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

Evolv Cruzer Psyche Review

This is a good shoe for long multi-pitch climbs with short approaches and descents
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $79 List | $78.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Ultralight-weight, pack down small, canvas upper breathes well
Cons:  Not very supportive, not durable
Manufacturer:   Evolv
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2017
  • 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

#9 of 13
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 8
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 2
  • Support - 20% 3
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 10

Our Verdict

The Evolv Cruzer Psyche is one of the best climbers due to its balance of support and snug-fitting sensitivity, while still looking slick enough that we'd wear straight from the crag to the bar without thinking twice about it. The main difference between the Psyche and the classic Cruzer model is a trail runner last on the Psyche that offers slightly more support for longer approaches with a heavy pack. The Cruzer Psyche compromises the lightweight flat construction of the original with what our testers feel is only a marginal amount of support. This is one of the best options for hiking off the top of multi-pitch climbs.

New Colors

Evolv has switched up the color options for these lightweight kicks. All of the other features remain the same.

December 2018

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

No model feels as light on our harnesses as a pair of Evolv Cruzers.

Performance Comparison

These lightweight canvas uppers breathe well but aren't very durable.
These lightweight canvas uppers breathe well but aren't very durable.

Climbing Ability

The thin-soled Cruzer Psyche climbs well if it fits snug. Not being a very stiff shoe, a looser fitting, hiking-sized Cruzer left our testers with a disconcerting floppy feeling, but when snugged up this shoe edges well and provides an awesome degree of sensitivity not usually found in an approach shoe.

These shoes are thin soled and extremely sensitive  so they're great for climbing.
These shoes are thin soled and extremely sensitive, so they're great for climbing.


The Cruzer Psyche is a stiffer shoe than its little brother, the Cruzer classic, and while it retains the much of the Cruzer Classic's sensitivity, it edges better than the original. Our testers could feel edges better in these shoes than any other contender in this year's line up. This made for more enjoyable scrambling over the feldspar knobs and edges found on Cathedral Peak and the Matthes Crest.


Armed with a thin outsole of TRAX High Friction rubber, these shoes smear almost as well as the champion of smearing, the Five Ten Guide Tennie and its stealth rubber. Our testers enjoyed warming on up easy granite slabs in Pine Creek Canyon while their feet remained fresh and comfy.

A low profile allows these shoes to fit into narrower cracks  but the canvas uppers wear out more quickly than leather shoes.
A low profile allows these shoes to fit into narrower cracks, but the canvas uppers wear out more quickly than leather shoes.


The Cruzer Psyche has one of the lowest profiles of all the approach shoes we reviewed. The comfortable and breathable canvas upper is not as durable as leather shoes like the La Sportiva Boulder X or the La Sportiva TX4, so repeated use in cracks will significantly decrease the lifespan of this shoe.

Hiking Comfort

These shoes are not ideal for long approaches or carrying heavy loads. The soft EVA midsole is a welcome addition to the Cruzer Classic (which has no midsole), but it still wasn't enough to keep our testers comfortable for the long haul. The pronators among us in particular, as their heels slid around and slightly off the heel.

Trax rubber and a super thin midsole are all that stand between you and the rock.
Trax rubber and a super thin midsole are all that stand between you and the rock.


These shoes offer the least supportive of all the shoes tested. While slightly more supportive than the Cruzer Classic, they still aren't what we would choose to hike around with heavy packs or stand in aiders all day, but that isn't what they were designed for. If you're cruising around the boulder field, roadside cragging, or walking around town, the Cruzer Psyche is more than adequate.

Weight and Packability

If you're going to be climbing long free routes and you need to have shoes clipped to your harness for the walk-off, these are the shoes you want to have, hands down. At 17.4 ounces for a men's 9.5, they are the lightest shoes we reviewed. The floppy canvas upper compacts and compresses, and one of our testers managed to squeeze through the notoriously narrow Harding Slot with these shoes still on his harness. Laced up tight, we found we could store a few bars and a headlamp inside without worrying about them falling out.


These shoes are the least expensive pair of kicks in our review. For those who like to have a quiver of shoes, having a dedicated descent shoe is a no-brainer, but there low durability score and specialization costs it our Best Buy Award, which goes to the durable but more expensive La Sportiva Boulder X.


Our like the Evolv Cruzer Psyche for its improved durability and support from the Ultralight original Cruzer Classic and are psyched (pun intended) to wear them out to the boulder crag, or riding around town. We universally agreed that they are the most stylish shoes in the line-up.

Matt Bento