Evolv Nighthawk Review

Evolv Nighthawk Review

The Evolv Nighthawk is a really good mid-level climbing shoe and will definitely get you a good introduction into good performance results on your climbing adventure that you will find out in Evolv Nighthawk Review. 

Even if you are a less experienced climber looking to begin leveling up your skills, these are still really great climbing shoes. They won’t break your bank for sure, and in return will start letting you go on a couple of different kinds of climbs of varying difficulties and begin increasing your climbing skills

The Nighthawk climbing shoe can’t give you everything you need, but trying out this climbing shoe specifically and then getting in depth information about it can definitely give you more precise experience on what things your shoe is great at doing, and some of the ways where the Nighthawk is lacking in different areas. 

In Depth Guide of the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe

Evolv Nighthawk Review

Evolv Nighthawk Review Climbing Shoe Score

Fit – 8 out of 10

Performance – 5 out of 10

Sensitivity – 7  out of 10

Comfort – 8 out of 10

How Well Does the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe Actually Perform?

The nighthawk is a really great beginners shoe. It isn’t a shoe for true beginners, but rather people who have been climbing for a little while and are looking to up their skills, but not so much that they are consistently going on super challenging climbs.

The Nighthawk is a climbing shoe that allows you to start doing some more technical moves while still giving the comfort and feel of a beginner shoe. 

Introductory Edging Performance

The rubber on the shoe is called Trax rubber. It is grippy enough so that when you are faced with a climb that has more than usual small edges, you should still be able to get a good hold on a majority of them. 

Also, the sole is of middling stiffness so you should get great support from that area of the shoe, which you will need when precariously standing on little, itty bitty edges on the rock face. 

You’ll want to watch out when edging however. On especially polished rock. These sorts of rock textures can be found in Seneca in the Blue Ridge Mountains or in Carderock in the Washington DC area. The Trax has a hard time gripping these surfaces. Granted, these textures are pretty advanced, so you might not be doing them as a higher up beginner. 

The Trax rubber still isn’t going to be as good as a Vibram Rubber or even the C4 rubber, but it still holds pretty well for a beginner shoe. 

Sometimes you will be climbing an overhang where the rock face has an incline and you are forced to lean backwards during most of the climb. The Nighthawks don’t do particularly well edging in those scenarios unless you are on a much moderate overhang. One that doesn’t require you to lean back so much. 

The edge of the actual rubber on the outside of the shoe is pretty sharp and comes to somewhat of a point, making it that much better of an edging shoe.


The Nighthawk is a relatively good climbing shoe for climbing in pockets. The Trax rubber does a great job at gripping on to precarious pockets that might be too shallow for other climbing shoes to get a stable grip on. 

Though the grip is good, you may want to find a pointier shoe that will fit into pockets better and also grab on with its pointed design. 

A more aggressive shoe will probably be your best bet as well, since really the only thing the Nighthawk has going for it when talking about pocket climbs is its sen-grippy rubber. This is a big factor, but you will need a couple of other features to have a shoe that will pocket climb really well. 

Crack Climbing

You can definitely use this for crack climbing. However you will have to size them really well to be able to do this. You want a more aggressive downturn for pockets as was mentioned before, but the downturn is aggressive enough that it will help you while climbing in a crack. 

You do want a slight downturn for crack climbing, as this gives the shoe overall support. However, you do want a flat design so that your weight can be distributed really well because usually you use more of your foot in the crack. For edging, you typically try to use only the front toe or front part of your foot because that is all that will fit onto those smaller ledges. 

With pockets, depending on the depth of the pocket, you are also only using the front part of your foot. 

However, with cracks in the rock face, more of your foot usually goes into the crack and therefore you need more support from other parts of the shoe rather than just the toe or front part of your climbing shoe. 

The sole is pretty thick so you should get a good amount of support from this part of the shoe alone. 


The Trax rubber has good durability and is thick enough to be good at edging, but it’s also a softer rubber than other climbing shoes that have similar performance. This means that you will be able to feel the rock face much better because of this soft rubber while at the same time performing tougher technical skills. 

Is the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe Comfortable?

Comfortable Even With Higher Performance

For a higher performing shoe, the Nighthawk is really comfortable. It doesn’t have that long of a break in period so you will be able to do a higher number of climbs in a short period immediately following your purchase. 

Also, the shoe’s comfort means you won’t have to take a break in between pitches because they are built for all day comfort. 

These climbing shoes have a good bit of padding in them and even the straps are pretty comfortable. 

