Rock, our feet were killing us. While comfortable for in town wear, this category looks primarily at hiking comfort, and we can't recommend this shoe for getting too far off the beaten path.
One of our least favorite features of this shoe is the lacing system. As opposed to the highly adjustable toe of the La Sportiva TX2, the Cruzer's laces are hard to adjust. They don't stretch down the foot as much as some other models we tested, making for a looser-fitting design.
Hanging out in Bishop in the Cruzer Psyche.
This metric is mostly concerned with how well each model protects your feet. We looked at stiffness and arch support as well as stability and weather protection, and once again the Cruzer received low marks.
The Cruzer's lightweight design provides absolutely no support. A glorified slipper with sticky rubber, our feet were wrecked after hiking up the steep, loose approach to Yosemite's Higher Cathedral Rock. The hike down was brutal as our feet slipped inside the shoes whose canvas upper failed to keep us secure.
The canvas material of the Cruzer is less than supportive.
In addition to its structure-less build, the Cruzer's canvas upper provides little protection from the elements. These shoes provide no weather-proofing and would do little to guard your toes against sharp rocks. Kicking steps in snow would be out of the question here, and we would think twice before hopping over talus in them.
At this point, you may be wondering why on earth the Cruzer won an award. With low scores in "comfort" and "stability," this shoe provides one very specific yet essential function: it is incredibly lightweight. While the average weight of shoes in this review is around 11 ounces, the Cruzer clocks in at an astounding 6.8 ounces and earned a full 10/10 in this category.
While its lightweight design subsequently earned the Cruzer low scores in hiking comfort and support, its 6.8-ounce weight makes it incredible for one thing: clipping to your harness. And here we have finally reached the reason for the Cruzer's award. If you frequently climb in areas with straightforward approaches or are looking for something light to join you for long multi-pitch days, the Cruzer is unbeatable. In areas like Yosemite, Squamish, or Eldorado Canyon, having a mega-light shoe to clip to your harness while you scamper up nearly roadside routes is extremely valuable.
The Cruzer Psyche clipped to our harness for a day on Yosemite's Higher Cathedral Rock.
Once again, the scores of this metric were sacrificed to the Cruzer's lightweight build. Just as climbing ability and support will often offset each other, durability and weight play on the weaknesses of the other. Because of the Cruzer's light canvas material, this shoe received the lowest durability score of any of the shoes in this review.
While the Cruzer's canvas upper had a difficult time withstanding the abuse we are accustomed to putting our approach shoes through, we want you to keep in mind that when used appropriately, the Cruzer has been known to last for many seasons. We've seen friends use these on big walls because of their minuscule weight and have found that their extremely reasonable price make up for their lack of durability. While you may rip through two pairs of these in the time you will wear in just one pair of La Sportiva Boulder X's, the price could potentially justify the purchase of a second pair.
Checking out the canvas details on the Cruzer Psyche.
Like we explained above, the Evolv Cruzer Psyche serves one very specific usage: as a multi-pitch companion. Their 6.8-ounce weight makes them a breeze to clip to your harness, and their slim design makes them barely noticeable as part of your rack. While we can't recommend them for long approaches on difficult terrain or for fifth-class scrambles, we love wearing these shoes around town and using them in our friendliest climbing areas.
If you just need some sticky rubber to get you down after a long day on the rock, the Cruzer is an unbelievable bargain. We believe that the $79 price tag more than makes up for this shoe's lack of durability, as you could buy two pairs for the price of one Arc'teryx Acrux SL. The uses of the Cruzer are very limited, but we do believe that this shoe fits the needs of a huge group of climbers, which is why we ultimately awarded it our Best Buy Award.
Winner of our Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award for women's approach shoes, the Evolv Cruzer Psyche is an excellent lightweight shoe to clip to your harness for easy access multi-pitch routes or as a stylish alternative to your normal cragging shoe. As the least expensive shoe in this review, we believe this is a great beginner approach shoe or addition to your quiver if you're looking for a basic, comfy slipper with sticky rubber.
The Best Buy Award-winning Evolv Cruzer Psyche.