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Reviews for Defy Climbing Shoe - Mens popular Average Rating = 3.94/5 Average Rating : 3.94 out of 5

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Alien toe burst problem 2 out of 5 stars

Review by: warrenw, 2010-01-27


My climbing experience: 3yrs outside. 4yrs gym. Lead 5.11 sport. Boulder V3. Learning trad...

My shoe experience: Owned 7 pairs of climbing shoes. Evolv Defy being my 3rd and 5th pairs.

Evolv has discontinued this older model and replaced it with the Defy-VTR. My review is for the older version, which is still widely available as of this post. Perhaps this could help you evaluate the newer version as well.

I keep a small quiver of climbing shoes for different applications. It would be a large quiver if I had more cash, but alas I do not. Hence my bothering with the Defy twice. I bought the Defy as a gym workhorse, meaning: cheap, durable, velcro, and Iím less concerned with performance. Iíve used them outside a few times as backups, but they stayed mostly in the gym.

DURABILITY: Bad. After reading on the forums that Evolv puts out reasonably durable shoes, I was hopeful about the Defy, but ultimately disappointed. My first pair was 1.5 sizes down from running shoe. I like my shoes tight, by which I mean: when new I cannot wear them for more than one climb in a row, and when broken in I cannot wear them for more than three climbs in a row. That pair lasted roughly 20 gym sessions, after which my toe actually pushed through the toe box from the inside! The rubber was still thick there, but split. I have seen this happen with zero other shoes ever, and yes, I clip my toenails and they are not crazy werewolf toes. Mine are actually quite pretty as male toes go. Thank you. I bought a second pair because the Defy was still the cheapest thing at my local shop and I thought loosening up a bit could prevent the alien toe burst problem. This pair was only 1 size down from running shoe. These lasted closer to 60 gym sessions, failing by the more standard toe wear-through. I do not consider 60 sessions good. It is only about 5 months for me, and Iíve had other shoes perform much better. In addition, they were just too loose after breaking in. I am guessing Evolv is now aware of this problem, because they have upgraded the Defy to the Defy-VTR, which has extra rubber on the toe.

SMELL: Embarrassingly horrible. If you check forums, youíll see quite a few complaints about Evolv shoes stinking more than usual. This is true about the Defy, and the problem seems to be traceable to the nylon lining (which is absent in most Evolv shoes, so perhaps the Evolv stink problem is not universal). While the lining makes the shoe more comfy, it seems to turn the Defy into a regular bacteria-fortified petri dish. Partly due to my beautiful man-toes, but more due to my religious dryer sheet stuffing regimen, my shoes never stink. Oh, except for my Defies. Yuck! I hear machine-washing can help (mesh bagíem if you do, otherwise scuff marks all over the washer), but who does that? Oh, not me. The lining appears unchanged for the new Defy-VTR.

PERFORMANCE: Good but ephemeral. I was surprised how well the Defy performed, considering the low price point. But it didnít last. Both my pairs were great until they either busted or broke in too loose in very short order. Up until then, they worked great as a multi-purpose shoe. Smeared fine. Edged fine. Not enough camber or flexibility for aggressive sport or bouldering. But better than average performance for a cheap shoe, while it lasts, which isn't long.

COMFORT: Great. That nylon lining really makes the Defy comfortable. I didnít notice any particular loss in performance due to the cushy inner. It seems to crush down when pressing into micro-edges, enough that sensitivity is still there. If you are particularly concerned about shoe comfort, you might look into this feature. But then, why are you rock climbing?

STRETCH: The Defy is synthetic, so it doesnít stretch much. My experience was typical of other synthetics: about a single size change with complete breaking in. But thatís only if you start pretty dang tight. I doubt theyíll stretch more than half a size if you start them at non-foot-crushing level.

BOTTOM LINE: Mediocre. I cannot recommend buying the older version of the Defy. The toe box is just not durable enough. I like Evolv shoes. This is nothing against the brand in general, just against this older model. It looks like the primary problem should be solved for the new Defy-VTR, though I have no experience with it. Also, both new and old versions can be expected to have the stink-amplification problem. So if you donít mind constantly stinking or washing shoes, and you want a comfy gym/beginner shoe, you might skip the old Defy and try the Defy-VTR... Maybe?

