A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering



How To Break In Climbing Shoes

Unfortunately my current shoes are on their way out due to lots and lots of wear. As much as I want to go shoe shopping for some new ones, I think it’s time to start wearing some of the boots I’ve got stashed away. I generally size my shoes bouldering tight, which means they are going to need breaking in. Having experianced a few different pairs of climbing shoes now, I’ve found that the breaking in period is always different. My Evolv Shaman LV took around 2 months, whereas my Five Ten Anasazis LV took about 2 weeks. Branding, fabric, sizing and your own foot shape makes each breaking period unique. Of course climbing shoes will wear in as you climb, but sometimes it’s hard to get them on your feet to start the process!

Here are a few tips to help:

– Use plastic bags over your feet to help you slide into your shoes

– Instead of breaking them in on your climbs, try wearing them at home for 20-30mins over a few days

– Wear your climbing boots whilst wearing very thick socks

– Heat your shoes up with a hairdryer until the rubber is warm to touch and then quickly put them on, let them cool down on your feet so the shoes mould to your foot shape

– Try stuffing the shoes as tightly as possible with thick socks before heating them up, and let them cooldown with the socks still inside to help stretch them out

– Wear your  boots at the end of your climb to practice some easy problems

You can mix and match some of the tips above to suit your needs. I hope this helps to make your climbing sessions pain-free!

Leave your own tricks for breaking in boots in the comments 🙂


Review | Evolv Shaman LV Climbing Shoe

The Shaman LV were the second pair of boots I bought, and my very first technical shoe. Designed predominantly by the man himself Chris Sharma, these are a female off shoot of the original Shamans. Great for boulder and overhang problems, I think they’re worth every penny. As you can see from the pictures, mine have been very used and are still very loved!

IMG_2740 Fit – So the ‘LV’ in the shoe name means low volume, not ‘lady version’ as I first thought. Although this does mean that they are better for people with narrow feet, and for this reason they are targeted at female climbers. However guys shouldn’t be put off by this because if it fits well, wear it. I’m a street size 3 (UK) and I size matched, which seems to be a common thing with Evolv climbing shoes. I did have to plastic bag my larger foot at first, (you generally have one foot larger than the other…or smaller depending on how you look at it) but after a couple of climbs the bag was no longer needed. I’m not going to lie they were pretty painful at first! I think this is because I sized to my smaller foot, however I feel that this was definitely the right thing to do because after a few weeks of breaking in they fit like a glove, and felt snug how a bouldering fit should.

Specifications – This is a down turned asymmetric shoe which makes it particularly great for overhang climbs. One of the features of the Shaman is the ‘love bump’, which you can feel at the front of the shoe under your toes as it forces your foot into a claw position. Another feature is the ‘knuckle box’ which works alongside the bump by encasing your toes, the idea is to keep your foot in the most powerful position. It feels like there is no flex in the shoe because of the solid sole, but I’m finding that I prefer shoes like this as it offers more support to the foot. The 3 strap Velcro system is just like any other for the most part, it feels safe whilst still being easy to take the shoe off. Having the middle strap fastening in the opposite direction really helps keep the shoe tight on your foot, and is another excellent feature.

Performance – The TRAX high friction rubber wears extremely well and stays grippy, which made me feel confident edging on smaIMG_2741ll holds. I feel like they’re on the heavier side for a climbing shoe, meaning they lack some sensitivity. However still being a newbie I enjoyed (and still do) the feeling that there’s something on the end of my leg, connecting me to the wall. On the whole I have no complaint about these boots performance wise, they did everything I asked and still kept the sizing and shape. The only downside is the smell. Despite having a cotton heel and leather footbeds I still had to use Boot Bananas in them, the microfibres uppers just do not breathe at all. Seriously, the smell stays with you. This doesn’t affect their performance of course, just possibly your relationships with friends/partner/pets.

Aesthetic – Personally I am a fan of the mint green and soft lilac as it’s feminine but not overly girly. I’ve seen fellas wearing the female version because they preferred the fit and colour combo, as the male Shaman is orange and blue which is not everyone’s cup of tea. My partner has the male version of the shoe which actually came out first, and it does have a few differences. The male Shaman has a wider toe box, and I find the female version is more pointed and claw-like at the end. Both look on the chunkier side when they next to other climbing shoes, so if you’re after something more streamline in the looks department, these may not be for you.


These boots have traveled to many different bouldering gyms and performed amazingly well each time. Even though the Shaman LV are marketed for slimmer feet, I think these are still great for ladies with wider feet like myself. They still fit snug and retain their shape after breaking in. Overall I would definitely recommend the Evolv Shaman to someone looking for their first technical shoe, as they’re great for building confidence and perform well on smaller edges.

Hope this has helped.

agirlwhoclimbs 4

Review | Evolv Elektra Climbing Shoe

The Evolv Elektra were my first pair of climbing shoes, they remind me of good times and happy memories! Lots of holds were stood on in these little purple boots, and many a fall taken. I only ever wore them indoor bouldering, but they were a great newbie shoe. I know there are plenty of reviews out in cyberspace already, but I thought I would throw my views into the mix too, as they’re a great starter shoe. I’ve also done a post on buying your first pair of shoes which you can read here, but anyway on with the review.

Fit – I’m a stIMG_2460reet size 3 (UK) and size matched as most people do in Evolv. I found that they did stretch a little after breaking in and became more comfortable for a long climbing session, but still had a snug fit.

Specifications – They are an asymmetric shoe which gives a new climber the feel of what a technical climbing shoe should feel like without being horrendously painful. The extra toe rubber is awesome too as a lot of toe dragging can happen as a newbie, so this extra thickness means your shoes are likely to last longer. They come in both lace and Velcro, I went with Velcro because I like the speed I can whizz the shoes on and off, plus after experiencing post climbing hand pains I figured this would be the nicest option. Ain’t nobody got time for laces with sore finger tips!

Performance – The rubber is Trax ( I believe) which is sticky and feels safe, especially when IMG_2459smearing. However the toe comes to a very thick point which takes away any feedback you could get from the holds, causing the shoe to lack sensitivity at times. They’re okay for heel and toe hooks, but not the best. However that could be seen as a little irrelevant for a beginner, as it’s unlikely you’ll be doing such demanding moves so soon anyway.

I think these are a common option for beginners with the price point, (I paid around £45 in Go Outdoors) and also because they are a very good, all round beginner shoe. Originally aimed at the female market they’ve recently been redesigned with more gender neutral colours (teal and grey), this makes them more suitable for all you guys out there with low volume feet.

Overall my personal experience with them has been great, the only downside has been the smell they can emit, something Evolv shoes are notorious for. Typically you don’t wear socks with your climbing shoes, so you can feel the sensitivity of holds, and after climbing hard in synthetic fabrics it’s likely to cause sweaty feet and smelly shoes! Don’t be put off, as this is easily fixed by using a shoe or foot spray. I like to use Boot Bananas as they are amazingly good at neutralising odours.

I hope this has been a helpful post, feel free to ask any questions. I’m planning on doing some more reviews so any feedback is very welcome 🙂

-A Girl Who Climbs

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