Evolv Cruzer Shoe Review

Intro

Evolv Sports is an environmentally friendly climbing shoe company based in the United States. They were founded only in 2003. However, in a little over a decade, they have gained critical and popular acclaim for their technical rock climbing shoes to their performance casual footwear.

The Cruzer is meant to be a minimalist, casual, climbing shoe that you can wear all day, from scrambling up a rock face to traveling around town. As climbing shoes, Evolv describes them as a mix between approach and rock shoes.

Their look is somewhat reminiscent of Toms shoes, a far cry from the typical hyper technical climbing shoe. But don’t be mistaken, they are definitely built with performance in mind.

While the Cruzers have become somewhat known to the parkour community, they haven’t really become all that popular. Read the rest of the review to find out more.

Comfort

The Cruzers fit very snugly on your feet and are designed to be barefoot friendly. They have a microfiber lining throughout and a memory foam insole. However, they are minimalist shoes and have no real arch support. At least for me, this results in a shoe that is quite comfortable, but if you are looking for more support these are not the shoes for you.

The Cruzers come with a split tongue, which isn’t all that common. For those that aren’t familiar with them, a split tongue prevents the tongue from sliding to one side of the shoe. I can’t say that this is a huge problem for me when doing parkour, but it is a nice feature nonetheless.

Another point worth mentioning is that the Cruzers were designed to be able to be slipped on. The heel is not rigid at all. You can easily bend it to slip them on very easily and you can keep the heel folded down and use them as a sort of slipper. The heels have pull tabs as well though this seems to be more for clipping them on to a pack or such.

The canvas upper comes with medial vents and provides good breathability. The toe area is somewhat lacking in this area though. There is not much water resistance to speak of. If it’s raining heavily they could soak through.

Finally, the Cruzers have a more narrow fit, but it is not very pronounced in my opinion.

Flexibility / Sensitivity

The flexibility of the shoes is excellent. For comparison, they are a little stiffer than Feiyues, but substantially more flexible than traditional running shoes. The same goes for sensitivity.

Cushioning

There is minimal padding and minimal shock absorption. These shoes definitely will not help you very much when taking drops or with other impact moves.

Weight

Given the minimalist nature of the Cruzers, you would be correct in assuming that they are very light. For a men’s size 9(US), the Cruzers come in at a svelte 7.7 ounces. As far as parkour shoes go, you won’t find many lighter than these, and they are the lightest that have been reviewed on this site so far.

Grip

The Cruzers use Evolv’s very sticky TRAX rubber. The grip is solid on pretty much all surfaces. It is spectacularly good on brick, and what it was designed for of course, any rocky terrain. The shoes really shine doing wall runs and climb ups.

Durability

Despite being built for climbing, I don’t expect amazing durability. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t tested the Cruzers for long enough. The build quality is solid, but I am concerned about some of the canvas areas under high stress. Overall, I imagine the durability will turn out to be about average as far as parkour shoes go.

Recap

Evolv’s Cruzers definitely fill a niche in the parkour world. The grip is excellent, they are incredibly lightweight, the build quality is decent, and they are more than flexible and sensitive enough. Unfortunately, with a growing selection of minimalist shoes on the market, and the much cheaper Feiyues available, I think most people are going to opt for the Feiyues without giving them a shot.

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Note: Pay extra attention to the sizing. Evolv provides a good chart to go off of.

Parkour Backpacks: The Ultimate Guide

One of the good things about parkour is that relatively little gear is needed to practice. All you really need is a good pair of shoes and some loose athletic clothing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some products that can be very useful or enhance performance. Backpacks fall into the very useful category. When practicing parkour, it is common to move from one location to another. This makes carrying anything you want with you at a certain location, but not necessarily in your pockets a chore. This is where having a good parkour bag or rucksack comes into play.

Here are some of my favorites that I can recommend.

Fastbreak Parkour Aerial Pack (Medium)

Fastbreak-Aerial-Parkour-Backpackclick here to view the price

Fastbreak’s Parkour Aerial Pack is the only purpose built parkour and freerunning bag in production that I know of. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it does pack some interesting features. With a ten liter capacity, the Aerial has enough room for the essentials without being bulky. There is a larger size for those looking for more space, but I recommend the medium. The Aerial has a very wide, snug chest strap. It does an excellent job of mitigating any movement, which is the biggest problem in finding a good parkour backpack. The waist strap is detachable.