These are great 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: Administraitor, 2008-01-15


These were my first pair of climbing shoes, and were an excellent and comfortable fit for my feet - I did not size them for performance, which I did with my second pair. Easy to get on and once the velcro was secured properly, never once popped off.

I climb an average of 2-3 times a week in the gym. I'm quite careful about footwork, but I've recently worn a hole through the rand of the right side (from attempting a particular boulder problem over and over again I suppose, and the walls in my gym are have a pretty abrasive finish). Otherwise the rest of the shoe is holding up great.

I would buy these all over again.

Great for the price 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: banjolele, 2010-03-02


My first shoes and they were definitely the right ones to learn in for cost effectiveness. They wore quickly, but that is to be expected from a neophyte with bad footwork.

They smell terrible after a few sessions, but that can be minimized by always air drying after a session, spraying lysol once a day, and the occasional lysol/febreeze combo.

The length didn't stretch, but the width did more than I would have expected it to. This wasn't so much of a problem with the velcro closure.

The heel feels a bit roomy, but that I'll chalk up to odd sized feet.

The rubber is decent and fairly sticky, but there were a few times chimneying and smearing that I could tell the difference between a friends LS Miura's and my Defy's.

Bottom Line: A great priced beginner shoe, but the never ending stink makes a resole look doubtful. If you're doubtful about your resolve to become a climber, the price can't be beat. If you're absolutely certain you won't give up (or are already an experience climber), and the cost of a better shoe isn't prohibitive, buy the better shoe.

blow out quickly 3 out of 5 stars

Review by: sailskisurf, 2009-03-12


I went through two pairs of these in a summer up at tahoe, now the sharp granite is tough on shoes I understand, but jeez.

The Defy 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: MichaelCohen, 2009-03-17


I owned a pair of Defys for a while before a hole was made in the front from intense climbing. I upgraded to the pontas. If you're a beginner, get these. They are amazing for the money. Very comfy! However, if you are an experienced climber, spring for the Pontas or Anasazi Velcro. Both those shoes are just the Defy but with better edging, more downturn, and more control in general.

Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: taino, 2005-02-24


The two most important things for a climbing shoe to have are: good fit, and good rubber.
The Defy has both.I used to swear by 5.10 C4 Stealth rubber; it was the best rubber I'd ever used on my shoes. Then I tried the TRAXX rubber and - frankly - I don't like to use the Stealth any more unless I'm resoling my TRAXX. The Evolv rubber is easily as sticky as the C4, and seems to edge better. I was warned that the Evolv shoe might wear out faster, but I've yet to notice any appreciable wear; someone with less-than-average footwork skills might find that different, however, because the TRAXX is indeed softer than the C4.Now, about the fit...I have two different-sized feet, and it was always a nightmare to find climbing shoes that both my feet could tolerate. Enter Evolv, with their policy of setting different sizes at need: this allowed me to fit both my feet perfectly, with no dead space in the heel of one foot and cramped toes on the other. Their velcro wraps further around the foot, it seems, than the Ascents I've been using and, thanks to the way the tongue sits, there's no bunching or pinching. The shoes were remarkably comfortable right out of the box, and are proving to be just as comfortable now. They haven't stretched beyond forming to my feet - not even a little; that's something that not even my Ascents (synthetic, lined shoe) could achieve.In summary, the Defy shoes are - so far - the best shoes I've used. They're easily the most comfortable for all-around use, and the rubber is first rate. I recommend them without reservation.

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: bad_lil_kitty, 2005-03-03


Now I know that a few of you good folks are still awaiting my update re: JetBoil; admittedly, plans for the Winter have changed more often then Prince's persona. However, I will make good and update soon!


