Sizes: 4–13.5 U.S. men’s (including half sizes)
Profile: Asymmetric down-cambered
Upper: Leather forefoot and synthetic heel
Lining: Microfiber forefoot, leather footbed, cotton heel
Midsole: MX-P: 1mm half-length concave midsole
Sole: 4.2mm TRAX® high friction rubber
Rand: VTR rand (thicker front toe area)
Weight: 9.5 oz (half pair, size 9 men’s)
My Foot: Average shape, medium arch, but small
Street Shoe Size: 5-5.5
Size Tested: 5.5
Time Tested: About a month
Test Locations: Indoor gyms
There are a million different sport climbing shoes out there, and every one of them claims to be the best for vertical to overhanging climbing. They all have the classic, down-turned toe and narrow profile that we’ve come to expect. They frequently involve lace-up closures, and more often than not, are incredibly painful to break in.
Evolv markets the Geshido as an all-around shoe, but when I’m holding them in my hand, they seem like a stereotypical sport climbing shoe, and that was my first assumption. But I was surprised to find that the Geshido is, in fact, surprisingly comfortable and easy to break in. And it still performs as well as a moderately aggressive shoe.
I have not taken these bright green shoes outside yet, because I am a wimp when it comes to cold fingers, and also a biology student who is always stuck in lab. So for now, my experience with the Geshido has been indoors (where I’ve been happily surprised by their performance), and I will be writing an update this spring once I have sufficient time with them outside.
(Note: a link to Hannah’s update can now be found at the end of this review.)
Since I started trad climbing, I have increasingly become an old fart when it comes to shoe comfort, and this has created at times some impossible expectations. I expect my shoes to be comfortable yet stick perfectly to whatever I throw at them. So I was a little hesitant when I first pulled the fairly aggressive-looking Geshidos on my feet.
Aside from the normal down-turn, Evolv has incorporated their “low-profile love bump” into these shoes, something that I hadn’t climbed in before. Evolv claims that the love bump fills in the extra space below your curled-up toes and thereby increases edging power. Although the love bump looks really pronounced up close, when I slipped my feet into these shoes, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable the love bump actually was. It felt like the bottom of the shoe was form-fitting to my feet.
At the same time, however, the toe area (the very edges of the shoe) felt a bit bulky. This is most likely because the Geshido has thick 4.2mm TRAX rubber and employ Evolv’s VTR 3D (Variable Thickness Rand) system. Whereas other similar shoes like the La Sportiva Katana decrease the thickness of rubber at the very point of the toe to provide greater sensitivity, Evolv keeps the rand thicker in the “high wear” area around the toes to increase durability. So while the toe felt a bit bulky, it may just have felt this way in comparison to the thinner areas of the shoe.
Although this bulkiness made me unsure of my feet initially, I found that the Geshido actually does a remarkable job of sticking to very tiny holds. I can’t say for certain how much the love bump actually increased edging power, but the Geshido could hang on even the most miserable glassy foot chips in the gym.
As far as sizing goes, I probably could have squeezed my feet into a shoe a half size smaller. However, I would be thoroughly surprised if this would increase performance at any notable level, except perhaps for increasing heel-hooking power (more on that below).
When compared to other shoes, I think that the Geshido is fairly true to size. They seem perhaps a bit larger than La Sportiva (I think a size 5 pair of Katanas would be about exactly the size of these 5.5 Geshidos). And likewise, my size 5.5 Five Ten Anazazi LV is a little tighter than the Geshido, but not quite a half size.
The most notable difference in sizing, however, is that unlike the Katana and to some degree the Anasazi LV, the Geshido is much more comfortable right out of the box.