As a new climber, I was looking for an all around women’s rock shoe that would help me improve my footwork and confidence on the rock. Mike, my buddy over at Evolv, recommended I try out their all-time-best-selling Elektra, a fairly flat bottom profiled shoe with a narrow fit. I wanted something that would transition from gym to rock seamlessly, and wasn’t so aggressive that I ended up throwing my shoes into the sun after topping out. Other requirement? Some rad-looking ladies shoes that didn’t look like unicorns threw up all over them. I know it’s silly, but what can I say? I want stylin’ gear!
The Elektras totally fit the bill. Comfort, performance, and my favorite colors to boot. Nice job, Evolv.
Fit & Comfort
The fit of the Elektra was initially very snug, and I found myself with the urge to kick them off as soon as I topped out each sport route during my first outing with my new kicks. Evolv sizes their rock shoes based on street sizes, and generally I am anywhere between an 8.5 and 9. I chose to order an 8.5 after chatting with some of our Evolv-loving pros here at Outdoor Prolink, wanting to make sure I had a snug enough fit to ensure performance without fully sacrificing comfort. When the Elektras first arrived, they felt comfortable yet snug. Things changed once I got on rock for my first full day and noticed the fit was perhaps a little too snug.
Lucky for me, by my second and third days out in the Elektras, they gently stretched enough to increase comfort markedly without losing the power position in my toes caused by the contoured upper. Crisis averted! I definitely recommend trying on a few different pairs from Evolv before you pull the trigger if you are a first time Evolv customer.
The overlapping fabric flaps just beneath the Velco straps are super plushy and soft, so I was able to crank all the way down on the straps without pinching or chaffing on the top of my feet. I really love the double Velco strap closure system; it was very easy to slip them on and off, or even slip a heel out for a little relief in between pitches. I don’t think I can ever go back to rock shoes with laces after trying out the Elektras!
After long multi-pitch routes, I was happy to find that my feet were relatively dry, and the shoes have yet to get that funky odor. The anti-microbial mesh is very comfortable and lightweight, an essential when you are baking on the sunny side of Boulder Canyon all day.
The heel of the Elektras hits pretty low on my ankle, so heel hooks from time to time would leave me with some chaffing and scrapes. Before the shoes stretched out a little, jamming my toes into cracks was pretty uncomfortable, but as they stretched out I had no trouble getting all up in there… so to speak.
With only a year of climbing under my belt, my climbing partner (and Outdoor Prolink social media ninja, Jess) repeatedly reminds me to trust my feet when struggling on a route. Smearing, in particular, is a scary concept when you don’t have the experience to know that your rock shoes will support you when it feels like there is nothing substantial under your feet. Climbing in the Elektras has improved my footwork substantially, especially on smeary routes that challenged me in the past. High friction rubber kept me gripped, even when our climbing outing at Eldorado Canyon with the C.A.M.P. crew turned rainy and slick on us.
The toe rands (or the caps on the toe-tips of the shoes) have rubber of varying thickness, increasing durability on the front of the big toe in particular. Despite the Elektra’s hardiness, the half-length midsoles maintain sensitivity and flexibility for edging, technical moves and smearing.
The Final Word
I am very stoked on my new Elektras and would definitely recommend them to any lady – from noobs like me to seasoned climbers – who are looking for comfortable, high performance rock shoes they can climb in anytime. Thanks Evolv!
Kenzie Rodriguez is the Head of Marketing at Outdoor Prolink. She is an avid backcountry and freeskiier, mountain biker, hiker, yogini and a budding climber.