I decided to purchase a pair of Evolv:Defy for reasons: 1) my gym was running a promo for its members; these shoes particuarly were approx 1/2 the orginal cost, 2) I needed new all-around shoes as my MadRock: Flash were starting to wear (after 6 months of indoor/outdoor use, 3)I was able to demo a pair and really liked them, and 4)From a recommendation by a fellow 'family' member that I climb w/ regularly.


Now on to Evolv: Defy, or what I would esteem as the Isotoner (tm) of climbing shoes. Evolv brings a soft insole and uppersole slipper shoe ala velcro. The botton offers a rubber sole that is not only geared for extended day wear; but also good for edging and smearing. New to reviews, I checked out the
Evolv:Defy
and learned that the upper-portion is vegan friendly - so in other words, the thing is made from synthetic leather making them unyeilding.


To date the shoes are approximately 3 weeks old. In this time, they have only seen the indoors. I have used them to top rop and traverse (about 50/50) and can attest that the smearing and edging are quite noticeable vs my old worn out MadRock: Flash. Whoppity do you say?! Considering, I didn't need to break them in weeks on end, yet they easily wore in like a favorite pair of wintery gloves.... Okay, bad metaphor.


Overall, as my second all-around pair shoes purchased, I really liked them. The only two cons I found thus far, is the left-toe soeling and the availability in stores. Because of the inflexible vegan friendly leather, my left toe from the inside, seems to rub the cuticle. This could obviously be due impart to needing the cuticle pushed back or the shoe itself or uh, the water weight thing. It may be too early to figure out. But, I wouldn't contend it's a deal breaker!


Evolv shoes are currently availble online or in Cali (I used to live in the Bay Area, SF, CA). REI does not carry them, nor Hudson Trail Outfitters -- to market them, they really should be more readily available. However, my friend who recommended them said that his personal experience w/ Evolv's CS dept was more then pleasurable (re: resoling); that is very good to know. Then again, if the company gets too big, CS may decline...it's the nature of the beast.


(edited to include size commentary)
The Evolv:Defy; I went 1.5 sizes smaller and purchased a 5.5. I typically wear one size smaller then my street shoe (ladies' 7; 6 ladies' climbing - based upon my MadRock:Flash shoes -- which stretched at least a size due to wear/usage). Because of the shoe's synthetic leather, the shoe will unlikely stretch in comparison to my former MadRock:Flash shoes.


Again, this is my second pair of all-around climbing shoes, purchased for 40+ dollars. I didn't have to break them in for weeks as I did w/ my MadRock: Flash (picture, gov contrator wearing them at work w/ feet under desk just to break them in.... it took a while before they became comfy.... and, i could barely wear them hours on end in the begining....)


btw - when I use my Evolv: Athena's a bit more, I will write a review then... So far, I like them, but am not totaly crazy about them (purchased through same gym promotion). For those who want to know what to do w/ your old
Evolv:Athena,
here's one option...eeks!

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: gunksta15, 2007-01-01


The Defy is a great all around shoe that has many good points, but bad ones also. The good is the rubber, it is very sticky and it is great for smearing. Also, the shoe itself is very comfortable even if you get it 3 sizes from your street shoe like i did. The heal is low cut and not very agressive but how it stays to your heal, i do not know, but it does. The bad, the shape of the shoe was lost quickly, it stretched, the heal of mine ripped in half, and i blew though the rubber and through the material in 6 months. Even though all that happened, i am getting another pair because they are awsome and i would recommend them to everyone who wants a non agressive gym or warm up shoe

Evolv Defy 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: thebaldsprinter, 2007-03-19


Pretty sick shoe all around, seems a little better ouitside than in the gym... That is where it counts anyways. Very comfy but they do size a little big and even though they are synthetic they do stretch a little bit, I would downsize at least two sizes persoanlly.

Good Shoes, The Defy 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: dbrayack, 2008-01-14


These are my standard shoe. If it doesn't look exceptionally edgy, I put on these guys. They're comfy and they smear very well. The rubber is sticky...pretty much on my feet 90 percent of the time (like I said, unless I'm doing some dime edging, then voila the Pontas)

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