The Evolv Predator is a rock shoe designed for steep climbing. It is an excellent shoe for overhanging routes and boulder problems. Read on to see if it is the right shoe for you.
The Predator is an extremely aggressive shoe with a downturned toe profile. It has a 4.2 mm outsole and 1.1 mm half-length, teardrop shaped midsole. Like most Evolv shoes, the Predator has a synthetic upper and will not stretch with use. This climbing shoe uses a hook-and-loop Velcro fastening system. The Predator retails for $125, but you may be able to find it cheaper since it is being replaced by a newer version, the Predator G2.
The Evolv Predator is very similar to the Evolv Talon, which is my all time favorite shoe for steep climbing. These two climbing shoes share the same last, outsole, and midsole. The difference is in the uppers. The Talon is a lace-up shoe with more rubber on the top to facilitate toe hooking, while the Predator uses two Velcro straps for tightening. The heel on the original version of the Talon is also more fully covered with rubber than the heel of the original Predator.
Given that the two rock shoes are so similar, it is quite surprising that my Predators fit much more loosely than my Talons. My pair of Talons is a bit too tight, so I got a half size bigger when I got my Predators. The difference between the two pairs is far larger than a half size though. The result is that the Predator is a bit sloppy on my foot. I can actually pull my foot out of the shoe if I am cranking hard on a heel hook.
Despite being oversized, the Predator performs remarkably well. The Predator toes into small pockets very well, and it frontpoints on small edges with aplomb. The edging power of this climbing shoe is fantastic. While being too large keeps my pair from performing perfectly, I have found that this also makes them incredibly comfortable for such an aggressive, downcambered shoe. I use the Predator for long bouldering sessions where the comfort and ease of removal provided by the Velcro is a real plus. My other main use for the Predator is when I am working a difficult route. The comfort level of this rock shoe allows me to spend hours working on linking difficult sections of a route. When I am ready for the redpoint, I switch to the Talon, since it is tighter and more precise.
The one negative about the Predator’s performance is that it is a terrible shoe for toe hooking. The sharp downturn of the toe box combined with the lack of rubber on the upper makes it really hard to hold a toe hook. This is not a problem with the Talon, and it may not be a problem with the Predator G2, which has extended the rand up the toe box. I am looking forward to getting the new version of the Predator, but not until I wear out my current pair.
The Evolv Predator is a fantastic shoe for steep climbing. As always, it is a good idea to try a shoe on before buying it, apparently even if you have a very similar shoe from the same company.
To check out the new version of the Predator, as well as Evolv’s other climbing shoes, go to www.evolvsports.com or www.evolvclimbing.com. To read the full review of the Predator’s cousin, the Talon, click here. To read reviews of other rock climbing shoes from Evolv, click here, here, here, and here. For a review of a different type of shoe from Evolv, read this. For reviews of climbing shoes from different companies, click here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you need some other rock climbing equipment, you can read reviews of helmets here and here.
If you are new to climbing then the Predator is a bad choice of shoe for you. What would be a good choice? Well, read this article to find out how to pick out a pair of climbing shoes, and then read this article for an overview of several good shoes for beginning climbers. Be safe, and have fun climbing!