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Evolv Makes Climbing Affordable for Adaptive Climbers

By: Seiji Ishii - August 10, 2017

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The Evolv Adaptive Foot and matching Eldo-Z shoe lower the entry point for the adaptive athlete to have a climbing specific prosthetic foot and shoe set up by an outstanding margin. Established adaptive climber and record holder Craig DeMartino expressed his frustration at the astronomical cost for an aspiring adaptive athlete to obtain a prosthetic foot and shoe ($1,250+, not covered by insurance), with Evolv brand manager Matthew Hulet, and the EAF project was born.

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The most striking aspect of the EAF is the size; the matching Eldo-Z shoe looks like a kid’s climbing shoe at first glance. The small form factor is designed to limit uncontrollable rotation; there are about 30 degrees of free rotation that happen due to the suspension system that attaches the prosthetic lower leg to the amputated limb. The short length of the foot decreases the arc that the toes will make when lifted off the hold. Also obvious is the heft of the EAF, it seems heavy for the size, weighing 1 lb, 4.6 oz; DeMartino explained that the “swing” weight is required to maintain control, anything light would skitter about and be difficult to control. Plastic resin is used for the body of the foot while the hardware is surgical aluminum, both chosen for their inherent strength correct weight.

Prosthetic feet made for walking usually have heels that flex under load and return the energy to the foot for the lift off. The EAF is designed to be rigid as any flex would detract from the loading force keeping the shoe rubber adhered to the hold. When questioned whether this engineered rigidity offered enhanced feel, DeMartino explained that there is no feel at the foot and that using footholds is an entirely visual action, and he is continually surprised at the effectiveness of the EAF to stay on holds without any real feeling.

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The shape of the EAF addresses specific needs of the adaptive climber. The arch is aggressive and placed far forward, compensating for the lack of ability to point the foot down at the ankle. The climber can use the curvature of the arch to hook a hold and rock over to be standing on the edge. The Eldo-Z shoe (3.9 oz) fits the EAF exactly and augments the functional shaping. Extended rands on both toe and heel allow enhanced hooking, both around corners and in the normal vertical direction. Laces were chosen over hook and loop straps to ensure as tight a fit as the climber feels in necessary to eliminate slippage.

The hardware used for attaching the EAF to the prosthetic leg was carefully chosen to ensure compatibility with any leg.

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Evolv doesn’t make a profit from the EAF and Eldo-Z, pricing the combination at $250, drastically lowering the point of entry for adaptive athletes seeking the challenges and lifestyle that climbing can supply. DeMartino is obviously proud of his and Evolv’s successful project but is quick to credit the other team members: Matthew Hulet, brand manager, Ronnie Dickson, Evlov sponsored adaptive athlete and Malcolm Daly, prosthetics designer.

evlovsports.comMSRP: Evolv Adaptive Foot $200.00, Eldo-Z shoe $50.00

PHOTOS: Climbing images courtesy of BearCam Media

About the Author

Seiji Ishii

Seiji Ishii

Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure based motorcycle testing contributor at multiple outlets, and as an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.


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