Ahh … new boots. I peeled open the box that the Evolv Maximus Approach shoes came in and gave them a good once-over. My first impression – I wanted to like them. My second impression – I didn’t like them. And my third – I liked them.

Evolv Maximus approach shoes side detail

Admittedly,  I’ve never purchased a new pair of boots, opting instead to save money while also saving myself the trouble of breaking them in. I once found a well-worn pair of Asolo Gore-Tex boots in the wreckage of an REI garage sale for eighty-three cents that fit like a glove and I still wear to this day. I also tend to shy away from mid or high-top boots and do one hundred percent of my backpacking in Gore-Tex trainers. The only time I break out a pair of full-ankle support boots is when I go climbing on glaciers and, honestly, I have even climbed glaciers in trainers.

So it was with some trepidation that I laced up the high-top Evolv Maximus boots for a quick dash up the four miles and three thousand vertical feet of Mount Si.

A mile in, I was already regretting them and wishing for my tried and true, properly-thrashed La Sportiva Wildcats. I stepped off the trail to take a break and tried cinching the laces down a bit tighter. Better, but I still had a fat pair of blisters way before reaching the top. Thankfully, on the way down the boot didn’t rub against my heals as much and I managed to survive, but not without having sworn a time or two at the poor Maximus’.

Evolv Maximus approach shoes back side detail

And so I was afraid to give them a second go. I didn’t like them.

But despite that trip I knew I had to take them out again in order to write up a fair review. So this time I took them for  a dash up neighboring Mailbox Peak, having already worn them in a bit around town after letting my blisters heal. They were slowly getting broken in and I could tell I was starting to like them. I liked the lacing system for sure. It was sort of a pain to dial in but once they were tied the boots were snug and the laces held fast, unlike the slipping routinely encountered with lace hooks.

So up Mailbox we went. And … no blisters!

Evolv Maximus approach shoes sole view (tread)

The soles were grippy and I realized these could work most excellent for their likely intended purpose of approaching crags like Exit 38. And maybe they were less a hiking boot than that, doubling as a tried and true rock climbing shoe with full-on ankle support. But it’s been a long time since I’ve climbed at Exit 38 or any other crag for that matter so I was testing them as more of a hiking boot that would let me scramble to the top of the haystack on Si and once broken in, as  all new boots must be they did that quite nice and proper.

Here’s what I came up with …

Evolv Maximus Pros

– comfortable once broken in
– stiffer-than-average and great for downhill rocky terrain like that encountered on the Si trail – or for scrambling
– wide fit allows for more breathing room in the toebox
– the lacing really cinches down snug and stays put

Evolv Maximus Cons

– The lacing. Despite the pro above I did not like the two tiny holes on each side that the laces threaded through. They were tight (good) but made it tough to unlace and get the boots off (kind of a pain). I’m not sure that I much prefer the quicker lace hooks. I did appreciate how snug the Maximus’ laced.

Evolv Maximus approach shoes top view

Bottom line, I liked them in spite of the blisters. They were comfortable and fit well, and the laces cinched up nice and tight. These easily worked as hiking boots to the top of the trail on Si and then with ease as more of a rock shoe for scrambling up the haystack to the true summit. However, for someone like me, opposed to high-top boots, I’d  check out one of Evolv’s low-top options like the Bolt or Cruzer, which would likely be more my speed.
Click to Purchase the Maximus Approach Shoe by Evolve Sports

Evolv Maximus Technical Data

Manufacturer: Evolv
Date available: Now
Manufacturer’s Website: evolvsports.com
MSRP: US$140.00
Materials: SOLE: TRAX® high friction trekking rubber, Split leather and mesh, nylon mesh lining
Size/Model tested: Evolv Maximus
Colors Available: Charcoal, Yellow

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