By Julie Schoenfeld, a freelance designer and digital marketing expert, and former professional climbing instructor. Julie has spent the last year working as Director of Digital Development of Rock and Ice magazine, while spending her free time sampling the steep limestone of Rifle Canyon Mountain Park.
The Evolv Luchador is the latest addition to Evolv’s Chris Sharma designed line, the Sharma Series. The lace-up shoe (also available in a velcro-strap closure model called Luchador SC) has a slightly cambered last, and a semi-asymmetrical toe profile. The shoe includes a non-shifting tongue similar to the style employed in the La Sportiva Muira VS and Solution, and made with a breathable material. The shoe’s uppers are made from Synthratec, a synthetic material, combined with a leather footbed. A thin microfiber lining covers the interior of the uppers giving the shoe a soft feel on your skin, but leaving the leather footbed exposed for performance and also a bit of odor control.
When the snow receded I was able to get out for some enjoyable pitches of vertical to gently overhanging limestone in the Luchadors – ideal terrain for these technically oriented all-arounders. I usually dread breaking in new shoes, but the Luchador was comfortable and accurate right out of the box – no painful hotspots or overly cramped toes. Overall the fit was snug and secure and I was able eliminate any dead space with the laces. The heel cup was on the narrow side, so climbers with bulbous heels might feel pinched in the space.
The sizing of the Luchador is rather aggressive, so if you’re not familiar with Evolv (this was my first pair), consult their sizing chart and resist the urge to downsize from your street shoes unless you like a tortuously tight fit. I wear a women’s size 8.5 street shoe which translated to a snug performance fit in a men’s size 7. By contrast, I wear a men’s size 4.5 in most La Sportiva shoes. If you have the opportunity, try on a pair before you buy them.
Climbing in the Luchador is a real treat. They edge extremely well, blending precision and a powerful platform with enough sensitivity and flex in the midsole to maintain good feel for the rock. The slightly cambered and asymmetric last make the Luchador very versatile and good for anything except extremely steep terrain, where a more severe downturn would be better. They are ideal for technical sport climbing and bouldering, and could be comfortable for longer multi-pitch routes too.
As for durability, it’s still too soon for me to make a comment about the Luchador. With 4.2 mm of TRAX rubber to burn through, I don’t foresee any problems wearing through the Luchador’s edges prematurely. The shoe is well-built and has a quality feel, but considering it’s still early spring, I haven’t had enough days in the Luchador to confidently speak to its longevity.
Overall I think the Luchador is a very strong entry into the high-end all-around category, offering a versatile shoe that is easy on your feet without sacrificing performance. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a shoe that will perform well on varied terrain and, thanks to the lace-up closure, fit a wide range of feet.
-Minimal break-in period
-Excellent edging precision and power
-Secure, customizable fit
-Versatile shape will work well on many angles and rock types
Overall: A great-fitting, high performance shoe ideal for vertical to moderately overhanging sport climbing, bouldering and multi-pitch routes.