Alyssa Young recently transplanted from California to Arizona, where she busy getting acquainted with the deserts, mountains, rivers and canyons of the Southwest. Whether skiing, climbing, backpacking, ranching, or just generally wandering, Alyssa seeks to find and define sense a of place where ever she goes. She is currently embarking on a season of exploration in and around the Grand Canyon.
If you’re like me, you know that finding a solid, women’s specific, all-around climbing shoe is a daunting task. When I invest in a pair of shoes I look for something that I can grab for most days of climbing, whether I’m bouldering on granite, gym climbing on plastic, or heading out for a long day of multi-pitch. I like a shoe that works the majority of the time so when I reach for more aggressive shoes, it really counts. I was really excited when I got to test the Kira, Evolv’s newest all-around workhorse.
The Evolv Kira is a comfortable, durable, and attractive moderate women’s climbing shoe that performs well across the board. Featuring Evolv’s new last design, a customizable velcro closure, and TRAX high-friction soles, it’s one of Evolv’s best shoes yet. And, as a bonus, it’s made of vegan materials and has an appealing color scheme.
Whether you climb in the gym or outside, the Kira is a solid all-around shoe that won’t let you down. It’s a good intermediate shoe (in price and performance) that’s a step up from an absolute all-around, like the Evolv Elektra, but is far less aggressive than the Evolv Shaman. It provides the durability, comfort, and ease of a neutral shoe and the slight camber and close fit of a more performance-oriented shoe. Whether you’re buying your first climbing shoe or adding to the quiver, the Kira is a worthwhile buy.
To test the Kira I put it to work on a myriad of rock types, from slimy coastal boulders to the fine-grained grey granite of the Sierra, to the polished basalt cracks of the Southwest. And, to round things out, did a bit of climbing on plastic.
The Kira performs well on most rock and especially great on slab, plastic, and in cracks. The flat shape of the Kira slots into cracks well, and the stiffer sole and padded tongue make it a comfortable shoe for long days of crack climbing. The Kira excels at smearing on slabby climbs and the rubber on the toe is good for toe hooking. It has a shallow heel-cup so doesn’t feel very solid heel hooking, but the shoe feels secure otherwise.
The shoe is just barely asymmetrical, and only slightly cambered, so it’s not great for edging on tiny features but it works on most climbs. The Kira isn’t designed for sustained steep, overhung, and delicate balancy climbing, so don’t expect it to excel in this area. Because of the low-camber it doesn’t offer the leverage needed on powerful climbs, but it’s a great day-to-day shoe for in the gym or out.
The Evolv Kira is a flat-lasted shoe with a slight camber, making it just a bit more technical than Evolv staples such the Elektra or Nikita. Evolv lists it as a technical all-around shoe, but I found that it is more of an overachieving all-around shoe that’s great for beginners, long moderate climbs, and days when comfort it the priority. It has a slightly downturned, asymmetrical, and ergonomically designed fit that’s a reminder that you don’t always need to sacrifice comfort for performance.
The Kira broke my lace-up shoe bias. It has one cinch-pull velcro strap, which provides a close and secure fit, and one straight-across velcro strap that locks your toes in place. Over all I love the Kira’s velcro closure for its ease, customizable feel, and streamlined design and will have second thoughts about returning to laces on all-around climbing shoes.
The Evolv Kira is an unlined synthetic shoe with a TRAX high-friction rubber outsole. The Sythrateck VX synthetic upper takes less time to break in then a leather climbing shoe, and stretches less over time, so correct initial sizing is important. I have found that Evolv synthetic shoes last longer than most other synthetic shoes on the market, making them a good choice if you’re looking for a durable, vegan alternative to leather.
The Kira doesn’t breath especially well but the material is very effective at wicking sweat and keeping your feet comfortable on long, hot climbs. Evolv’s synthetic shoes do tend to stink more after extensive use than most other shoes, so be diligent about keeping them dry and clean if you want to keep your climbing partners and roommates.
The sole is high-friction TRAX rubber with a variable thickness, meaning it’s thicker in areas that wear more quickly (like the toe). This makes for a slightly less responsive feel, but a longer lifespan, and is a great feature for all-around shoes.
Sizing & Fit
The Kira runs extremely small, but with careful shopping this can easily be mitigated. Plan on sizing up 2 full sizes from what you normally wear. I wear a US WM 7.5 street shoe, and for a mellow all-around climbing shoe usually wear a US WM 7. For the Kira I sized up to a WM 9 (EUR 40) and it still has a snug fit even after extensive use.
The Kira is has a neutral fit, and can accommodate a narrow foot without feeling baggy but also works well for slightly wider feet. The velcro closure and flat last contributes to the Kira’s forgiving fit and make it a shoe that will work for most foot shapes.
Shop the Evolv Kira on Outdoor Prolink