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Evolv Shaman Pro Review (2024): Better than the Original?

Evolv Shaman Pro climbing shoe
The Evolv Shaman Pro is an elite gym climbing shoe for your hardest routes.

Bottom Line

9Expert Score
A New, Softer Shaman Built for Indoors
This latest iteration of the Shaman line will feel familiar to fans of the Shaman and Shaman Lace. The new Shaman Pro model offers less stiffness and greater sensitivity underfoot to help advanced climbers excel on smeary indoor volumes and tiny jibs alike.

The Shaman Pro fits average to wide feet best, and for those climbers this shoe offers an attractive blend of comfort and performance. It also incorporates Evolv’s trademark “love bump” and toe knuckle box to improve support and reduce the pain often caused by downturned shoes where your toes rub against the upper.

One other notable technical feature that sets the Pro apart is Evolv’s EvoWrap system, a combination of the 3-point strap and rubber midsole that compresses the shoe firmly down around the instep and provides tension and support.

Overall, you’ll find plenty of edging power in this super sensitive shoe for steep, sport climbing lead routes indoors or out. And the sticky rubber, generous toe patch, and deep heel cup perform amazingly for technical footwork like toe and heel hooking and other advanced moves.
Comfort
9.5
Performance
9
Durability
8.5
Value for Money
9
PROS
  • Elite performance on all indoor terrain
  • Comfortable for wider feet
  • Softest shoe in the Shaman lineup
  • Vegan-friendly materials
CONS
  • Narrowly focused, not a good all-rounder
  • High price point

Introduction

Evolv Shaman Pro climbing shoes

The newest model in the Shaman family of Evolv climbing shoes, just released in 2023, the Shaman Pro is designed for steep indoor climbing and competition style routes. More flexible and lighter than its older siblings, the Pro combines Evolv’s proven technology along with their latest innovations to compete with the recent trend of ultra soft, aggressive shoes used in top level competition.

Comfort

As with any high performance shoe, the Shaman Pros aren’t expected to be all-day long comfortable. However, outside of the general discomfort caused by a tightly fitting new shoe, no reviewers reported any rubbing or hot spots in the typical areas like the top of the toe box or achilles tendon.

At least one reviewer noted that they could wear the Shaman Pros for an entire gym session without removing them.

Materials

The Shaman Pro employs Evolv’s top level synthetic material in its upper, Synthratex VX, with no additional lining. While this material is perforated and somewhat breathable, most of the forefoot and sides of the shoe are enclosed in rubber, so don’t expect much air flow.

In place of a standard tongue, the Shaman Pro uses a stretchy, neoprene-like mesh that eliminates seams and any extra fabric over the top of your foot. This adds to the feeling of an overall snug fit with neither loose nor painfully tight spots.

Evolv Shaman Pro unique climbing shoe design
©️📸 @marymeck on Instagram

As we mentioned, the Shaman Pro shares Evolv’s “Love Bump” and “Knuckle Box” features with their other high performance models. The love bump is a 1.6 mm soft plastic insert that lies just under your big toe joint and places your toe in just the right position for pushing down.

Shaman Pro LV (Low Volume)

Evolv Shaman Pro standard vs LV

Rather than offering a women’s version of the Shaman Pro, Evolv created a low volume version called the Shaman Pro LV. The manufacturer claims that the LV model is 6% less in volume than the medium-volume of the regular Shaman Pro. Somewhat confusingly, the sizes listed on the Evolv website for the LV are in US Women’s, so be aware if ordering online.

Aside from being narrower in the forefoot and heel than the regular Shaman Pro, the LV has the exact same specs and feels identical while climbing.

Fit, Foot Shape, and Sizing

The Evolv Shaman Pro proved most comfortable and gave the best fit on users with medium to wide feet. A few climbers with narrower feet and heels had trouble cinching down the single strap evenly and felt like they couldn’t get a truly secure fit.

The most common consensus on fitting the Shaman Pro is to wear your street shoe size for performance and size up a half size for comfort. This matches the manufacturer’s recommendation to purchase your street shoe size and avoid downsizing.

The Shaman Pro’s Synthratex synthetic upper and rubber encased forefoot won’t stretch much at all after breaking in, but they will mold to your foot shape over the first few sessions and become more flexible after break in.

Shaman Pro Performance

climber wearing Evolv Shaman Pro
©️📷 @marymeck on Instagram

Edging

You won’t get the same edging performance in the Shaman Pro that a stiffer shoe can provide. That being said, for the target audience and intended terrain the Pro offers fine edging prowess. For strong climbers, the EvoWrap system with its 1 mm rubber midsole gives plenty of tension and support, maintaining the shoe’s shape and compressing the instep to focus power from your heel to toe.

