Kyle Ng‘s Brain Dead and performance outdoor footwear brand Evolv have joined forces for a charity-focused Zenist climbing shoe. A result of the friendship between Ng — a noted climbing enthusiast — and Evolv athlete Ashima Shiraishi, the Zenist is a lightweight, high feedback climber that’s awash in Brain Dead’s signature bright colors and bold logos.
Constructed of vegan synthetic material, the upper molds to the wearer’s foot over time and blends sandy, earthy oranges, greens and blues with sporty blue and purple detailing on and around the throat. Branding is provided by Ashima’s name in retro font on the Velcro fit system, text hits on the doubled-up heel tabs and climbing-centric Brain Dead graphics on the lateral and medial quarters. A gridded black overlay sits atop the toebox for extra durability, and the downturned shape ensures the wearer’s foot stays in a proper climbing position.
“Ashima and Kyle suggested that we do a collaboration together and we were so psyched we didn’t even hesitate,” said Evolv founder Brian Chung. “Since we’re going to do a collaboration with a brand like Brain Dead and with Ashima, we wanted to step it up and make it on a new model that no one has ever seen before to make a splash in the market. This is definitely not your every day all-around climbing shoe, but it’s a sensitive and powerful performance shoe great for steep and competition climbing both indoors and outdoors.”
A charitable aspect is at play as well. Proceeds from the shoe will be split between six organizations that make climbing more accessible to underserved communities — YWWC : Young Women Who Crush, Adaptive Climbing Group, DEI Film Festival, Long Beach Uprising and Brown Girls Climbing — aiming to expand climbing’s global footprint both literally and figuratively.
“I’ve always felt that the climbing and outdoor industry could do more to embrace and promote inclusivity, and we could lead that,” Chung said. “Inclusivity to us means opening up climbing opportunities to everyone with different backgrounds, races, abilities/disabilities, and socio-economic situations by making the sport more accessible and also helping those who need more support. We believe that it’s important for us to try to make a meaningful difference in our own climbing community first to effect positive change.”
The Brain Dead x Evolv Zenist will be available for pre-order on the Evolv webstore June 26, and is priced at $160 USD.