Note: Since we all know we want our climbing gear to stand the test of time The Zine is starting to create updates for the products we review. Our gear reviewers like to climb – as much as possible – and we use and abuse our gear just like you do. If you ever have feedback for us, on how our gear reviews could be better don’t be shy to comment below. (see the end of the review for the update on these shoes)
Of all the shoes in my personal quiver this one is the best all arounder. It’s one I use for long multi-pitch climbs, splitter cracks, sport climbing, and bouldering. Case and point: for two weeks straight I wore these shoes day in and day out in Squamish, from the delicate slabs to edgy boulder problems, and I never felt the need for a different shoe.
These shoes first caught my eye at the Outdoor Retailer show by some clever marketing; Evolv uses the Mexican wrestling Luchador as the icon for the shoe. Combined with the red, white, and blue, that worked on me. Gimmicks aside these are highly worth considering for several reasons. If you’re ordering online though, make sure you get the right size, Evolv has a notoriously odd sizing system, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
This shoe was perfect for all day routes in Squamish, where you need to be able to smear delicately but also jam in small cracks. Though I would typically unstrap the Velcro at belays, they were never in much pain like a lot of shoes with a strap closure. The non-shifting tongue system is super comfortable, and does indeed fit like a sock as they advertise.
For bouldering they work great too, and they are my go-to shoes for most of the bouldering I do. The heel locks in perfectly when they are strapped tight, making the shoe perform well for heel hooks and heel-toe trickery. I think the use in sport climbing is quite similar, a high performing shoe that also is comfortable.
They also work surprisingly well for desert cracks. While I prefer a slipper, like the 5.10 Moccasin, Sportiva Cobra, or the Evolv Cruzer for secure finger cracks, these are my new go-to for a difficult finger crack when the toe doesn’t fit perfectly into the crack. The rigidity in these shoes makes them a good weapon when working the more difficult thin cracks of Indian Creek, or other sandstone crack climbing areas.
The sizing on these shoes is just bizarre. I usually wear a 42.5 or 43 in climbing shoes, which translates to a 10 or 10.5 in U.S. sizing. In these I wear a 45, which is a 11.5 in U.S. Not exactly sure why Evolv does this, but buyer beware if you purchase these shoes without trying them on, I’d recommend getting these shoes at a local distributor instead of off the web.
Bottom line: I’ve been more than pleased, and even a little surprised with the Luchador SC’s. As long as the rubber holds strong, I think these are a solid value. In the day and age when shoes are so specialized the Luchador SC’s could be the only shoes in your pack, and would work for most types of climbing.
Update: My Luchador’s lasted for three and a half months months before the sole on my right shoe blew out. I really put these through the ringer, climbing two weeks straight in them in Squamish, many bouldering and sport climbing sessions, and new routes in Indian Creek with crisp edges. That said for a $139 shoe I would have expected them to last longer than they did.
In the vertical world, quality gear is as important as good weather or the right partner. At the Climbing Zine, we review gear that we put to the test in our personal climbing pursuits, over months of use. If we like it we’ll tell you, and if we don’t we’ll tell you. That’s our policy…If you have gear for us to consider for a review please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle. You can now subscribe to The Climbing Zine as well!