Evolv Defy Review

You may be really new to climbing and looking for the best possible climbing shoe to start out with. Some of the best climbing shoes in the beginning of your journey should be geared towards features that allow you to try a lot of different aspects of climbing, such as pockets, crack, and edge climbing. 

While no one shoe can do this for you, trying out one particular shoe can definitely give you more precise experience on what things you are great at and your shoe is great at doing, and some of the ways you need to increase your skills and where your shoe is lacking in performance. 

The Evolv is a great beginner shoe and will definitely get you started right on your climbing journey while still being a good extra pair for more experienced climbers. So sit back and enjoy the Evolv Defy Review to tag it along your next outing.

In Depth Guide of the Evolv Defy Review

Evolv Defy Review

How Well Does the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Actually Perform?

More so of a beginner shoe, the Evolv Defy climbing shoe will be a good fit for people who are looking to start their climbing adventure. 

Also, even if you’re very experienced in your climbing, the Defy will still be a pretty great gym climbing shoe so you can practice some of your more difficult climbs in a less harsh environment. 

Not The Best at Edging

If you aren’t too good with your footwork while climbing, these shoes probably won’t be the best option. They are softer than a lot of climbing shoes so you’re going to have trouble getting enough of a hold on smaller ledges, and even though these shoes are really sensitive, it’s going to be too painful to try to support your weight without much support. 

This could be a plus, however. If you get a softer shoe, it is going to force you to work on your footwork. Though it will be more painful and tougher to get a hold on the rock, it will actually build up your foot strength a lot faster than having a rigid shoe do the work for you. 

Pretty Good at Crack Climbing

When you are climbing and have to wedge your shoe into a smaller crack, the Defy will work relatively well. Since they are a softer shoe, it may be too painful since there isn’t too much support. If you want a shoe that performs really well in cracks, you’ll want to find a wider shoe that doesn’t cave in when jammed into a crack. 

Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Score

  • Pockets –  6 out of 10
  • Comfort – 7 out of 10
  • Sensitivity – 6 out of 10
  • Cracks – 5 out of 10
  • Edging – 5 out of 10

Not Great at Pockets

When you are slipping your foot into pockets, you basically use the same techniques as you would when edging. Because of this, the Evolv Defy climbing shoe is just ok at getting a good hold on pockets. 

It has a little more of a tapered point at the end of the shoe, so it can definitely fit into smaller pockets unlike some other climbing shoes. 

Typically your climbing shoe, especially the more rigid ones, are a little tougher to squeeze into pockets since they are so stiff. Only a few climbing shoes have that tapered design which gives you the ability to jam it into pockets while still giving you the support of a more rigid shoe. With the Evolv, you get a little bit of both, but it definitely leans towards ability to jam than support. 

Since it’s still a softer shoe, when you slip your toe into pockets, you are still not going to have as much support as with a more rigid shoe. Also, even though it is tapered to be able to fit into pockets pretty well, the length of the shoe is a little short, so you’ll have a shallow hold on the pocket your Defy climbing shoe is in. 

Is the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Comfortable?

For the Defy, the main point of this shoe is for very beginner climbers to give them a soft entry way into their first climbing experience. 

That being said, the shoe is extremely soft and almost feels like a normal walking shoe. This will be really good for newer climbers so they can have the right gear for climbing, but still be as comfortable as possible. 

Has Option for Stiffening the Shoe

You can also tighten this shoe a good bit once you have a little more experience climbing. This way you can see what it feels like to have a more rigid shoe with a little better support. This won’t be as comfortable as it normally would be, but it’s a great way to break you into getting used to a stiffer shoe. 

Another idea for practicing with a stiffer fit is just to buy a size down for your current climbing shoe size. This again won’t be as comfortable, but it will definitely create a stiffer shoe for you while still keeping the same style and relative softness. This is definitely not a forever fix in favor of getting an actually rigid climbing shoe, but it’s a start. 


The Defy has great breathability since they are a softer shoe. The material isn’t as thick as other shoes and so it allows for better breathability. 

It Doesn’t Stretch

There is almost no stretch ability in those shoes. It’s pretty much going to stay at the exact size that you purchase it at. Other climbing shoes stretch longwise with your foot, but unfortunately this one does not. 

Toe Box and Heel Are Great

Your toe box dictates how comfortable your toe will be. Depending on how roomy it is, your toes are either going to be squashed and free to move around.