Inside, content organization is good and features some nice touches like a bottle holder and smartphone pocket. There are a variety of outside compartments and attachment points as well.

The quality of the construction of the bag is quite good. Mesh is liberally used in the shoulder pads and back to provide excellent breathability, a rare feature on backpacks in general. It is possible to roll with the Aerial Pack though you will need to be careful about damaging the internal contents of the pack. The back also has no padding. This means you will need to organize items in a fashion so that they won’ be uncomfortable pressing into your back.

Overall, the Aerial Pack is an easy recommendation if you are looking for a higher end, premium backpack. The slick, lightweight design, good durability, and excellent ergonomics certainly justify the higher price in my mind.

Camelbak Hydration Packs

CamelbakHydrationPackclick here to view Camelbak hydration packs

Given the relatively few parkour specific products on the market, it makes sense to turn to products designed for other sports or activities that use similar movements. Running is an obvious comparison. Designed with runners and hikers in mind, Camelbak hydration backpacks with the water bladder removed (for extra space) have become a popular choice among parkour enthusiasts.

They are compact, hug the body, and do a much better job at not jostling around than many other backpacks. They sit relatively high on the back and have a highly adjustable suspension system that makes it easy to get a comfortable, secure fit. Even with the water bladder in (which can be useful depending on your training) there is still usually enough outer organization on the pack for the bare essentials. There are a ton of models with varying features so it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for.

Sling Type Parkour Bags

For whatever reason (Assassin’s Creed maybe?), many people want a parkour sling bag or messenger style bag. Unfortunately, the form factor just isn’t normally very good for parkour. However, I’ve come up with some alternatives worth taking a look at.

Runnur


click here to view the price

The Runnur is a bandoleer like shoulder strap. Described as a “messenger bag without the bag”, the Runnur has a variety of pockets and holders for things like phones, keys, wallets, and other small items. Despite the name, it is not actually meant for runners, but for traveling hiking, and commuting.

The Runnur is lightweight, and fairly well made, but not adequately secure in my opinion. I can’t help but think that the idea is better than what was actually executed. Nonetheless, it could be suitable depending on your needs or a great starting off point if you like modifying your gear.

Setgo Transport Bag

setgotransport

The Setgo Transport is another lightweight and low profile shoulder strap.  It features two front pockets and three layered pockets in the back, which can fit a surprising amount. Personally, I find the aesthetics to be more professional and a little less geeky than the Runnur. However, it is considerably more expensive than the Runnur.

Urban Tool sportHolster

UrbanToolSportHolsterclick here to view the price

Not a sling style bag, but certainly something a little different than a normal backpack. Urban Tool’s sport holster has enough room to fit a smartphone, keys, wallet, and maybe a small snack, but not much more. If you are just looking to get these out of your pockets, it should serve your needs well. It’s comfortable to wear, keeps everything from moving around, and doesn’t impede rolling.

Not satisfied with any of these recommendations? Here is what you need to pay attention to when evaluating backpacks for parkour.

Important Features to Look At

Ergonomic Fit – There are tons of backpacks, bags, slings, and more out there but most are completely unsuitable for athletic movements. Everyone knows how annoying and limiting it is to run with a bag on that moves around. You need to find something that you can secure tightly to your body.

Lightweight – Any extra weight will obviously hamper your parkour abilities. Carry only what you need and make sure that it is as balanced as possible.

Compact – Weight isn’t the only issue, as carrying something bulky can be a safety hazard. You don’t want any loose straps or parts of a bag to get caught on anything.

Durable – Parkour is pretty brutal on any gear. Find something durable so you don’t waste any money having to buy the same thing over and over again.

Why Do People Use Parkour Backpacks?

Wondering just what everyone else is putting in their bags? Here’s a small list of common items traceurs might carry.

  • A bottle of water
  • Snacks
  • Car/house keys
  • Cell phone
  • Camera gear
  • Wallet
  • Extra clothes
  • Basic first aid items

Asics Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Shoe Review

Intro

At first glance, most people probably wouldn’t think that Asics’ Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81s would make a good parkour shoe. Nonetheless, they have become a very popular, highly regarded choice inside the parkour community. At every large jam, there is a good chance of seeing at least someone wearing a pair. If you ask for a parkour shoe recommendation on any forum or site, they are sure to pop up among the list of suggestions.  And all of this praise is not undeserved.

