Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes Review

What do you look for in the climbing shoes as a beginner? Comfort? Performance? Fit?

Most of you agree with comfort as that’s the right thing to look for when you are new to climbing. And speaking of entry-level shoes that offer great comfort, no one should forget about Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes.

Designed by the popular brand Evolv, this beginner-level climbing shoe is popular among those who seek all-day comfort outdoors or at the gym. Though the footwear is not aggressive, it is not necessarily an issue as it will adapt to climbs of most styles, provided they are not too technical.

Follow this article for a detailed review of these Evolv Climbing Shoes.

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes – The Overview

With the sticky Evolv-dedicated rubber and neutral sole, the Evolv Defy stays firm on the holds. Besides, the rubber doesn’t wear down quickly, which means the product lasts you a long time as you learn to enjoy climbing and hone your rock climbing skills.

This climbing footwear comes with a synthetic rubber, which makes sure that it won’t mold your feet like leather, but it offers incredible comfort. The dual heel straps help pull the shoes on and also makes them easier to take off after a long climbing session.

Likewise, the Defy’s toe box is large enough to allow you to smear on walls as you get used to rock climbing. If you opt for a tight fit or if you have wide feet, you have to prepare to suffer a little on cracks with this pair of climbing shoes. Else, make sure that your foot placement is spot on.

Pros & Cons

High frictionNot proper edging
Great moisture controlToes may wear out quickly.
Good comfort
Excellent sensitivity
Improved fit
Easy to put on and off
Flexibility and durability

Feature Highlights

  • Designed with synthetic material
  • Features Teardrop MX-P 1mm half-length midsoles that add edging power without sacrificing flexibility and sensitivity
  • Includes high-performance 4.2mm TRAX high-friction rubber soles
  • Comes with hook-and-loop straps for easy on and off
  • Includes new antimicrobial mesh to eliminate odor
  • Features flexible and durable synthetic suede uppers to resist stretching
  • Features an asymmetrical toe profile for comfort and sensitivity
  • Comes with a slip-lasted design
  • Includes dual heel loops to ease entry

Product Details

  • Dimensions: 14 x 6 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 0.58 pounds
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Closure: Velcro Strap
  • Downturn: Moderate
  • Lining: Nylon
  • Fit: Asymmetrical
  • For: Men and Women
  • Designed to Serve: Beginners
  • Sizes: 31 options
  • Colors: Black/Sulphur, Black/Grey, Charcoal

Here is the Evolv Defy Men’s Shoes Sizing Chart:


Here is the feature breakdown of the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes:

Design and Construction

This particular climbing footwear is engineered with synthetic material. It has a 1mm midsole and a 4.2mm outsole. With Evolv’s Molded VTR technology, the thickness of the rubber in the shoe remains constant. However, its density differs depending on the section of the footwear.

Both the outsole and midsole of the shoe stretch undivided across the entire length of the foot. The stretch offers comfort and stability and impedes the overall precision over smaller footholds.

Similarly, the insole of the shoe has a nylon liner that has been treated with an antimicrobial compound to ward off any bacteria that accumulates from internal moisture.


Comparatively, this pair of climbing shoes lack the edging ability. The Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes lack stability while edging because of its soft materials. Besides, the bluntness of the toe box makes it tough to get a sturdy toe on micro holds.

The moderately soft sole of this climbing footwear does not provide the support to your foot for edging that you can find in more expensive climbing shoes.


With its synthetic design, the Defy won’t stretch lengthwise like a leather climbing shoe. Thus, the footwear only conforms to the shape of your foot. However, the toe box of the shoe is wide and round, which helps for extended-wear comfort.

Additionally, the heel also fits well as it doesn’t rub up against the back of the foot, meaning you won’t get any heel blisters from wearing this shoe. Many users have complained that the shoes fit too snuggly, but that is the whole point of a climbing shoe.


With the blend of flat profile and flexible sole, this climbing footwear from Evolv earns high points on comfort. The pretty low asymmetric last offers a very natural foot fit. The shape and composition of the shoe make it the right fit for comfort over performance.