The Defy’s toe box is wide and rounded, which makes your toes much more comfortable than most other climbing shoes. Even though the shoe is tapered to more of a point than most, the toe box design on the inside still has a rounded design. So even if the shoe looks pointy and like it would cram your toes, the inside is built for toe comfort, unlike some other climbing shoes. It is still a softer shoe, so you would expect it to be more comfortable in the toe box anyway. 

Also, the heel doesn’t rub too much against your foot, which prevents your heel from getting chafed and sore. 

Does the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Have Good Fit?

Velcro Straps Work Great

Fit in the Evolv Defy is really high. A lot of this fit comes from the velcro straps that allow you to adjust how well the climbing shoe conforms to your foot, which is a big deal especially when you are first starting to climb. 

And since it is a naturally soft shoe, even if you have a tight fit it will still be comfortable for you. Of course, after a longer period of time, you will start to feel the effects of a more rigid fit and your feet may become uncomfortable. Since you can loosen the velcro straps at will however, it makes for a perfect practicing shoe since you can go from tight to loose when you are ready to take a break and have a little bit more comfortable climb. 

Get The Same Size as Your Normal Shoe

The Defy also doesn’t stretch to meet your foot’s size if you get a shoe that is too small. This is a good thing if you are looking for a perfect fit and are willing to spend the time finding the perfect shoe. It’s bad if you don’t get the exact size you need. So this non-stretch feature of the shoe is good depending on how you look at it.

Usually you have to size down your climbing shoe so it will fit very well. However, since this climbing shoe doesn’t stretch over time, you can just get the exact same size shoe that you would for your normal walking shoe. 

Does the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Have Good Value?

This climbing shoe is great value for money if you are a beginner. You are going to be getting a lot of features along with this shoe. There are a good many of them even though you might pass on this shoe if you are more experienced. But even if you have a lot of experience this is a great practice or gym climbing shoe, so it’s really a great extra pair to have around. 

Cheap Enough to Buy Two

Also, since they are so cheap, you could get away with actually buying two of them. One could possibly be a little oversized just for comfort and more for practice climbing (and working on footwork strength) and the other could be sized down to practice climbing with a rigid shoe. Either way the Evolv Defy is a great value for money. 

You Will Still Have to Upgrade

This versatility is great, but the drawback is that they may only be useful for a short amount of time if you are steadily gaining more and more experience as a climber. Eventually you are going to have to upgrade to your level of climbing, so this brings down the money for value slightly. Also, if you do climb a lot, you may end up putting wear and tear which, along with eventually upgrading, will cost you more money. 

Pros and Cons of the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe


  • Has a great look 
  • Really good value
  • Heel hooking
  • Sensitive 
  • Comfortable


  • Bad at edging
  • Can’t take tough climbs

How does the Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe Compare?

1. Defy VS Acro

The Defy is a great value for money shoe, but it is still one that doesn’t have the best features and it’s a softer shoe, so it’s definitely more for beginners than anybody else. 

If you are looking for a shoe that won’t be too much for your budget to handle, and increase the performance side if you are now more experienced, the Butora Acro will be a good choice for you. 

2. Defy VS Vapor V

Since the Defy has a problem with edging, you’re going to want to find a shoe that has good edging capability. 

The Scarpa Vapor V is a good alternative for trying to get your edging skills up. You may still have to go back and forth for a while since you may not be ready to wear the Scarpa all the time. But having both can give you an easier way of leveling up your climbing game as opposed to diving right into the harder shoe. So even if it takes a longer time to get used to the shoe, you can always give yourself the freedom to go back and forth. 

3. Defy VS Quantum

The Defy is definitely not a wide shoe, so crack climbing might be a little difficult sometimes. It is good at getting into the crack but is not typically wide enough to give a whole lot of support. 

The Five Ten Quantum is a pretty wide climbing shoe so it’s great at crack climbing and great at giving support. If you have a narrower foot the Quantum may not be the best for you.

What’s the Verdict on Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe?

The Evolv Defy is super great for beginner climbers. Since it is such a soft shoe you will be able to wear them all day in the gym or on easy outdoor climbs and not have too many problems. 

Since their fit is really adjustable, you can also start working your way up to getting ready for a tighter fit shoe by tightening up your velcro straps to increase how rigid the shoe is. 

Also, even the negatives of this shoe give you the option to become a better climber. The tow is more tapered for pockets in the rock, but it doesn’t reach that far. This can give you a great intro into this kind of climb and strengthen your skill set. 

And even though this shoe isn’t great at edging, it will give you a great opportunity to increase the muscle strength in your toes and feet so that when you do upgrade to a climbing shoe that is great at edging, you can be even better at that particular skill. 

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