Review of the Evolv Rasta Shaman & Prime SC Climbing Shoes

There are three things one must consider when purchasing a rock climbing shoe – fit, performance and rubber. For this review of the Prime SC (strap closure) shoe and the Rasta Shaman shoe, let’s start with the rubber. Evolv says it’s the only manufacturer that uses “environmentally friendly” rubber on its rock climbing shoes. The company decomposes selective pre- and post-consumer rubber waste and then reprocesses it to make a useable compound. Currently, 30% of the eco-TRAX compound used on select parts of their outsoles is recycled material. That’s not a lot, granted, but at least they’re trying. Does this “green” rubber actually work though? Like the glue on skins, rock climbing shoe rubber must perform in a variety of different conditions and temperatures. For this review, I took the Primes and the Rastas to a shaded bouldering spot, a few hot crags in the direct sunlight and the Primes came with me on a chilly, early morning alpine session on a north-facing route in the Valhalla mountain range. I can definitely say that the Trax rubber lives up to its “high friction” reputation. It felt solid on micro-edges as well as stuffed into cracks. The one downfall would be that, because both shoes are covered in black rubber, on the hot days my feet practically cooked in them. These are not the shoes you want for a sunny day in J-Tree in July.

To read this entire review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Review of The North Face Downieville Colab Shorts and Wrencher Jersey

In the past few years The North Face has been tiptoeing into the mountain bike clothing market to cater to the off-season whims of their pro ski athletes, such as Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. Then, at last year’s Interbike Show in Las Vegas, the company jumped in with both feet by announcing a partnership with Pro-Tec and unveiling a new line of padded apparel. The centerpiece is the rugged Downieville Colab Short which incorporates a padded inner chamois featuring Pro-Tec’s proprietary flex panels. The whole concept behind this short is to withstand as much abuse as you can throw at it, which is exactly what I did on a recent rainy ride in Rossland, BC. The area had been experiencing record-breaking rainfall and the trails were slick, fast and water-logged. More than once my tires slipped out around a corner and I landed on my hips. And in one memorable instant I naively rode through a creek with water levels up past my knees and endo-ed onto the far bank. In every instance I was happy to have the added protection of the Downieville Short.

To read the entire review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.