All the midsole cushioning, stability features and support in an approach shoe are wonderful — until you have to cram them in a bullet pack to haul them up a multi-pitch climb or clip them to the back of your harness. Bulky approach shoes, even low-top running-style, can be frustrating, especially when you have to make the choice between carrying a bottle of water in a small pack or a pair of shoes to scramble down in.
Evolv’s Cruzer has won awards from climbing magazines, been compared to Tom’s shoes, and touted as a shoe you can wear scrambling, approaching, descending, and then to the bar afterward. I beat on them for a few weeks on an easy climb in Boulder’s Flatirons, a couple of approaches, and a quick solo on the South Ridge of Mount Superior in the Wasatch, and will vouch for all those claims. Although I would rather compare them to a pair of Chuck Taylors than Tom’s — lightweight, agile, sticky Chuck Taylors.
The canvas upper is as minimal as I’ve ever worn on an approach, squishing down like a pair of Sanuks to cram in your pack or folding down in the heel so you can slip your feet in and wear them as clogs as you belay single-pitch routes from the base of a crag after taking off your climbing shoes. Trax rubber is sticky enough for moderate 5th-class smearing and the midsole is thin enough to enable edging on small features, and cushioned enough to carry a pack with a rack and a rope for single-day outings. Evolv has made a few improvements after the first generation of the shoe — triple-stitching on the forefoot upper and stronger glue have been added to prevent blowouts.