Superior Lace System

Since they have a lace system instead of a velcro system, you can adjust the fit with a much finer detail and so your comfort will be a lot higher since you can control it to a higher degree than climbing shoes that only have velcro straps.

You can also stand in these shoes while belaying and be really comfortable. Not only is it because of the less aggressive downturn, but it’s because the rubber is tough enough to give support like a normal shoe. 

A lot of the padding is concentrated in the toe so there is a good bit of comfort there as well. 

The toe box contributes a lot to the comfort as well. Your toes should be really well spread out and not scrunched up as some other climbing shoes do. 

Does the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe Have Good Fit?

True to Size

These climbing shoes are pretty true to size. You may still have to size up or down about half a size, but typically you can almost get the same size as your normal walking shoe and have them fit pretty snugly. 

You still have to consider that these will stretch a little bit. However the upper is a mix of real leather and synthetic, so that prevents it from stretching too much. It will stretch, however usually the material will stretch as much as it can, and then it will retract slightly and usually it does great at conforming to the foot. 

A good idea if you want better performance is to downsize this shoe another half size down. Since it already has a really great fit it won’t be overly tight and uncomfortable if you do this. 

As many other climbing shoes do, the Nighthawk does have a problem with fitting people with wider feet. However, since the Nighthawk does have a good true to size fit, it may be a better shoe for people with wider feet than other climbing shoes. 

Laces Create a Much Better Fit

Not always, but for the most part, laces are a huge part of getting your climbing shoe to fit your foot more precisely than velcro straps.

Although there are velcro strap systems that provide very similar fit to laces, you are usually going to get the best fit from a lace closure system. 

Good Heel Fit

You may feel some “heel-farts” when you first purchase the shoes, but as the leather and synthetic material stretch and conform, you should feel a better fit after a little while. 

That being said, once the fit begins to take place, you should feel the heel of the shoe cup your foot pretty well. This also should allow for some pretty good heel hooking. You won’t be able to do it to the technical level that higher end climbing shoes do, but it will still be great for trying to level up your skills to get to that point. 

Does the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe Have Good Value?

If you are an intermediate climber and are looking to level up your skills, this climbing shoe has really good value for money. 

Many shoes that have similar performance ability are double the price.

Some of these shoes have good reason to be that much more expensive, especially those that are aggressively downturned. These shoes offer tons of support and amplify most skills that you are trying to perform.

However with more aggressive downturns, beginners and even early intermediates may not be able to handle the tough, rigid feel of these more high performing shoes. 

Pros and Cons of the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe


  • Comfortable
  • Beginner Shoe


  • Smells

How does the Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe Compare?

Nighthawk VS Supra

The fit of the Nighthawk is going to be superior to the fit of the Supra because of its Lace Closure system. Usually these are better than the velcro straps on the Supra.

However, the Supra does have 3 different velcro straps, which increases its adjustability by a lot. Most climbing shoes have only one or two velcro straps. 

The Nighthawk is surpassed by the Supra when considering overall performance. The Supra is a higher end shoe that lets you edge, pocket, and crack climb a little better than the Nighthawk. 

Nighthawk VS Kronos

The Kronos is a much higher performing shoe than the Nighthawk. Its edging and pocket capabilities come from it’s superior rubber, and the comfort level from the shape of the shoe. 

Also, the fit is going to be almost on par with the Nighthawk because, even though it only has two straps, one of those velcro straps is attached to the Kronos with a hook and loop system, which employs straps along with the velcro piece to get a better, more precise fit. 

Nighthawk VS Defy

The performance portion of these two climbing shoes are very similar. Though in each of the categories, edging, pockets, crack climbing, etc, both shoes don’t score very highly. But both should let beginner intermediates practice these skills pretty thoroughly until they are competent enough to get a higher performing shoe that will truly let them practice these more advanced skills. 

But where the Nighthawk passes the Defy is in its sensitivity. The rubber on the Nighthawk is just a little softer than the Defy and should allow you to feel the rock face much better than the Evolv Defy. 

What’s the Verdict on Evolv Nighthawk Climbing Shoe?

Middling Performance, but Great Starter Shoe

You should be able to begin leveling up your climbing shoe game with the Nighthawk. Not only does this shoe keep the comfort that you as a beginner are probably used to, but the technical skills that you want to work on can be performed pretty well in this climbing shoe, such as edging and crack climbing. 

Also, the comfort level coupled with the middling performance should allow you to climb in your shoes all day. Most of the time you have to either cut your climbing stint short because of the eventual discomfort, but with the Nighthawk climbing shoes you should be able to go on multiple pitches in a day rather than cut your trip short or have to take a lot of breaks in between. 

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