So I’ve just recently moved into the so-called intermediate range of climbing and I seem to have found myself between a rock and a hard place (pun definitely intended), with regards to my next pair of climbing shoes. Enter the Evolv Luchador – I chose the Luchadors because I wasn’t keen on spending almost R3 000 for the Miuras.
I took one look at the Luchador and instantly fell in love. While some might think the flashy red straps and blue Velcro are a bit over the top, I thought, “Why not get a pair of shoes which stand out and turn heads while you’re upside down and flailing on that newly set overhanging 6B+?” The gentle downturn of the shoe also allows for that extra degree of precision when you’re navigating your way through a technical, hip-twisting face climb. For me though, the Luchador’s most attractive quality was the synthetic lining and upper which meant stretch will be kept to a minimum.
So the Luchador have some fantastic superficial qualities, but how do they actually perform whilst climbing? I was so eager to try them out, I was already jumping onto my first boulder problem and the money I paid for them was barely out of my account yet. The Luchador excelled most on Steep, technical problems. The shoes made this style of climbing a breeze, the Trax rubber soles were sticking to everything! The only let down so far, was the rubber on top of the shoe, or lack thereof. I found myself not being able to execute a single successful toe hook. On the other hand, when you’re climbing 6B+ I reckon you won’t be toe hooking anytime soon so I decided to let this one slide. Then I decided to try my favourite style of climbing and got onto some technical slab routes. I found that the sharp, down-turned toe box performed relatively well during those ultra-precise foot placements. After a good hour of bouldering and sport climbing I couldn’t wait to get them off because the Luchador, like any brand new climbing shoe had a hard time getting broken in. But after about 10 to 15 pitches they had moulded to the shape of my foot to the point where I was comfortable with walking around in them; another plus in terms of the synthetic lining.
I was loving my newly bought pair of Evolvs, but still bearing in mind that I was yet to find out how they climb on rock. As any Gauteng based, rock-loving freak would, I decided to christen them on the beautiful red sandstone that is Waterval Boven. The trademark Boven slot edges were no trouble for the Luchador SC’s and after a couple warm up pitches they were sticking to just about everything. That was until I found myself at a just out of reach foot hold which required some degree of smearing to access due to my lack of flexibility. The Luchador let me down by not being able to easily perform a staple technique in any climber’s arsenal. From then on I had trouble trusting my feet on any sort of rounded foot hold, especially those that I had to trust fully. The down-turned toe made it relatively difficult to smear simply because I just wasn’t able to put enough rubber on the rock. Two months later, the rubber has softened substantially; which means that smearing is marginally easier to execute.
Rating out of 10: