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Approach Shoes

Evolv Cruzer Psyche

The Cruzer is either suffering from an identity crisis or is the perfect combo of hike-ability, climbing and class—maybe a bit of both.

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The Evolv Cruzer Psyche is betwixt. It’s built on a trail-running shoe last, but has a sticky rubber sole. The inside is lined with plush microfiber and has a memory foam insole, but the outer is cased in tough canvas and a rubber toe guard. The approach shoe is built for the outdoors, but looks classy enough for the bar. So the Cruzer is either suffering from an identity crisis or is the perfect combo of hike-ability, climbing and class—maybe a bit of both.

At 0.9 pounds for a pair, the Cruzer is the lightest approach shoe in this series, yet it doesn’t have a minimalist feel. The 100-percent cotton canvas upper is burly, keeps out even the finest of grit, and holds up to abrasion and abuse. I’ve beaten the hell out of these shoes over the last year, and they only look gently used. The downside, however, is that they don’t breathe well or dry out quickly. I wore them in a rainstorm one day, and while they performed admirably on wet rock and scree, they took a full day in the Colorado sun to dry.

As for the business zone of the shoe, the Cruzers have Evolv’s own TRAX sticky rubber—a light tread with a flat climbing zone under the toe. They
hike like a trail-running shoe, and when the approach gets steep, they’re excellent for scrambling, rock hopping and easy fifth class.

For technical climbing, they edge and smear so well that I’ll wear them to warm up on easy boulder problems and sport routes to save the effort—and pain—of changing into climbing shoes. The heel of the shoe also collapses and the soft lining is kind to bare feet, so they’re easy to slide on and off between climbs. For multi-pitch routes, the Cruzer makes an ideal descent shoe. You’ll hardly notice the weight in a pack or racked on your harness by the heel loops. They’ll get you down wandering rappel routes or walk-offs in comfort.

Evolv markets these shoes as “performance lifestyle,” and while I’ve sneered at that term before (performance or else!), I have to agree here. For the hardworking climber, these are the only shoes you’ll need—wear ’em from the office to an after-work session at the crag or gym and then to the bar.

——Hayden Carpenter

PROS: Tough, light and classy. Women’s version available.

CONS: Not very breathable and do not dry quickly.

BEST FOR: All day wear plus bar chic.