It is perfect for novice climbers who are learning new techniques and who are spending more time in the gym or out at the crag climbing.

The flat sole and toe box of the footwear make it feel more like a slipper for your comfortable wear. Besides, the velcro straps this climbing shoe comes with allows you to take them on and off easily.

Toe Box

The shape of the toe box of Evolv Defy climbing shoes is designed for comfort, and the footwear is not as stiff as others in the same category. With that, it creates difficulty while staying on smaller holds. The toe box is slightly more on the pointy side, making the shoe good for face climbs, slabs, and almost all gym routes.


As an entry-level shoe, the Defy heel hooks surprisingly well. In general, the heel is the strong point of this footwear. It can be considered as a good option for bouldering, which typically requires more heelwork than rope climbing.


The rubber of this shoe makes it fairly soft and sensitive. It is mostly suited for the gym as the rubber lasts longer to tackle most routes perfectly. The density of the rubber changes based on the part of the shoe.

For instance, the manufacturers use a higher density rubber in the toe box to increase protection and durability. Similarly, for the low impact areas that need more comfort and sensitivity, a lower density rubber is used.


The quality TRAX high-friction rubber and soft sole offer quite an excellent sensitivity to this climbing shoe. With the help of this, your feet can feel the micro features underfoot, and it also gives you the confidence to trust your foot placement.

This level of sensitivity is beneficial for smearing and other times when you want to feel the rock with your feet.


Since the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoes won’t stretch lengthwise, users may find their toes pushing holes in the shoes over time. In short, if you get the right size, you can get proper durability from this footwear.

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For further information, catch the video review here:

Other Options Worth Exploring

Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoe


  • Designed with 100% split grain leather
  • Includes single-strand velcro closure system
  • Comes with Stealth C4 4.2 mm rubber outsole
  • Features stiff thermoplastic midsole
  • Features unlined leather upper with half size-stretch
  • Features aggressive downturned toe

La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes


  • Features leather upper for a soft and comfortable fit
  • Includes tensioned heel rand for high-end performance
  • Includes 5mm XS Edge Rubber outsole offering a solid grip
  • Comes with the Powerhinge to support the underfoot
  • Features a slip-lasted design
  • Features moderately downturned toe

La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoes

  • Engineered with synthetic material
  • Features slip-lasted design
  • Comes with highly breathable tongue and lining for moisture management
  • Features slightly downturned toe and subtle asymmetry
  • Includes P3 midsole and Vibram XS Edge rubber for incredible edging
  • Features Lorica synthetic leather toe box for optimizing edging power
  • Features medium-asymmetrical toe box for great precision and sensitivity
  • Includes leather/Lorica upper and pacific lined forefoot for comfort

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As this pair of rock climbing shoes have a synthetic material build, they won’t stretch like leather shoes. Hence, the fit you get while you try them for the first time is pretty close to the fit that you will have after multiple uses.

Yes, this climbing footwear has had some issues with the smell with its previous versions. The problem was due to the use of a synthetic lining. However, the current models feature an antimicrobial mesh material and a breathable upper that helps to minimize odor and the bacteria build-up.

As the shoe is not aggressively hooked but instead comes with a round toe and flat sole, it is best known for its comfort. In the meantime, this means that you lose precision as a result, especially when backstepping and front-stepping on tiny holds.

Our Opinion

All in all, the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe is a reliable option for the first pair of climbing shoes at a reasonable price. With the blend of comfort and precision, the novice rock climbers or boulderers cannot go wrong by purchasing this model. 

One drawback of this climbing footwear is that the synthetic lining may cause it to smell. However, the new design and simple maintenance can keep it in good order. To be precise, the lining plays a crucial role in limiting the stretch of the shoe.


Since this climbing shoe is for beginners, don’t expect it to perform valiantly in cracks and edging. It is sure to offer overall comfort to the aspired climbers, who are ready to hone their climbing skills.

Don't miss out on our newly published review article on "Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoes".