There are three things one must consider when purchasing a rock climbing shoe – fit, performance and rubber. For this review of the Prime SC (strap closure) shoe and the Rasta Shaman shoe, let’s start with the rubber. Evolv says it’s the only manufacturer that uses “environmentally friendly” rubber on its rock climbing shoes. The company decomposes selective pre- and post-consumer rubber waste and then reprocesses it to make a useable compound. Currently, 30% of the eco-TRAX compound used on select parts of their outsoles is recycled material. That’s not a lot, granted, but at least they’re trying. Does this “green” rubber actually work though? Like the glue on skins, rock climbing shoe rubber must perform in a variety of different conditions and temperatures. For this review, I took the Primes and the Rastas to a shaded bouldering spot, a few hot crags in the direct sunlight and the Primes came with me on a chilly, early morning alpine session on a north-facing route in the Valhalla mountain range. I can definitely say that the Trax rubber lives up to its “high friction” reputation. It felt solid on micro-edges as well as stuffed into cracks. The one downfall would be that, because both shoes are covered in black rubber, on the hot days my feet practically cooked in them. These are not the shoes you want for a sunny day in J-Tree in July.
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