Reviews You Can Rely On

Evolv Rebel Review

These shoes are just as at home at the crag as they are in town
evolv rebel approach shoes review
Credit: Evolv
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $115 List
Manufacturer:   Evolv
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 5, 2019
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 6.0
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 4.0
  • Support - 20% 4.0
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Evolv Rebel is our favorite hiking approach shoe from Evolv to date. They trade the lightweight and packability found in their Cruzer line for improved hiking comfort and some urban styling. They don't climb quite as well as the Cruzers and aren't going to be your footwear of choice for running up Royal Arches, but for approaches longer than a mile, easy alpine romps, and everyday use around town, a pair of Rebels will do the trick nicely. They are not our recommendation for approaches with heavy packs.
Average climbing performance
Not very supportive

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

evolv rebel approach shoes review - these kicks provide the friction you need at the crag and the style...
These kicks provide the friction you need at the crag and the style you want for all-day-everyday use.
Credit: Matt Bento

Climbing Ability

The Cruzer Psyche climbs very well. The rubber sticks, the forefoot flexes for smearing, and the low profile fits into cracks that burlier shoes can't.


Compared to the Five Ten Guide Tennie or the Scarpa Crux, the Rebel feels sloppy on the edges. These skater style shoes are soft and comfy, but not stiff and supportive. One anything but the biggest jug-like edges, you're going to want a stiffer shoe.

evolv rebel approach shoes review - stiffer shoes like the bouder x edge better than these, but for the...
Stiffer shoes like the Bouder X edge better than these, but for the style, they edge ok.
Credit: Matt Bento


The softness of these kicks helps deliver lots of "rubber to the road." That is, it's relatively easy to hike up low angle slab approaches, but true slab climbing is off-limits.

evolv rebel approach shoes review - never fear, trust the smear! evolv's sticky rubber provides plenty...
Never fear, trust the smear! Evolv's sticky rubber provides plenty of friction.
Credit: Matt Bento

Crack Climbing

The leather uppers and the rubber rand are suitable for easy chugging on low angle cracks. In our scrambling adventures, we found that the Rebels held up well after getting twisted into cracks.

evolv rebel approach shoes review - these low volume shoes are great for crack climbing, but we worry...
These low volume shoes are great for crack climbing, but we worry about their durability for big wall applications.
Credit: Matt Bento

Hiking Comfort

The heel on this shoe is significantly more stable than other Evolv models we have tested over the years. Our lead tester emphatically dislikes hiking long distances in those shoes, while the Rebel offers comfort and stability for everyday use without compounding his many tweaks and injuries. We've been consistently disappointed with heel stability in the Evolv shoes we tested in the past, and the Rebel's heel is a welcome change. The leather upper and the black color (it goes with everything!) of the model we tested combined for a sweaty experience, so if you've got extra soggy dogs or just need an all-around better hiker, beware.

evolv rebel approach shoes review - these stick to rock but aren't our favorite for gravel trails.
These stick to rock but aren't our favorite for gravel trails.
Credit: Matt Bento


These aren't the best choice for burly backcountry expeditions. You'll want something with a higher ankle, a stiffer midsole, and a tread with bigger lugs. The Rebel is also not suited to the task of hauling heavy loads and standing in aiders all day. For general hiking to the crag, these provide enough support for most folks.

Weight & Packability

The Rebels aren't as harness friendly as the Evolv Cruzers, which are more compact and lighter than the Rebels. The Rebels do have a clip-in loop, so a least you'll have an easy option to attach them to your harness. At 20.5 oz, they're a lighter load than more supportive models.

evolv rebel approach shoes review - while these aren't the lightest shoes in the line-up, we wouldn't...
While these aren't the lightest shoes in the line-up, we wouldn't hesitate to carry them up a multi-pitch clipped to our harness.
Credit: Matt Bento


For the price, you get a sticky rubber approach shoe you can wear from the crag to the bar, without anyone asking you if you're wearing climbing shoes. The Rebel's casual skate shoe style makes them pretty versatile, and are a good choice for anyone who wants the security of sticky rubber wherever they go.


We don't recommend these shoes for long slogs with heavy loads and we don't think they'd hold up for many El Cap routes, but our friends think they look cool! So, on quick strolls to roads side boulders and crags, or just a night out, we'll be wearing them.

Matt Bento
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More