The Evolv Elektra one of the best women's climbing shoes to buy if you are on a budget or are buying climbing shoes for the first time. They cost less than $100 and have a welcoming, comfortable fit. Similar in shape to the Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's and the La Sportiva Katana - Women's, the Elektra is not an aggressive shoe but has a flat shape instead of downturn. If your budget is higher but you like the shape of this shoe, consider the Anasazi, which we find climbs even better than the Elektra. However, the Elektra is very comfortable and the rubber is more durable than on shoes like the Anasazi thanks to the Variable Thickness Rand. If you like the price and fit of this shoe but prefer a lace-up, check out the La Sportiva Tarantulace, our Best Buy winner.
Evolv Elektra Review
Cons: Fit too flat and low around the heel
Our Analysis and Test Results
An affordable, comfortable shoe, the Evolv Elektra was a serious contender for our Best Buy award. It is has a flat shape and is a great option for first time climbing shoe buyers or vegans who want a synthetic shoe that does not incorporate leather.
These shoes have a synthetic upper, which is soft and comfortable as well as easy to size because they don't stretch very much.
The Elektra feels great in the toe while climbing, but the fit around the heel is less than ideal. The heel cup is really low, almost as if your foot would slide out of it, and it fits flat and loose under the arch of the foot, whereas the La Sportiva Tarantulace - Women's hugs your arch snugly and cradles your foot, making it really comfortable and confidence inspiring. These shoes are the opposite in how they fit, but they do have the "bedroom slipper fit" that is advertised, especially if sized large.
The Elektra features a Variable Thickness Rand (VTR), which means the rubber is thicker in the places where it wears out quickest, like the toe. We like this feature because it prolongs the life of the shoe and reduces toe bulge - meaning the shoes keep their shape better. This makes the toe slightly less sensitive than some other shoes at first, but overall the precision and sensitivity is adequate.
With low asymmetry, your foot can sit flat in these shoes and not be uncomfortably curled. This also means that your toes are not poised for edging on the tiny stuff, like with the La Sportiva Miura - Women's. Overall we find the Tarantulace to be slightly better at edging, but just barely. The Elektra can get you up almost any route.
The flat shape of this shoe lets it slide into cracks fairly easily, and foot jamming is not uncomfortable. we find it grips in hand sized cracks quite well. For harder cracks something a little more aggressive and precise might be wanted.
With no downturn, the Elektra doesn't sink into pockets the way something like the La Sportiva Solution - Women's does, but it can hang in there for a few steep sections. This shoe is not designed to be an aggressive shoe for steep climbing, but instead it is versatile and comfortable for all-around climbing.
Ease of Use
With a Velcro hook and loop closure and a split tongue to accommodate different foot shapes, these shoes are quick and simple to put on.
Be aware that the synthetic material on the upper of these shoes tends to hold stink much more than leather. Though we don't normally have a problem with smelly shoes, our tester shoes from Evolv ended up reeking to the point of embarrassment. This does't have to be a deal breaker, but is something to be aware of. Perhaps if you are more mindful of cleaning and caring for your shoes, you won't have the same problem, but otherwise, the higher stink level may make you toss these shoes sooner than if you had a leather pair.
Since the Elektra is comfortable, inexpensive, flashy, and has really durable rubber, we think it makes a great first climbing shoe. When someone asks us for advice on what to get for her first pair, we always suggest something inexpensive because climbers usually blow through their first pair pretty quickly with bad footwork and over-enthusiasm (we know we did.) These shoes are ideal because they are comfy and affordable.
The Evolv Elektra is a durable, comfortable shoe which also happens to be one of the least expensive shoes in this review. The variable thickness rand allows the rubber to last longer on this shoe than on some of the others, meaning you might get more wear before your first resole. These shoes will last a while and be completely worth the money.
We like the Elektra as an affordable climbing shoe option. Ultimately we gave the Best Buy award to the leather Tarantulace which is a little more comfortable, fits slightly better, and costs $9 less. However, if you prefer the fit of the Elektra or would rather have a synthetic shoe, we think this is a decent shoe for the price.
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Most recent review: July 14, 2015
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