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Evolv V6 | Climbing Shoe Review

Practical performance in a progressive package - the Evolv V6 is the latest and, arguably, greatest model in Evolv’s recently released range of shoes. Aimed at the improving climber, the V6 has been designed to plug the gap between the overly basic beginner shoe and the toe-crushingly tight talons you might see on your local gym wad. Too niche or exactly what you’re looking for in your next shoe? Let’s find out.

From the off, the Evolv V6 looks and feels like an incredibly sophisticated shoe. Ok, so it won’t be attending your local wine and cheese night anytime soon, but the V6 feels like it started life as a high-end performance shoe that had some of its more aggressive features tamed to suit a wider range of improving climbers. The beauty of this choice from Evolv is that it gives the V6 plenty of performance potential, introducing advanced features to improving climbers but in a palatable format that won’t inhibit climbing performance or development. From my time with the shoe, the V6 certainly feels capable of climbing a lot harder than its eponymous grade - as proven by Daniel Woods who made an 8B+ (V14) first ascent in them - but, does a wonderful job of climbing far more modest grades with a comfortable confidence.  

V6 and Beyond

So, what about those performance features? Underpinned by a marginally downturned, full-length sole, the V6 is an edging machine with a 1.6mm plastic midsole reinforcing the front of the shoe to stiffen it up for maximum support on even the smallest footholds in my local gym. This isn’t any ordinary midsole though with the front featuring Evolv’s famous ‘Love Bump’, a small raised knuckle in the midsole that sits under the toes to encourage them into a slightly downturned, powerful position. What this gives the V6 (over other full length sole, edging focussed boots) is a semi-aggressive toe profile that allows the shoe to perform just as well on overhanging terrain as they do vertical - perfect if you’re looking to develop your climbing on steeper angles or, for me, climbing on a board and overhanging rock regularly. From warm ups in the gym to a recent 7C (V9) in the Lake District, the V6 has seen its fair share of footholds on my feet and it has tackled them all with aplomb.

Premium edging performance has defined some of the most revered climbing shoes of the last 20 years but in today’s day and age, outdoor focussed, one trick ponies don’t cut the mustard in a rapidly expanding climbing world. Thankfully, the V6 is every bit the modern shoe. A tale of two halves, the full-length sole of the V6 keeps its edging business to the front whilst it feels like a party gets going at the back. As the half-length plastic midsole at the front of the shoe ends, the sole of the V6 softens dramatically allowing the shoe to sensitively smear and hook - a must for any contemporary climbing shoe, sure, but a vital feature for climbing outdoors too. Mix this in with 4.2mm of the finest TRAX rubber and a generous smattering of detailed rubber over the toes and you’ve got a shoe that can do it all. 

Fit & Feel

Like the rest of Evolv’s recently released shoes, the fit and feel of the V6 is right up there with the very best on the market - an area in which Evolv have made huge strides in recent years. Mod-cons like a split tongue for easy foot entry and a robust, adjustable strap make the V6 an incredibly easy shoe to live with. But, without doubt the biggest game-changer in the latest lineup is the fit with a different shape and profile throughout the range. A nice wide toe box is complimented by a slimmer heel (with plenty of capacity to stretch) which should suit a much wider range of climbers. The major positive for me has been the fat trimming Evolv have carried out over the top of the toes, slightly reducing the volume to cut out the dead space I often experienced here in previous Evolv models. 

When it comes to sizing, Evolv are arguably the best out there at calibrating the fit of their shoes to your regular street shoe size. I opted for a 1/2 size downsize in the V6 to maximise the performance of the shoe outdoors and on a board, but I’d recommend mid-grade, improving climbers go for your standard shoe size - this should offer the perfect blend of performance and comfort, especially through longer sessions fine tuning your technique down at your local. Did you say comfort? Absolutely, the V6 is a wonderful place to be, kindly cradling your feet inside its walls of vegan synthetic loveliness. 


Round Up

A shoe for the many, not the few. The V6 is a superb example of the recent strides Evolv have taken with their shoe design, creating a shoe in the V6 that does the impossible - fit, suit and support pretty much everyone. It really is a shoe that can do it all. Sized appropriately, the V6 is so versatile it could be anything from a sturdy, comfortable all day trad shoe right through to a high performing, outdoor bouldering shoe. The only thing you’ve got to decide is, what are you going to use it for?

Purchase the Evolv V6 Here

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