As a parkour shoe, the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81s have no real weakness. They aren’t the best at any one thing; they aren’t the grippiest, lightest, or most sensitive shoe.  However, Asics has created an overall product greater than the sum of its parts, and one of the best parkour shoes on the market.

Read the rest of the review to find out why.

Comfort

The fit of the Ultimate 81s is fairly snug. I have heard them described as slipper like, which I think has some merit. Overall, they are quite comfortable and I have no complaints. They do take a little while to break in though and the arch support is not everyone’s favorite. The toe area is mesh and breathes very well (note: there is also a non-mesh version available). If you have a very wide foot, these might be too narrow for you, as they run slightly on the narrow side.

Flexibility / Sensitivity

The Ultimate 81s have a thin sole, at least compared to traditional running shoes. I find the sensitivity to be great, though everyone will have a different opinion. The shoes strike a good balance between super minimalist shoes and regular running shoes. While you won’t be able to roll the shoes up or fold them in half like with some Vibrams or Feyiues, they are flexible in the areas that they need to be, particularly the toe area. From the middle of the shoe to the heel is much stiffer.

Cushioning

If you are used to well-padded running shoes, the lack of cushioning in the Tigers will be dramatic. The cushioning is not great and this should be fairly obvious from just looking at them. While this is actually a selling point for many experienced traceurs, if you are looking for lots of protection and shock absorption, than these are not the shoes for you. The relatively minimal cushioning makes them an excellent choice if you want to try a more minimalist shoe, but are not ready to try something like Feyiues.

Note: The insoles are glued into the shoe.

Weight

For a men’s size 9(US), the Tigers come in at 11 ounces. Personally, they feel a lot lighter than this when wearing them though. I think this might have to do with their snug fit. Compared to everything but lightweight running shoes, they can hardly be considered heavy. It is easy to forget that you are even wearing them.

Grip

Like you want with a good parkour shoe, the sole of the Tiger is completely flat and one continuous piece. There are no plastic pieces that will cause you to slip or individual segments that will rip off. The grip isn’t good enough that it will markedly improve performance, but it is solid. And grip is good across a wide variety of surfaces. The pattern that you see above can wear down quite a bit, but the grip performance remains good even as it does.

Durability

The Ultimate 81’s are definitely well made. In fact, they are deceptively durable. I did not expect them to last very long at all and have been pleasantly surprised. I have had several pairs now both for parkour and casual use and I can’t personally point to any particular flaw. However, some have reported that the mesh toe area can develop tears.

Recap

f you are looking for a remarkably well balanced, affordable, parkour shoe leaning towards a more minimalist style, Asics Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81s are an excellent choice. Their low price compared to higher end running shoes and excellent durability makes them great value for the money.

Personally, I am a fan of the aesthetics as well, which is a nice bonus compared to many other parkour shoes. They come in a ton of different colors and are something you can wear when you’re not doing parkour.

I have tried to be impartial and take into account different training styles in this review, but overall, the Ultimate 81s are my favorite parkour shoes that I have ever tested. Give them a shot, you probably won’t be disappointed.

Best Parkour Socks: 5 Recommendations

Yes, you read the title correctly. Socks. Socks are an often overlooked item that can make a big difference, at relatively little cost. It should be telling that many runners and other athletes obsess over them. The right pair of socks can not only make running and engaging in parkour more comfortable, but protect your feet from blisters and other ailments.

There is certainly nothing wrong with regular cotton socks if they are working for you. However, generic cotton socks don’t wick away moisture, have a good anatomical fit, or provide the same level of protection that athletic socks made with specialized blends and synthetic fibers do.

So what are my picks for the five best parkour socks?

For the Summer

Drymax Hot Weather Run Mini Crew SocksDrymax-Hot-Weather-Run-Mini-Crew-Socks

In many ways, these socks are comparable to other running socks in regards to fit, comfort, etc. However, where they differentiate themselves is in how well they deal with sweat. Let’s face it, parkour can be very intensive and cause you to sweat a lot. Socks tend to become saturated in sweat because we have a high concentration of sweat glands in our feet. These socks are absolutely fantastic at wicking away moisture. Even during extended physical training in blistering heat they manage to keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable.

For the Winter

Swiftwick Pursuit FourSwiftwick-Pursuit-Four-Sock

Made of a merino wool, lycra, and nylon blend, Swiftwick’s Pursuit Four line achieves the delicate balance of keeping your feet warm and insulated, but not sweaty. They are also long enough to bridge the gap between your shoes and pants, which is useful for colder weather. Also, these are compression socks so they won’t move around, including the cuff.

