Over the past two years, innovations in climbing shoe technology have been at an overall high and shoe companies across the globe have been tasked with keeping up if they want to stay on top of the market. The team at Evolv is no exception to this rule, with new models coming out at a rapid pace in order to keep current in the competing shoe market.
The Agro is Evolv’s answer to the ever changing market of high performance climbing shoes. The Evolv Agro’s downturned one strap design is built for steep overhanging climbing that demands power in your feet. It features 4.2 mm TRAX SAS high friction rubber, Evolv’s new TPS (Tension Power System) technology and a thick toe rubber upper for optimal toe hooking performance. The Agro is a much more streamlined design that previous Evolv models and is a good step forward in the Evolv high performance line.
Evolv Agro Climbing Shoe
To guide our review, we have broken the shoe down into its specific components to give you a full summary of its features.
Before testing the Agro, there was a lot of hype about it being the top performing shoe in Evolv’s high end line so going into our eight week testing period, we expected a lot. To be honest, our first impression of the Agro out of the box was that it looked bulky and couldn’t possibly be a top performing shoe. However, after the first day of testing, the Agro proved itself to be a powerful downturned shoe and we were actually suprised by its precision and sensitivity.
To start, the Agro is a boss shoe when climbing overhanging routes. The toe box of the shoe did a great job harnessing the power of the big toe and, despite a thicker rand around the toe box, the Agro provided a lot of feel and sensitivity both when edging and when smearing on unusual features. The thick rubber on the top of the toes combined with the flexibility of the rand allowed for the shoe to adapt to almost any terrain from smearing to pockets to toe hooking anything within your grasp.
However, it should be noted that we had difficulty generating power from the toe box when climbing vertical and gently overhanging terrain. The Agro does a great job of holding the tension of the shoe at the tip of the toe, but as power is required further down both sides of the toes, it seemed to lose tension and power. Although fantastic when climbing steeper terrain, the toe box of the Agro did not have the toe power needed to toe in and step up on small granite crimps.
If this shoe had a superpower, it would be toe-hooking. Just looking at the design of the shoe, there is a large piece of rubber slapped right over the toe box that extends all the way up the top of the foot. The rubber is thick and sticky, making it very easy to toe hook even the most heinous (read: painful) toe hooks.
The heel of this shoe was a good fit and performed well in almost every heel hooking situation. The heel on this shoe rides a little higher than on other Evolv shoes, allowing it to handle a little more torque. This being said, due to the sew line of the one of the pull tabs, there is some discomfort around the achilles when using this shoe.
Fit and Comfort
When initially fitting the Agro, I thought that it fit tighter than most of Evolv’s shoes. However, it should be noted that the Agro does stretch a fair amount and initial downsizing may be worth it in the long run. Like the majority of the Evolv line, the Agro is a very comfortable fit. Initially, I had anticipated that the Agro may feel somewhat uncomfortable at first but this was not the case. Both the toe box and overall feel of the shoe is very comfortable and allows the climber to relax when climbing without sacrificing any technical control.
As metnioned before, there is some discomfort with the heel cup of the shoe due to the pull tab placement and sew line. Although minor, we did notice after long sessions that there was some rubbing around the inner achilles area of the foot.
As most companies have turned to sensitive thin rubber for the edge around the toes, the Evolv Agro features 4mm rubber at the toe box. At first glance, I was certain that this would lead to a lack of control and sensitivity when pushing down on small holds but this was not the case. This was the case both out of the box and throughout our eight week testing period. With the thicker rubber, the toes of the Agro are sure to last longer than the thinner rubber found on most high performance shoes on the market.
Testing numerous shoes throughout the year, I am almost certain that the rubber used by Evolv is one of the best on the market. The Agro is no different. This is sticky sticky rubber!
Overall, the Agro is a welcomed addition to Evolv’s line of high performance shoes. It is a real boss when it comes to overhanging climbing and is a must have for anyone who specializes in toe hooks or engaging steep bouldering/sport climbing terrain. We found that toe box of the Agro generated a lot of power on overhanging terrain but had difficulty replicating this power on vertical terrain. The toe rand of the Agro was much more sensitive than it looked and provided both sensitivity and power on the rock. Throughout the testing period, we found that this shoe found a good balance between comfort and performance and we really enjoyed climbing in the Agro because of its ability to handle diverse overhanging climbing.
The Evolv Agro can be purchased at Climb On Squamish, Valhalla Pure, and MEC. MSRP $189.00