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Evolv Shaman Pro | Climbing Shoe Review

Dynamic precision in a newly conceptualised take on a classic, the Evolv Shaman Pro seizes its family line and thrusts it firmly to the pinnacle of the performance shoe world. Used and no doubt co-designed with Evolv's elite rostrum of top athletes like Daniel Woods and Alex Johnson, the Shaman Pro is the shoe for hard projects and that next level in bouldering difficulty - so it's good, really flipping good, but is it the shoe for you?

Go Pro

Billed as 'an entirely new way of thinking about climbing shoe design', the all-new Shaman Pro certainly marks an innovative shift in the way Evolv design their shoes. Largely centred around the introduction of the new 'EvoWrap' technology, a thin, 1mm rubber midsole come tension system that cradles the arch of your foot, the Pro builds on the DNA of both the Shaman and Phantom lines to produce the most eclectic and well-rounded Evolv model to date. Does this new technology revolutionise climbing shoe design? No, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Designed as a more sensitive, competition focussed alternative to the standard Shaman, the all-new Pro weighs in as the (ever so slightly) softer option of the two with a smaller, softer midsole that supports Evolv's iconic love bump. In practice, the Pro is by no means a 'soft' climbing shoe, like Evolv's popular Zenist model, and ranks as one of the most aggressive and precise front-end performers I've ever worn - a real win for my usual diet of board climbing and local limestone crags.

Softer edging aside, it's actually the added sensitivity of the Pro where I really felt a step up in performance. With the split sole of Evolv's uber sticky Trax SAS rubber and a softer, reduced plastic midsole at the front end of the shoe, the Pro relaxes and flexes into smears on volumes and rock with the assured ease of a sticky sports car tyre. But, it's the front end of the shoe that really flourishes with this added sensitivity and feel, making a huge difference when edging on nuanced, uneven footholds both indoors and especially out on the imperfections of real rock. Underpinned by Evolv's new EvoWrap rubber midsole, the sensitive sensations when edging and smearing feel truly unique. This pliable rubber midsole acts as a tensioning system that effectively supports the underside of the foot without removing any of the shoe's natural flexibility like a plastic midsole would. The resulting experience is subtly superb, striking the perfect balance between supportive power and delicate responsiveness.

Of course, no modern, indoor orientated climbing shoe is complete without decent hooking performance and the Pro has it in abundance. The super (and rather narrow) Dark Spine S heel system features a refined internal midsole with a 2mm outsole to maximise feeling on every hook and it's the same story with the toe patch which comes in thinner than the standard version to real sensitive effect.

Fit & Feel

One of the most radical areas of change on the Pro is the fit. Now armed with an adjustable EvoWrap strap like the Phantom and a unique neoprene sock-style entry, the Pro is a sophisticated new beast for die hard Evolv fans. Both are serious quality of life improvements and play a crucial role, alongside the supportive EvoWrap and Love Bump midsoles, in locking you down for fierce foot placements. Whilst the EvoWrap midsole doesn't remove the need to downsize as advertised, it goes a long way towards eliminating any dead space and roll within the shoe, especially under the arch of the foot.

With a lower volume, skinnier foot, I opted (for the first time in Evolv shoes) for the Low Volume version of the shoe which has been a real game changer. At 1.5 UK sizes down from my street shoe, the Shaman Pro became a weaponised performance machine. For women and skinnier footed guys, the LV version of the Pro has been a revelation and torqued my foot into a wonderfully natural performance position, quite unlike the standard volumed Evolv shoes I've worn in the past. Is it comfy? Absolutely, but like any high performance thoroughbred, the Shaman Pro is best kept to short bursts of power. Some months in and thanks to Evolv's vegan Synthratrek uppers, the Pro feels just as good now as it did fresh out of the box; not to mention how durable the shoe has been with its generous smatterings of protective rubber.

Round Up

Peak performance power wrapped up in a premium package of new technology and features, the Shaman Pro is an impressive development from Evolv. Like a best hits album, the Pro is an awesome amalgamation of Evolv's leading climbing shoe models, combined to create the ultimate all-rounder. However unsuited the Shaman Pro might be to longer sessions or a day of routes, I've never experienced limit power like it. Want to turn your foot into a handsome talon? This one's the shoe for you.

Purchase the Evolv Shaman Pro