Thursday, 2 May 2013

Evolv Shaman LV Review by Jen Wilby

Jen Wilby tests the Evolv Shaman LV, the shoe designed with the same concept of the Shamans but for those with a lower volume foot.

How important is a climbing shoe? How would you feel if you left your shoes at the crag or wall never to see them again? You will feel annoyed, because your climbing shoes are the single most important climbing accessory you have. They are moulded to your feet; you feel comfortable and confident in them, it’s almost like cheating! So choosing a new climbing shoe should not be a quick decision, you will be wearing them for long periods of time, trusting them to stick you to the rock and investing your hard earned money on them. Speaking to fellow climbers, the most important things, are comfort, a good heel and sticky. So what will you get with the Shaman LV?


The Evolv Shaman LV is a low volume shoe based on the same design as the Shaman, and is developed with Chris Sharma with input from Daila Ojeda, Steph Davis, Emily Harrington, Lisa Rands and Ashima Shiraishi. As a huge fan of the Shaman’s and with small feet, my expectations were high for the LV.

In the eight years I have been climbing, I have tried many different shoes. Never being one to go with the newest and most hyped up climbing shoe, as you need more than a shoe to improve your performance, I have mainly gone for shoes that were on sale. When Beyond Hope offered to support me and to become a member of their team I couldn’t believe my luck, especially as the Shaman’s were my shoe of choice. 

Last year I spent 12 months climbing around Europe on numerous different rock types from Granite, Limestone & Sandstone and the Shaman’s never let me down, this is a good start for the LV’s.

Trusting the Shamans on the delicate Grit Stone problem Soft on the G Font 7b

Comfort & Style

The main appeal with the Shaman LV’s is the fit and therefore the comfort of the shoe.  The synthetic and leather combination provides a fantastic fit with the toes “grabbing” the leather pushing the power through your feet and into the toe. The synthetic upper provides added comfort, pulling the shoes on feels good, not painful, yet my feet are snug and ready.  

With a high performance shoe, you don’t expect to be able to walk around in them for long periods of time, yet I can with these and with the triple Velcro design, my foot is pulled into the shoe I can take them on and off easily which is perfect for working problems.  

The key feature I was looking forward to testing was the heel, as I have a very thin heel and struggle getting the right fit whilst still being comfortable around the toe area. I find myself really focussing to keep a heel in. For those with a smaller heel, this is a slim fit so that dead space you find with other shoes will be gone, meaning precise and easier heel hooking.

Slim fitting heel


As with the Shaman’s the LV has a “love bump” which takes the dead space from underneath the toes and gives you something to grab. With this and the “knuckle box” on top means that there is enough room for the big toe and it keeps the feet in position in the shoe. With all these features I find there is no need to cram my feet in to a smaller size shoe, I’m a 6 / 6.5  in the Shaman’s and as these are a women’s size, I am a 5 in the LV’s and they are a snug and comfortable fit.

Toe Hooking

The “knuckle box” also performs well on toe hooks, which I am known for being awful at. The LV’s stayed solid whilst allowing my toe to almost curl around the toe hook hold, which left me feeling very stable.

With all these features I was keen to get them out on the Grit which is my “local” rock of choice, especially as the season here in the UK is turning out to be longer than expected. The LV’s look aggressive, meaning they are meant to perform on overhanging rock, however for those that are familiar with grit stone, its all about precise and delicate foot work on often vertical rock… 


I tried the LV’s on a classic vertical Grit problem which requires subtle body movement on small footholds and they performed well, giving me the ability to stand on the small edges without worrying whether they would “pop”.

The Shaman LV is a technical all rounder, great on the overhanging rock and the vertical. They will give you comfort all day, the 3 Velcro strap design making it easy to put on and off and should last you due to the quality of the construction. No matter what grade you climb, the LV’s will give you a great day on the Grit or Limestone. As with the Shaman’s the LV’s will break in quickly, but make sure you look at your sizing as they are a women’s fit. They suit people with a lower volume foot – finally it has arrived!