This time last year Craig DeMartino and Matt Hulet were driving to Chris Sharma’s launch party at Sender One in L.A. and were
discussing adaptive climbing. “Hulet asked me what one of the biggest challenges for amputee climbers was,” says Craig DeMartino, a professional adaptive
climber and coach based in Colorado, “I told him the [specialized prosthetic] foot was really expensive, and when I taught folks to climb, they wanted
the same kind I used but the price kept people away.”
That conversation with Hulet, Brand Manager for Evolv, sparked a yearlong
design project, and last month Evolv revealed the result with the release of the company’s new Adaptive Foot, designed to be an affordable option for lower-limb amputees wanting to get into or improve their climbing.
High manufacturing costs and insurance charges, often reaching thousands of dollars, mean that sport-specific prosthetics are economically infeasible and
a barrier for most adaptive climbers.
“I was going to national level events, and seeing amputees climb with cut 2 × 4’s and some rubber glued to it being used as climbing feet,” Hulet stated
in a press release. “I knew we had to find a better option.”
Evolv has had a longstanding relationship with the adaptive climbing community, and counts more than a dozen adaptive athletes on its elite, national and
international teams. The company worked closely with several adaptive athletes, including Demartino, Ronnie Dickson [see video below] and Malcolm Daly,
when designing and testing the Adaptive Foot.
In 2007 Evolv partnered with TRS Prosthetics to develop the Eldorado Z-Axis Climbing Foot and Eldo Z climbing shoe. However the entry price for this foot, which is classed as a medical prosthetic, is around $1,200 and is
not covered by insurance, rendering it unattainable to many.
Hulet, who has a personal interest in adaptive climbing through his work with amputee veterans, was a driving force in bringing the Adaptive Foot to market.
He says “The design was not the main challenge; the bigger challenge was to make the Adaptive Foot affordable. Normal prosthetic feet cost between
$1,000 and $1,400 and are not covered by insurance. This instantly closes off climbing to a large number of amputees and adaptive climbers.”
At $200, the Adaptive Foot is priced with no major profit margin and will only be available directly through Evolv, not through third-party retailers,
in order to keep the cost low. It is also not officially classed as a prosthetic, which helps minimize cost. It is designed to be light and unrestrictive,
and to increase performance on the rock. The combination of the foot shell and Evolv’s Eldo Z shoe, which fits it perfectly and features sticky Trax
rubber, allows climbers to use their feet on all varieties of terrain.
Features of the Adaptive Foot, according to the company, include: a short overall…