Smearing

The Shaman Pro’s outsole is 4.2 mm of Trax SAS rubber, the company’s stickiest compound. Not quite as soft as Vibram’s XS Grip2 or Five Ten’s Stealth C4, the Trax still gives a great combination of grip and durability. The Pro bends however you need it to in order to maintain the greatest contact patch with sloping volumes, textured artificial walls, and smears at any angle.

Evolv Shaman Pro trax rubber outsole

Hooking

Evolv designed the Shaman Pro with a deeper heel cup than the original Shaman. Nearly all users praised the newer fit as more secure and better performing on heel hooks. The heel on the Shaman Pro is also softer than either the Shaman or the Phantom, which makes it more sensitive and precise.

The ample Trax SAS toe patch and flexy build of the Shaman Pro make toe hooks second nature as well.

Evolv Shaman Pro reviews

Jamming

If you use the Shaman Pros as intended, you won’t find yourself jamming your toes or feet into many cracks. The soft construction won’t hold up to that kind of duty for long, and your feet likely won’t either.

Climbing Scenarios

Best Use for the Shaman Pro

Designed as an indoor-oriented, competition-level climbing shoe, the Shaman Pro is a perfect ally for the gym. We couldn’t really find any flaws or weaknesses in the Pro’s capabilities when used for its intended purpose: short, steep climbing with technical footwork and comp-style bouldering.

Whether leaping off a volume for a bouldering dyno, or launching up a hugely overhanging lead route, the Shaman Pros were never overmatched in any situation. Especially if sized more toward the comfort side, we can see the Shaman Pros being the perfect climbing shoes for strong indoor climbers who like to take on the hardest routes and problems in the gym.

Shaman Pro evolv shoes in an indoor gym
©️📷@nicktrekz on Instagram

Other Uses

Avid gym climbers present the best use case for the Shaman Pro. Nonetheless, it might be a useful addition to your quiver even if you mainly climb outside. It’s a worthy competitor to Evolv’s Phantom model for high-end bouldering, with a bit more feel and less support in the sole and heel.

Powerful, overhanging sport routes outdoors are also well suited to the Shaman Pro. It’s awesome on single-pitch, overhanging limestone and sandstone with pockets and edges where you can use your toes’ gripping power.

Durability, Resoling, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare

Evolv Shaman Pro toe box

The minimalist construction that lends the Shaman Pro its superior feel and sensitivity don’t necessarily translate to high durability. One reviewer noted a tear starting in the stitching around the tongue and strap after just a few outings. However, no one else reported a similar experience.

Most users praised the shoe’s quality of construction and materials and reported no undue wear. This may be partially due to Evolv’s VTR (variable thickness rand), which uses a molded rand that is thicker in high wear areas. The 4.2 mm sole is also a little thicker than some high performance models, adding to its longevity.

The Shaman Pro can be resoled by any climbing shoe repair facility or by Evolv’s own in-house resoling service, Yosemite Bum.

Evolv lists the Shaman Pro as vegan friendly, with all synthetic or plant-based materials.

Evolv Shaman vs. Shaman Pro

Evolv Shaman Pro review

We’ve mentioned the first-generation Shaman models. Originally created with the input of climbing legend Chris Sharma, they have a longstanding reputation as elite performers on sport climbing test pieces. How do they stack up to the Shaman Pro?

In short, the Shaman Pro’s siblings are more heavily constructed, stiffer, and less sensitive than the Shaman Pro. One of these original models may be better for longer, less overhanging climbing where support is more critical than sensitivity.

Regarding sizing, the Shaman Pro is a larger fitting shoe than the regular one. However, Evolv recommends picking the same size for both.

Get more details in our full Evolv Shaman review.

Conclusion

The Evolv Shaman Pro promises elite-level performance for the gym and climbing competitions, and it delivers, as Evolv continues to push their standards in design and shoe construction. For intermediate to expert climbers looking to maximize results in training or while competing, this latest Shaman model is worth a look if you’re in the market for a highly specialized shoe for your biggest challenges.

Facts

Technical Specs

Weight10.2 oz/289 g
FitPerformance
DownturnAggressive
ShapeHigh asymmetry
VolumeMedium, High
StiffnessSoft
Sole thickness4.2 mm
ClosureVelcro
ResoleableYes
VeganYes

Use

ActivitiesIndoor, Bouldering, Sport
Experience levelIntermediate, Advanced

Technologies

Outsole4.2mm TRAX SAS rubber
Midsole1.6mm soft plastic Love Bump, 1mm rubber midsole with arch support
UpperSynthratex VX (synthetic)
LastSlip-lasted
LiningSynthetic

Technical Specs

Where to Buy It?

We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is great, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.

Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/climbers going!

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