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Evolv - Limited Edition Kai Lightner Signature Shaman Climbing Shoe

Evolv Limited Edition Kai Lightner Signature Shaman Climbing Shoe

34% Off
$104.95 $159.95

Item #EVL001J



Tech Specs

Upper Material:
1.5mm half length
TRAX High Friction Rubber
Asymmetrical Curvature:
Claimed Weight:
[single, size 9] 9.5oz
Recommended Use:
sport climbing
Manufacturer Warranty:
limited lifetime

Limited Edition Kai Lightner Signature Shaman Climbing Shoe

Chris Sharma's classic Shaman takes on a new name this year: Kai Lightner. This Limited Edition Kai Lightner Signature Shaman Climbing Shoe is Evolv's engineered shoe for agile and versatile climbers and is equipped with extra rubber for more toe-hooking and heel-hooking. The Shamans have a synthetic upper so it will maintain its shape and size long into use. The moderate downturn will keep you on fierce routes, and the hook-and-loop closure will keep these shoes on your feet while you're pulling that over-the-head heel-hook you need to top out.

  • High-performance climbing shoe designed with crushers in mind
  • Ideal for bouldering and sport climbing on steep, overhung walls
  • Downturned with knuckle toe box for precise placing
  • Thick high-friction rubber on toe, sole, and heel for sticking moves
  • Hook-and-loop closure for tight, supportive fit

Not a bad shoe

    I have wider feet. I wear a 10.5 or so in the Evolv Defy, so I ordered these in 11.5. On first wear they were painful in the toes to where I could only have them on for a few minutes. After a few uses, I've gotten used to the toe area, but the heel still digs into the back of my ankle. I can't really walk in them much yet. If they stretch just a touch more and the ankle wears in I think the fit will be good.
    On the wall, I don't really notice the discomfort. These grip small edges well. I haven't been able to smear as well as in my less aggressive shoes.

    Does not fit the same as the Shaman.

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

    I really really wanted to like these, but I'll stick with the regular Shaman instead. I have a rather wide foot, so I'm very particular about the shoe rand and making sure it's more of an HV shoe. I also haven't climbed in 8 years and now getting back into it with my son. In getting outfit I ordered about 4 pair of Shamans from Amazon to ensure the correct size and planned on ordering these While they were on sale. All I read was that it was the same shoe and would fit the same, so for a huge discount I felt the process of ordering and returning would be worth it. Size 10 Shaman fit amazingly for those with size 10 wide feet. The heal was a little loose but nothing I was worried about. The toe box was more important.

    So I ordered these and when trying them on for the first time I immediately knew something was different. EVERYTHING felt tighter. The toe box was crammed so my toes were overlapping, the heal cup was very snug, and my toes were ever so slightly curling at the tip of the shoe.

    I work from home so for 2.5 weeks I sat in my office trying to stretch these out a little to fit like the OG Shaman. Nearly 3 hours a day of pain. I started getting blisters by my ankle from just sitting in my office and had to start cramming cotton under the corners of my toenails to keep them from cutting my adjacent toes.

    I finally had enough and took them to the gym for a side by side comparison with actual Blue and Orange Shamans and noticed a few clear differences. The normal Shaman fit just like the pair I ordered from Amazon, but not the Kai Lightner (KL). Things to note, the toe box is narrower, slightly and this may have something to do with the toe of the shoe being more rounded on the KL, see pics. The heal cup is definitely more snug which I liked but there's something different in the KL that was causing the pain and blisters. It's the fact that the finger straps for pulling them on are stitched on the inside of the shoe as opposed to being sewn between the layers of synthetic leather, so the edges of the strap that are hard and sharp cut into your ankle, again see pics.

    All in all, I still believe in the quality of Evolv shoes and ethics of the company, such as the variety of vegan shoes. I wore them 8 years ago and am going to buy the regular OG Shamans. I can't speak to the performance of these shoes, since I never could climb in them, let alone sit around the office with them. But, if you are looking for a Shaman with a unique color, or find them at discount and think you'll be getting a Shaman in the Kai Lightner, you are, but they definitely will not fit the same.

    So ultimately I gave the Kai Lightner a 3 star rating simply due to the odd fit and misrepresentation of the product in any and all descriptions I've read about it. I can't speak to its performance to those whose feet fit in it, so I will not grade it down in those aspects. If it's like any of their other shoes I've worn in the past it is likely an awesome shoe, for somebody else.

