evolv.com | $125 | ★★★
The Evolv Talon G2 is an updated version of the Aggro, a shoe I have worn on many gym and boulder circuits. The heel is now fully covered with rubber and the shoe sports a new lace system.
The lace system can get tangled and is somewhat slow to cinch up, owing to many lace eyelets. However, having laces at all is a welcome improvement to an already great shoe. Also, the tongue is super-padded and very cush, adding a layer of comfort to the top of your foot.
The new, fully rubberized heel is also killer, stiffening the heel, which greatly helps with hooking blunt protrusions, but isn't as effective on sloping holds.
Compared to the Mammut Karma, a shoe of nearly identical shape, the Talon is much stiffer and the toe box is a bit wider. When it comes to steep gymnastic routes outside, I'd grab the Talon for its increased support. On the other hand, flexing your toes upward to toe hook -- easy with the Karma -- is more difficult with the Talon.
FIT: I tested one half-size up from my street shoe, which was just right. For $30 more, you can get this shoe in split sizing.
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