I got my first set of these shoes last fall and have not looked back since. The Shaman was designed by Chris Sharma, who needs no introduction, and are part of the Sharma Series in the Evolv line up. Apparently he built them from ground up; they must be good then! Well the fact of the matter is they are!
I absolutely love them; they fit my feet so well and perform better than any shoe I have ever used before. They have the patented "love bump and knuckle box" which hugs the ball of your foot and provides room for the big toe. This puts the foot in a very powerful position and allows for a very precise and powerful feel.
The Shaman excels at over hangs but is no slouch at edging on vertical or less than vertical terrain. I have tested them on a variety of terrain since last October and recommend them to everybody! They are my go to shoe for bouldering, steep sport climbing, and vertical technical climbing.
One of the best features in my humble option is the heal. I have struggled heal hooking for years with improperly moulded heal pockets and poor rubber placement on the heal. The Shaman's heal works much better than any other shoe I have used before. The pocket fits my heal without leaving a large dead space behind the heal. This means that when I set my heal hooks I can actually feel the rock. Some shoes skimp on the rubber in the heal region making heal hooks very painful at times. The Shaman provides just enough rubber that you can still feel the rock but not to much to make it painful. Finally I can I heal hook with confidence!
Right out of the box they fit perfectly and they hold their shape right to the bitter end. I would recommend sizing them tight but not painful. They will stretch a bit but not a lot.
The rubber is super sticky and I personally think it is great. They use Trax XT high friction rubber, which is based out of California. With the rubber being is so sticky it is fairly soft and because of the aggressive shape of the shoe the area under the big toe does tend to wear fairly quickly. With that being said, my 1st pair I used on average 5 days a week both in the gym and outside over the course of 8 months. I put them through a lot of punishment and they held up a lot better than I was initially expecting.
Some other reviews complain about the shoes being smelly. Well any lined shoe will eventually smell if you sweat in them a lot. I have used many different types of climbing shoes over my 18 years of climbing and every pair that is lined with synthetic material ends up smelling after time. My advise is to make sure you take them out of you bag after climbing to allow them to fully dry.
These are the high end performance shoe in the Evolv line up, so they are slightly more expensive than their other models, with the Geshido as an exception. Their MSRP is $150, which is competitive with other companies high end shoes.
The Gist of it:
- Great performance for sport climbing and bouldering
- Very comfortable
- Priced very competitively
- Very sticky rubber
- Excellent heal
- Sticky rubber is soft and breaks down fairly fast
- Not very good for technical crack climbing because of the down turned toe
- They become stinky over time
If you are looking to take your climbing to the next level start with the shoes! The Shaman's will not let you down. I guarantee it!