    I did contact Evolv and they are a great company and hooking me up to make sure I get what I expected from these shoes. This one was a clear miss however.

    Does not fit the same as the Shaman.


    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    These are my second pair of Shamans and I love them! They are an aggressive shoe, however you can still do a wide variety of climbing. Steep stuff they really shine but they are pretty decent on slab climbs too.
    My last pair of Shamans I used for two years of pretty consistent gym and outdoor climbing before one of them got a hole in the toe box. These shoes are durable, stiff, and overall a rad shoe. I would highly recommend them.

    Great Shoe

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I love this shoe! They're grippy all over. I like the softer more grippy rubber on these compared to the late orange Shaman model. It's been a great gym shoe!

    Love the shamans

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Love these shoes. Got my street size (7.5) and they felt really uncomfortable and tight for 2 weeks. Ive been climbing in them for about 2 months now and they feel perfect. Nice aggressive shoe, great for overhangs. Love the colors of the kai lightner edition compared to the regular shamans.

    My favorite shoe

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Ordered a half size down (10) from my original Shamans (10.5) because of a little heel dead space. Street shoe size is 10.5. They fit and perform great, couldn't ask for a better fitting shoe!

    Comfortable once broken in

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Order a full size up. Love the 2nd color option from the orange and blue one. The synthetic upper isn't going to stretch, nor is the overall length, but the shoe will soften, which is what the break in is accomplishing in the case of these. You have to get the length correct and make sure the shape fits the contour of your toes.

    To address some recommendations I commonly see, these are not beginner shoes. I've heard that suggested a few times, and it's simply ridiculous. These are aggressively cambered which is going to be awful for new climbers. Secondly, they have an extremely thick sole which is not good for beginners who need to work on footwork. As a result, they are not a sensitive shoe but they can edge as good as most anything I've ever tried. They are nothing short of confidence inspiring on tiny edges and not just on steep terrain, they're incredible for micro edges on slabs and vertical routes. That stiffness with rubber on the top and bottom makes them incredibly good at heel and toe hooking as well. The primary sacrifice IMO is in smearing where a softer shoe is generally greatly appreciated. But, they're still usable in all departments so don't rule them out, they're just not going to act like slippers on smeary stuff. I haven't tried, but I could see these being good for thin cracks, or mixed crack and face routes, where the velcro isn't going to be a huge issue.

    Break in, they hurt at first, a lot. The toe box is fairly low volume so expect pressure from all sides. This is something that beginners and intermediate level climbers will likely not have experienced unless they've jumped into aggressive or under-sized shoes before. I have a medium-wide and fairly flat foot and the first few times I could only stand to wear these for 10 - 20 minutes and that was pushing it. Out of the box I almost returned them because of the top pressure. After about 3 sessions I could do a full hour as long as my nails are properly trimmed and I don't do something stupid like accidentally kick the wall. As the shoe softens, one can expect to be able to handle much longer sessions assuming the toe box is the correct shape of the climbers foot. In my case, like most evolv shoes, the shape of the shoe has almost the perfect curve for my toes.

    The closure is excellent but actually overkill IMO. I could climb in these without any velcro, a single top strap would be sufficient for me. I'm not coming out of them period.

    As already stated, they are phenomenal for toe and heel hooking. However, the heel is fairly low volume compared to shoes like Anasazi VCS. If you have a very deep heel, these may not feel right, I could see these being too low volume for some feet. But if they fit, they can hook like no other. This was one of the primary reasons I ordered these and I'm not disappointed, just an incredible amount of power with these.

    So, overall, they're a great aggressive shoe if they are sized correctly and if they fit your foot. They're one of the only aggressive shoes that fit my flat-ish feet well, There's some 5.10's and Boreal that I like, but Sportivas are almost all horrible for me. I can't comment yet on durability, it seems like a mixed bag of they'll last forever and I blew through them in 2 months. If you have careful and deliberate footwork, I can't see these being short lived. There's just too much rubber to go through. They occasionally go on sale, so watch for that, but if they fit your foot, they should be a great aggressive shoe for sport, bouldering, and the gym.

    Thanks for the info. Did you notice any difference in the toe hooking rubber on the red rubber? Also, have you tried the Oracles


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