For the Minimalist

Wigwam Venti ProWigwam-Venti-Pro-Socks

The Venti Pros are super lightweight, thin, acrylic socks that allow for great sensitivity. If you want to wear socks, but not have it feel like you are, these are a great choice. An open mesh top ensures great breathability and helps keep them dry. Chitosan, a biopolymer derived from the shells of crab and shrimp, is utilized to combat odor.

For the Best Fit

Brooks Infiniti Double Tab MeshInfiniti-Double-Tab-Mesh-Socks

Brooks’ Infiniti Double Tab Mesh socks provide an anatomically correct left/right fit that follows the contours of your foot almost perfectly. If you are looking for socks that cradle your feet comfortably, these are it. There are small padded strips on top of the foot, but I haven’t found they really do all that much, good or bad.

For Superior Blister Protection

Injinji Run 2.0Injinji-Run-Toesocks

Toe socks may take some time to get used to, but they offer a huge advantage for blister protection. Since each toe is isolated from each other, friction is nearly eliminated. They can be a little annoying to put on because of this, and fit might be an issue for some people with abnormally shaped toes. People either tend to love or hate toe socks, but they are definitely worth giving them a try if you haven’t used them before.

Best Parkour Headphones: Yurbuds Inspire Pro Review

You want to listen to music while you train parkour. Maybe just for enjoyment or to help boost athletic performance, but you have a problem. Your earphones just keep falling out, or you keep breaking pair after pair. Both are common occurrences if you just grab any old pair. After all, average earphones aren’t made to stay put when running, jumping, and rolling. Nor are they made to tolerate being exposed to sweat and rain.

In fact, it’s going to be difficult for any earphones to stand up to the rigors of parkour, but there are some that will put up a better fight than most. And I’ve finally found what I would consider the best parkour headphones.

Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro EarphonesYurbuds Earphones

Technical Specifications
15mm speaker
Dynamic driver
20Hz-20kHz frequency response
Neodymium magnet
3 Button remote + mic
4ft cord
Click here for more specs

Yurbuds might be a brand that you have never heard of before. They are a relatively new company that specializes in producing earphones for athletic and outdoor activities. Interestingly, they’ve used parkour athletes in several past promotional pieces. Anyways, are the Inspire Pros actually any good for parkour?

FitYurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro

The Yurbuds have a unique ear tip design. They use what Yurbuds calls “Twist-Lock” technology. After you insert the earphones, you are supposed to twist them so that the rubber edges lock in. The marketing of this is kind of gimmicky, but it actually does work. The fit is secure and stable, much more so then regular earphones. The silicone tips they use are very grippy and won’t come out easily. And unlike many other sport headphones, they achieve this without any annoying ear hooks or clips.

As a side note, make sure the cord is tucked away good, you don’t want these things to be ripped out.

Comfort

Given the strange shape of the tips and promise of a super secure fit, I did not expect the Yurbuds to be very comfortable. However, I was pleasantly surprised, as they are quite comfortable to wear. A few hours of training with them should be no problem. They come with somewhat oversized tips which helps avoid pressure points.

Sound Quality

If you are expecting audiophile sound quality, you are going to be disappointed. The sound quality of the Yurbuds is acceptable, but they certainly aren’t going to win any awards. Given what they are designed for, I am willing to overlook some deficiency in sound quality. Personally, they are more than passable for wearing while training to me, but they aren’t something I would wear at home all the time to listen to music.

The Yurbuds don’t isolate noise all that well; they allow enough ambient sound in so that you can be aware of your surroundings. They were designed this way intentionally and this is a selling point to me, but if you are looking to block out all noise (I think a bad idea), these are not for you.

Durability

I don’t foresee any real problems with durability. Overall, build quality is decent, although a few details could be better. For instance, there are no strain reliefs for the cord. On the plus side, the Yurbuds are sweat and water resistant and the cable is Kevlar reinforced. The Yurbuds are also inexpensive enough that you won’t be devastated if they do get destroyed, but I would expect them to last a good while barring any unfortunate accidents.

Bottom Line

The Yurbuds make good on their promise not to fall out. If you are looking for a pair of earphones that don’t budge, are comfortable to wear, have reasonable durability, and okay audio quality, the Yurbuds should certainly be considered.

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