Evolv Geshido SC ReviewMarch 16, 2013
- Savvy blend of performance and comfort
- Thin, low-profile, flexible toe excellent for cracks, flares, smearing, and smedging
- Lots of adjustment possibilities
- given their gradually rounded toebox and thicker (4.2mm) outsole
- Lightweight but also built to last
- 1-mm half-length concave midsole perhaps not quite stiff enough for those seeking an all-arounder that leans more toward a traditional edging boot
- Might not be downcambered enough—and has no downturn—for radical steeps
- Could use a higher rand or toebox patch for toe scumming
This is a gem of a shoe that, given its pared-down looks and unprepossessing design, was a sleeper redpoint and onsight machine, with the perfect blend of performance, tweakable fit, softness/smearing, comfort, and precision—especially with strong feet accustomed to slippers. Also, it has Evolv’s standard-issue high, bomber heelcup.
The Evolv Geshido SC is an asymmetric, downcambered triple-Velcro-closure performance all-arounder designed by Chris Sharma, with 4.2mm TRAX rubber sole, 1-mm half-length midsole, low-profile toe for crack climbing, split tongue, microfiber lining, and leather upper and footbed.
Although I was lukewarm on the lace-up Geshido, I tried to approach the softer, less-built-up Velcro version with an open mind, since it’s often the case that lace, Velcro, and slipper versions of the same shoe can be as different as catsup, mustard, and relish—even though built around the same last.
I tested them primarily on Boulder Canyon granite, land of edging, smedging, pimply micro-divots, and seam/crack flares, a smorgasbord of strange, precise, often vertically oriented footholds that will push the limits of an all-around boot like the Geshido SC. I’ll just come out and say it: I loved the Geshido SC and have added them to the redpoint quiver.
Akin to La Sportiva’s classic Katana Velcro, the SC is a deft and reliable all-around performer, especially on angles up to gently overhanging, as fluent on 5.13 face as 5.10 crack.
I’m usually more of a downturned, pointy-toed-shoe kind of guy. However, it’s certainly the case that for all-around use, a laser toe (designed for digging into tiny footholds) can be too painful when working trad-style footholds like broad smears or flared-crack foot-pressure moves.
The Geshido SC nails the sweet spot—the toebox is just round enough to be comfortable in cracks and on smears, but not so round (it’s asymmetrical) that you lose precision.
For me, with more rounded boots, it’s often simply a matter of re-acclimating and applying more pressure to jibs and edges than you would with a sharper toe, and I found the SC to do great on crimps and micros when I kept that in mind. (I used them on two hard, thin gently overhanging face-style redpoints, one with twin flared seams in opposition, the other a finger crack to a crimpy micro-dish crux, and the shoes were money on both pitches.) The toebox is certainly adequately stiff for standing on smaller holds, especially flat or indented ones, and especially if you have strong, slipper-trained feet.
Evolv’s proprietary “Love Bump,” a midsole protrusion behind the toes that drives them down into the toebox, is to thank for this—even my broad, gnarly hobbit feet went right to the end of the shoe, with no dead space. For me, this was in contrast to the Love Bump on the lace-up version. Due to that shoe’s beefier construction, the lace-up’s Love Bump felt like it was applying too much lateral pressure, spreading my piggies sideways against the rand instead of forward.
As the SC has only a very subtle 1mm half-length midsole, your foot has room to grow into the end of this softer boot. Meanwhile, the toebox is low profile, so slips easily into thin jams and pockets.
Another standout feature, the Velcro closure, is done with forethought and elegance: The three straps are uniformly spaced across the middle foot, from up high near where your foot meets your ankle to fairly far forward on the toebox, about 3.5” inches from the tip on the size 10.5 pair I tested. This gave major control over fit and feel, more than some lace-ups I’ve worn.
Cranking down the top and middle straps pulls your arch snugly into the downcamber, which was nice for steeper climbs and did enhance grabbing. Then, to bring the shoe back to a flatter last for vertical terrain, you can loosen to taste.
What’s also interesting is Evolv’s “multidirectional webbing-strap structure,” i.e., the middle strap cinches through a toggle on the opposite side of the boot from the other two, which did help with ratcheting.
Hooks and scums
I’ve said it in other reviews, but my feeling is that Evolv has found the magic formula for the bomber heel—one that neither slips nor slides in aggressive hooks but yet isn’t so rigid it pinches your Achilles tendon. The Geshido SC’s heel delivers just like their other shoes, with a tension rand that comes clear to the dual pull-tabs on the cuff—good stuff!
The shoe’s one blind spot might be toe scumming. To give the Geshido SC more versatility on the super-steeps, the rand could stand to come a bit farther back on the toebox or even incorporate a toe-scumming patch like the company’s Shaman.