Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Things I Like: Evolv Bolts and Cruzers

If you're reading this blog, you can probably see the Evolv logo on the right side of the page. It's not a secret that I'm an Evolv National Team athlete, and have been since 2003. Since Evolv have been awesome enough to provide me with the best climbing and approach shoes for ten years now, I decided to finally get around to reviewing two of my personal favorites, the best approach/route setting shoes on the market, the Evolv Bolts and Cruzers.

The Evolv Bolts in orange.
The Bolt is Evolv's classic approach shoe/boot, reminiscent of the first Mountain Masters, but slightly more stlyized and with a better toebox. The nubuck leather uppers are impressively resilient, holding up to many rough granite scramble/chimney squeeze approaches at a remote area we've been developing this year at Black Mountain. They're also an awesome shoe for route setting. The rubber toe rand and leather upper are both holding up to hours upon hours of jumar abuse, something I was very happy about after blowing through my first generation Cruzers were my aid ladder rubs. (An issue that has been addressed and I'll mention again in a moment.)
I also love the stiffness of the toebox for edging, and the large surface-area toe platform for smearing. The Bolt is built on a trail running shoe last, so it's my choice for long days, serious hikes, or burly scrambling.

Hard to believe these have seen several months of hard use.

New Evolv Cruzers are more durable than ever.
The Cruzer is Evolv's minimally styled casual shoe. They're not really approach shoes, but they are comfortable to wear all day, or all night, and they climb like a dream. They're actually the perfect stealth boulder or buildering problem assassins, disguised as a casual street shoe, or "ninja slippers," as I've taken to calling them.

Cruzers that have been used to set routes almost daily for two months, still looking fresh.

I mentioned when talking about the Bolts that I was happy to find a more durable shoe because I had blown out my old Cruzers. This is true, and it's a known problem the shoe had, blowing out prematurely at the side stitch joining the two pieces of canvas. As a professional route setter, I jumar a lot, and the aid ladder would rub on that stitch and blow the shoes out in a few weeks.  Evolv seems to have made a great shoe even better with the new one-piece Cruzers they sent me at the end of September, because these things still look brand new. I also love wearing these guys for route setting because they're perfect for testing moves in without having to change shoes entirely.

My new and improved Cruzers are still looking brand new after a couple of months of daily routesetting, coaching, and general wear.
Basically, if you're looking for a new pair of sticky rubber kicks, you really ought to try one of these awesome styles of Evolvs. If you need an approach shoe that can go from the mountains to the streets, I highly recommend the Bolts, but if you don't need that heavy hiking shoe and beefy arch/ankle support, the Cruzer is where it's at!

Thanks again to Evolv for hooking me up with the best gear for what I love to do!

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