evolv.com | $89 | ★★★★
Superlight and highly flexible, yet with a relaxed, flat last, the Evolv Defy is a steep-rock sport and gym shoe for climbers who loathe the acute foot compression associated with down-turned, banana-shaped performance shoes. That said, the Defy, because it is soft and lets your foot lie flat, requires more foot strength than stiffer-soled shoes and softer models that compress your toes. For most people, the stock model we tested is too soft for climbs where you heavily weight your feet, e.g., slabby to slightly overhanging faces. However, the Defy did shine on severe overhangs, where foot pressure is lighter. For $20 you can custom order the Defy with a stiffer midsole. We didn’t test the stiffer version, but like the idea, thinking a stiffer Defy would be a more versatile Defy. evolvclimbing.com
BETA: Steep-rock sport shoe that requires strong feet. With stiffer sole (available as option), could be good for lower-angle and longer routes.