Evolv have been making climbing shoes for several years now, however, in Britain they have really taken off as a leading climbing shoe manufacturer over the past couple of years. A major contributing factor was the addition of climbing superstar Chris Sharma to the Evolv team and the subsequent release of the Sharma signature series of Evolv climbing shoes.
The first shoe to be released in this signature series was the Pontas which became inextricably linked to the pioneering deepwater solo, ‘es Pontas' in Mallorca, first climbed by Sharma in 2007. Before I go any further I must impart some rather disappointing news: Donning the Pontas at your local wall or crag will not result in a magical ability to suddenly climb 9a. A surprise to myself and a shame, yes, but if you are looking for a new climbing shoe to offer great all round performance then I believe the Pontas can help.
The Pontas is a performance shoe designed to perform well on various rock types and for different climbing styles. Its 4.2 mm TRAX rubber sole and a 1.5 mm ¾ length midsole give very good edging properties whilst retaining the sensitive feel necessary for precise smearing. If you are looking for an edging specific shoe, the Pontas Lace incorporates a full length mid-sole for more support. I have bouldered and routed, indoors and on rock wearing the Pontas. I found them to fare particularly well on more vertical, edgy rock types, such as the limestone at Malham Cove, where they felt very secure on small footholds as the design of the shoe focused power over my big toe. On very steep routes and boulders the boots lacked the pulling power of other shoes that have a specifically down turned toe, however this is only a slight problem familiar to every ‘all round' performance climbing shoe.
On Grit, smearing ability was good and the rubber seemed to stick well despite showing little signs of wear over numerous days of climbing. I didn't feel these shoes smeared as well as they edged, though I am wearing them a little on the small side. A half size up could easily improve their performance on smears. A minor problem, again possibly due to sizing, was pressure on my big toe, which only came into effect while climbing for a prolonged period. My choice of the shoe was affected because of this only when it came to trad routes.
The general fit of these shoes is narrow, from someone who finds Anasazi velcro's too wide, the Pontas' are fine. The heel fit is very snug with very little dead space or excess rubber, which allows for exact and secure heel hooking; a necessity in my eyes for a performance climbing shoe. The toe rand similarly worked well during toe hooking. Overall, the shoe quality appears to be very good; they look as good as they did straight out the box. The Pontas should not be missed when next looking to replace your climbing shoes; if they fit, why not give them a try? Just because I didn't start climbing like Sharma.....
All Images: Dave MacFarlane - planetFear
|Evolv Pontas Climbing Shoe|
|Developed by Chris Sharma, the..|
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