The Astroman has a lot of features. Let’s start with the tongue.
The tongue is split down the center, functionally creating two tongues rather than one. This eliminates any possibility of the tongue sliding down to one side over the course of a climb. The tongue is also padded with microfleece on the inside, creating a very comfy cushion at the top of the foot.
The laces come up very high on this shoe. As mentioned in Dave’s review of the Astroman, this seems a little unnecessary, but unlike Dave, I can thread the upper eyelets pretty easily because of my baby-sized feet. I also like that the upper eyelets are metal, rather than simply holes punched into the leather. I think this prevents wear in a high-use area.
I did find that it was a little uncomfortable to have the Astroman tightly laced all the way to the top. To alleviate this, I had to keep the laces loose when laced to the top, which is counterproductive to creating a snug, functional fit.
The Astroman has a small amount of additional padding on either side of the heel bone. To be honest, I haven’t noticed any particular benefits from this feature while climbing, although I think it could give you some added protection for your feet. I find that simply wearing a high-top shoe is sufficient ankle protection.
Evolv also added a small, purple heel pad at the back of the shoe to increase comfort and ankle protection during foot jams. Although I think this is a great idea in theory, in practice, I found that the additional seam here dug into my heel a bit. Rather than increase comfort, I found this feature annoying and at times slightly painful.
Finally, Evolv did a great job with the laces on the Astroman. The wide orange laces on this shoe are hefty enough to hold knots easily without coming undone during climbs. They’re also wide enough that they don’t bite into my fingers while I’m cinching them down.
A lot of thought went into the Astroman, and it has many features clearly designed for trad and crack climbing. While I think these features are brilliant in theory, it seems that a few could use some refinement. I also found that this shoe isn’t a great fit for my foot—the overly stiff sole made it difficult to edge and smear.
That said, I think climbers with wide feet very well might not experience these problems. (For evidence of that, check out Dave’s Astroman review.) The Astroman costs nearly $40 less than the TC Pro, and its wide toe box caters to those with bigger feet who don’t like the classic La Sportiva fit. But for someone with very small, narrow feet like me, I think the La Sportiva TC Pro might be a better option.