Evolv Elektra Review (2023): Top Pick for Female Beginners?
Published on: 08/19/2022Evolv Elektra is a beginner-friendly climbing shoe designed specifically for female climbers.
It’s evident that the Elektra is designed to be an all-rounder. It uses a 4.2mm Trax SAS outsole, which boasts excellent durability on all types of rock. The Elektra has a reasonably neutral profile and sticky rubber sole but offers impressive support. This is due in no small part to its Variable Thickness Rand, which aims to maximize both support and durability.
It’s also worth noting that the Elektra uses a synthetic upper and is a leather-free shoe, making it vegan-friendly. The upper is soft, and the shoe only stretches minimally, so finding an accurate fit is pretty straightforward. In terms of performance, the Elektra is decent across the board, making this a great budget shoe for all climbing styles.
- Affordable and versatile; hard to beat in terms of value for money
- Anti-microbial lining keeps shoes smelling fresh
- It offers decent durability, especially given its price point
- Narrow profile likely too tight for some
- Despite the Molded VTR, the shoe has some definite pressure points
The Evolv Elektra; a Comprehensive Review
The Evolv Elektra is a budget-friendly, versatile climbing shoe for women. With a neutral, asymmetrical profile and velcro straps, the Elektra is a great entry-level model for climbers looking to try various styles.
What Kind of Shoe is the Elektra?
The Elektra is an asymmetrical, balanced shoe that prioritizes comfort and versatility above all else. So, while this shoe doesn’t excel in any area, you can wear it on just about any climbing route.
The Evolv Elektra vs. Defy
The Evolv Elektra is essentially the ‘female’ version of the Evolv Defy. For the most part, the shoes aren’t substantially different; the primary difference is how they fit. In fact, you may find that the Defy fits you better, depending on the profile of your foot.
As mentioned above, the Elektra has a fairly narrow profile. Climbers with wide feet may struggle to get a comfortable fit with the Elektra. If your feet are on the wider side, you might prefer the Defy instead. We recommend that you try the shoes out before buying to ensure you get the best possible fit.
With its low, asymmetrical shape and slip lasted rand, the Elektra has been designed to maximize comfort and performance. The Variable Thickness Rand aims to minimize pressure points while allowing for a more sensitive climbing experience. Also, rather than using one velcro strap, the Elektra has two in opposing directions. This provides a more precise fit.
This sounds great on paper. However, we found that the Elektra has some pressure points and pinches in certain areas. The fit around the heel area also leaves something to be desired. We found that the Elektra can feel a bit baggy here; other reviews also mention this flaw. Still, we’d argue that the Elektra is reasonably comfortable, especially for a budget model.
We’re not entirely sure if this comes under ‘comfort,’ but one aspect of the Elektra that we appreciated is its odor-free design. The Elektra uses a vegan synthetic upper called Synthratex and an anti-microbial lining. This lining is meant to keep the synthetic material fresh and limit foot odor from building up in the shoe. While this doesn’t impact the shoe’s performance per se, it is an excellent quality of life feature. Because, well, who likes smelly shoes?
The Elektra is a low-medium volume climbing shoe. You may need to go above your regular street shoe size for this model, especially if you have wider feet.
Even an experienced climber would probably struggle to get much out of the Elektras as far as edging is concerned. The shoe has a flat, somewhat stiff build and neutral profile. Combine this with the large toe box, which makes standing on smaller edges a challenge.
However, it’s worth pointing out that beginner climbing shoes tend not to be edging machines. Edging is more of an advanced technique, so your average beginner climber is likely looking for other features than edging prowess in a new shoe.
The Elektra is a sensitive shoe that uses relatively soft rubber for its sole. This makes it a great choice for smearing, at least when new. However, as you stretch the sole and wear the rubber a bit, it loses its stickiness reasonably quickly.
As far as heel hooking is concerned, the Elektra performs well. The rubber on the heel cup is hardy and sticky. This helps you gain the leverage you need for heel hooks.
Toe hooking, on the other hand, is trickier in the Elektra. Generally, a more aggressive shoe would work better by giving you more leverage. The Elektra has a fairly neutral profile, creating less of a fulcrum than a more downturned shoe might. Still, it offers acceptable performance for shorter bursts of toe hooking.
As mentioned in this article, the toe area of the Elektra is pretty large and bulky. This can make jamming in the Elektra problematic, as it is too large to fit into smaller pockets.
Application within Different Climbing styles
While not exactly a high-performance model, the Elektra is a comfortable shoe that adapts reasonably well to sport climbing routes. The rubber on the shoe is relatively sticky, and the bulky toe box is less of an issue for indoor climbing than it is on outdoor routes. However, the shoe’s profile is less ideal for sport climbing than a more aggressive, downturned model would be.
The Elektra is a great choice for a gym climbing shoe. It’s versatile, and the velcro straps make it easy to take off and put on. Plus, the synthetic holds you’ll encounter when climbing in a gym are far easier on the Elektra’s rubber than real rock.
The Elektra performs well for indoor bouldering. It’s sensitive and versatile enough that you can wear it for various problems with ease. However, the toe box is fairly wide and a bit bulky. This makes it harder to use smaller holds as you’d see outdoors as easily. So, we’d argue that the Elektra isn’t as suited to outdoor climbing in general, but outdoor bouldering, in particular, may be a challenge.
Trad and Crack Climbing
Despite being fairly soft, the Elektra holds up reasonably well to trad climbing. It’s neutral and supportive enough that you don’t need to worry about foot pump early on. The Elektra also offers decent performance in cracks, for the most part. However, its velcro straps and bulky toe box make it less practical than other models, especially in narrower cracks.
The Elektra is an excellent addition to the world of women’s climbing shoes. If you’re a beginner climber looking for her first climbing shoe, it’d be hard to go wrong with the Elektra. It’s versatile, affordable, and reasonably durable for the price.
You might struggle to get a decent fit with the Elektra if you have a wider foot profile. You may also want to look for another shoe if you do most of your climbing outdoors. Having said that, we would easily recommend the Elektra to most other female beginner climbers.
|Weight||6.8 oz/193 g|
|Sole thickness||4.2 mm|
|Activities||Indoor, Outdoor, Sport, Trad|
|Experience level||Beginner, Intermediate|
|Outsole||4.2mm TRAX® SAS|
|Midsole||MX-P: 1.4mm Sensitive Full Length|
|Upper||Synthratek VX (Synthetic)|
Reference: Evolv‘s official website
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Where to Buy It?
We buy most of our stuff from REI.com or Backcountry. REI only has the lace-up version of the Elektra at the moment, so we would recommend buying them from BC.
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