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Climbing Shoes

Evolv Agro

Another shoe from Evolv that they should be proud of.

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MSRP: $165

BEST FOR: Hard bouldering and steep sport climbing

The Evolv Agro is a soft, performance-oriented shoe best for hard bouldering or your sport project, indoor and outdoor included. I’ve had a pair for over six months and worn them everywhere inside and out, and the bottom line is that it’s a quality shoe at a good price point.

Evolv touts the Agro as “the ultimate high end bouldering shoe.” As far as their line-up is concerned, that’s correct, except it’s a high-end all arounder. You’d want it tight for pockets and a normal fit for featured sport routes (such as Rifle), where you are not always on your toes. 

The lavish amount of rubber on the top of the shoe ensures you have no excuse for botching the toe-hook beta. In fact, I’m not sure a shoe can have more toe rubber than the Agro. Their marketing material states that it has “unparalleled toe hook capability,” which isn’t misleading. Truth in advertising always makes me happy.

As for fit, the Agro started off rather painful, which is always how I initially fit my performance shoes, but then stretched to a comfort level where I could wear them for 10 minutes at a time. Point being—if you’re a 9 in Evolv, my hunch is to go 8.5. Going tighter will allow your front toe to be more aggressive when the angle kicks back. If the shoe is even a tiny bit too big, you lose the ability to use jibs on the steep, and that defeats the purpose of this shoe. I’m an 8.5 in street shoes, and that’s what I am in the Agro, but again, I’m a 9 in other Evolv shoes, such as the Shaman or Oracle. On a scale of 1-10, the Agro’s downturn clocks in around 7, which means it’s on the upper end of downturned shoes, but not extreme.

Getting your foot into the shoe is as it should be—there is a a wide opening replete with cushy material, and a single velcro tab cinches the shoe down just fine. Inside, the shoe sports a comfy microfiber. The “lacing” system applies tension to the center of your foot, sucking up any empty volume you might have.

Constructing a good heel-cup on a shoe is one of the hardest things to do. I’ve worn entire shoe lines from big-name brands that have gotten the heel-cup wrong, and the shoes will never be popular at the high-end because of it. The Agro’s tensioned heel rand does keep it locked in place and it does feel snug, without the feeling your heel is going to slide out on a hard heel hook. There is just a tad space in the heel, left and right just above the ball of your heel, but I can’t say it affected performance or hard heel-hooks.

The apex of the front of the shoe (where the tip of your front toe settles) is inset about an inch when you lay the shoe on its side. This is a touch less than average for comparable high-enders, with the overall affect of being able to drill down on tiny foot holds and have your big toe come over the rubber ever so slightly.  

After all the wear, I don’t have any unnecessary hot spots or wear patterns. The shoe retails for $165, which is average or just a tad lower than shoes competing in the high-end performance market. Overall, another shoe from Evolv that they should be proud of.

Francis Sanzaro

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