I was given a pair of Evolv Geshido rock boots back in May, with the usual remit of testing them in a variety of climbing scenarios and reporting back on their pros and cons. The astute reader will have noticed that it’s now October, and October is a long time since May! Why, then, has it taken me so long to put pen to paper? Well, a couple of weeks after the parcel arrived I headed up to Northumberland for (what was meant to be) a long weekend of trad climbing on the sandstone outcrops. I managed to put the Geshidos through their paces for nearly a full day, but on the last route before pub time I fell, hit the ground and broke my ankle! Damn. Obviously, my first thoughts were of the guilt of not being able to keep my side of the review bargain*. Then the extreme difficulty of undertaking mundane tasks took my attention for a while (try carrying a cup of tea while on crutches!). After that, I got stuck right into feeling sorry for myself and pissed off that I couldn’t go climbing for months. Anyway, the good news is that I am now, tentatively, back in action. Since the bone has healed I’ve recently been strengthening my ankle by a mix of running and gentle climbing. The Geshidos have been the shoe I’ve grabbed for various reasons, so I now feel qualified to offer some thoughts...
Construction and shape
The Geshido is a stiffer shoe than many of the other Evolv models, and it has a fairly asymmetric toe profile which makes it good for pockets and edging. Thanks to what Evolv call a “love bump” feature the toe area is also quite tight fitting – or “low volume” in shoe speak, and this makes the Geshido feel very precise on the harder and more technical climbs. The love bump is essentially a lumpy bit that fills the dead space in the sole under your toes. This adds to the slightly down turned feel and sharpens up the toe area – I liked it, although some might find it takes some getting used to. The slight downturn of the toe, coupled with a fairly stiff midsole, makes this shoe pretty versatile and suited to all angles from vertical to very overhanging. The toe flattens out nicely so they are also a good choice for steeper slab climbs. Like all the Evolv shoes I’ve come across, these are very well made and – even more so than some of the softer models, they feel very sturdy and built to last. In a break from their usual synthetic-only construction, Evolv have used leather in the Geshido. I’m not sure what vegans will make of this, but for me this adds to the well made and durable feel of the shoe. As I’ve said before, the Trax rubber Evolv use gives a nice mix of sticky-ness and durability, and the compound holds its shape well on small edges and crystals. The lacing is also very well thought out, and the laces are shielded from wear nicely by the enclosed loop system, in a way that is similar to that of the lace up La Sportiva Miura. This will prevent the laces from shredding so easily, which is often a problem for performance lace up’s.
I found the overall fit of the Geshido to be slightly unorthodox. I really liked the toe profile, and as the shoe has softened after the initial breaking in period it has felt very snug around my forefoot. The leather upper is a major advantage as it softens/stretches to the shape of the foot, making the shoe more comfortable in the long run. I would recommend sizing down from street shoe size by between a half and a whole size. The heel, on the other hand, didn’t make such a good impression for me. Although other Evolv models I’ve tried have all had particularly well fitting heels, I found the heel on the Geshido to be its weakness. Having said that, as my bad ankle is still swollen the extra space around the heel has been very welcome lately – how’s that for making the most of a bad situation?! As with all fit issues, others may find the fit around the heel to be quite different, and as the shoe would appeal strongly to the trad climbing market I imagine, for many, the less aggressive heel might be a benefit.
I think the Geshido makes a pretty good all round shoe for intermediate to advanced climbers. It will appeal more to those who prefer a stiffer shoe, but the precision toe profile will endear the Geshido to those setting their sights on the harder trad and sport routes. Personally, I think Evolv make better shoes for people who do a lot of bouldering – the likes of the Talon or the Prime would trump the Geshido if I was heading out on a bouldering trip. For me, the heel is the main weakness of the shoe. Nevertheless, as I get back to climbing as much as normal I expect these will become a staple part of my trad kit. Their stability and edging capabilities would be especially suited to somewhere like Pembroke or the Lakes, for example. *not really.