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Evolv Cruzer Psyche - Women's Review

The Cruzer Psyche is a budget-friendly option and great multi-pitch companion.
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Price:  $79 List | $59.98 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  ⋅  Nov 17, 2017
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53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 8
  • Climbing Ability - 30% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 4
  • Support - 20% 3
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Durability - 15% 4

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. At only $78 and 6.8 ounces, 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. For a more well-rounded shoe, check out the Editors' Choice award-winning La Sportiva TX2 - Women's. But if you frequent climbing areas with short approaches, the stylish, light, and cheap Cruzer may be just the thing you're after.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, extremely lightweightLightweight, great climbing ability, comfortableComfortable, supportive, less expensiveSupportive, comfortable, durableLightweight, good technical climbing ability
Cons No support, lack of durabilityNot as durable as someLess precise climbing ability, heavyHeavier, more expensiveToo stiff for hiking, expensive
Bottom Line The Cruzer Psyche is a budget-friendly option and great multi-pitch companion.This is an all-around awesome shoe with excellent climbing performance and a comfortable, lightweight design.The Grand Traverse is a comfortable shoe with great durability and price.This is a supportive, durable shoe that's made for big missions in the mountains.This is a stiff shoe that climbs well, but hikes poorly.
Rating Categories Evolv Cruzer Psyche - Women's La Sportiva TX2 - Women's Grand Traverse La Sportiva TX4 - Women's Konseal FL
Climbing Ability (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Comfort (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Support (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Evolv Cruzer... La Sportiva TX2 -... Grand Traverse La Sportiva TX4 -... Konseal FL
Weight (pair) (ounces) 13.6 oz 16.8 oz 22.6 oz 21 oz 19.8 oz
Sole Rubber Trax rubber Vibram MegaGrip Vibram Ibex w/ IdroGrip & MegaGrip Vibram MegaGrip Vibram MegaGrip
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Upper Cotton canvas Polyester mesh Leather Leather Single-layer ripstop mesh
Midsole EVA Traverse Lite Molded EVA Traverse Injection MIMIlex Injected EVA
Sizes Available 4 - 9 US 36 - 43 EU 6-11 US 36-43 EU 5 - 10 US

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


Don't let the Cruzer's low scores deceive you. Earning the highest possible score for weight and gaining bonus points for its low price, this shoe is a solid budget buy if short approaches are in your future.

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.

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 technical La Sportiva TX4 or bulky Five Ten Guide Tennie. 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 the La Sportiva TX2, 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


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.

Durability


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 put our approach shoes through, 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 saw that their extremely reasonable price made 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.
Checking out the canvas details on the Cruzer Psyche.

Best Applications


The Evolv Cruzer Psyche serves one very specific use: 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.

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 $78 price tag more than makes up for this shoe's lack of durability, as you could buy two pairs for the price of one Scarpa Gecko. The uses of the Cruzer are very limited, but this shoe does fit the needs of a huge group of climbers.

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