The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Evolv Cruzer Psyche - Women's Review

A budget-friendly option and great multi-pitch companion
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $79 List | $63.16 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, extremely lightweight
Cons:  No support, lack of durability
Manufacturer:   Evolv
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 19, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 6
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 4
  • Support - 20% 3
  • Weight & Packability - 20% 9

Our Verdict

The Evolv Cruzer Psyche is the most unique shoe in this review, which makes it somewhat challenging to write about. Its low numerical scores undermine its excellence in both weight and cost. It is nearly half the price of some of its competitors, and at just 6.8 ounces per shoe, the Cruzer makes for an unparalleled multi-pitch approach shoe in climbing areas with more straightforward descents. We wrestled with our decision but ultimately did not award the Cruzer an award due to its low scores in most categories despite its excellence in one particular environment. But if you frequent climbing areas with short approaches, the stylish, light, and cheap Cruzer may be just the thing you're after.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Versatility certainly isn't one of its qualities, but this unique shoe is a great buy for the average climber. If your favorite crags have short, straightforward approaches or if multi-pitch routes with walk-off descents are your jam, take a look at the Cruzer Psyche.

Performance Comparison


Exploring the boulders of Bishop with the Cruzer Psyche.
Exploring the boulders of Bishop with the Cruzer Psyche.

Climbing Ability


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. Despite its average score, 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 just fine. We were uncomfortable, however, trusting the edge on low-fifth class climbs. On the other hand, 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.
Though complete with a nice edge, the Cruzer is a little too flexible for our liking.

Hiking Comfort


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 the more technical and bulky products we tested. However, the Cruzer is very limited for long hikes, which is why it earned a low score in the comfort metric.

We appreciated the semi-stiff, semi-flexible midsole and comfy canvas upper of the Cruzer for easy approaches, descents and casual wear. These same 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 review 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 our top-scoring product, the Cruzer's laces are hard to adjust. They don't stretch down the foot as much as with some other models we tested, making for a less precise result.

Hanging out in Bishop in the Cruzer Psyche.
Hanging out in Bishop in the Cruzer Psyche.

Support


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; once again the Cruzer received low marks.

The Cruzer's lightweight design provides absolutely no support. Wearing this 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.
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, and we would definitely think twice before hopping over talus.

Weight and Packability


At this point, you may be wondering why on earth you'd ever buy the Cruzer. Along with its low scores in "comfort" and "stability," this shoe provides one specific yet essential attribute: 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.

While its lightweight design subsequently earned the Cruzer low scores in hiking comfort and support, its 6.8-ounce weight makes it incredible for clipping to your harness. And here we have finally reached the place for the Cruzer's niche. 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.
The Cruzer Psyche clipped to our harness for a day on Yosemite's Higher Cathedral Rock.

Value


If you just need some sticky rubber to get you back down after a long day on the rock, the Cruzer is an unbelievable bargain. The price tag more than makes up for this shoe's lack of durability, as you could buy two pairs for the price of a single pair of more expensive approach shoes. The uses of the Cruzer are very limited, but this shoe does fit the needs of a huge group of climbers.

Checking out the canvas details on the Cruzer Psyche.
Checking out the canvas details on the Cruzer Psyche.

Conclusion


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.
The Best Buy Award-winning Evolv Cruzer Psyche.

Lauren DeLaunay