MadRock Shark 2.0 Review

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Assistant Manager for the Columbia store and avid climber, Ryan Gajewski, dishes out some pretty awesome hands on experience for the new MadRock Shark 2.0 climbing shoe!

Shark_OUTSIDE_Large

Over the past four months I have been testing the new MadRock Shark 2.0 climbing shoe. What is new this year is the split sole technology. The idea is to make the shoe more aggressive which aids in over hangs. I have found this to be the first time Mad Rock has put this technology in their shoes.
First things first, where were they tested? I tried to climb in multiple areas with different rock quality in order to get a real idea of how good the new style worked under different conditions.
I started in three gyms such as Boulder Gardens (Columbia, Mo), Upper Limits (St. Louis) and So Ill (St. Louis).

 

Outside locations included:
-Sandstone: Sam’s Throne, AR, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, AR, Obed/Clear Creek, TN and Eldorado Canyon, CO
-Granite: Leavenworth, WA
-Limestone: Providence, Warsaw , Wilton,  and Columbia, MO

Types of routes that were climbed:
Gyms:
-Sport climbing & Bouldering
Outside:
-Bouldering, Sport and Trad

Here is what I found.

Pros:
-Price point. Every other split sole shoe retails around +$180.00 making the modest $119.00 very attractive.
-Fit. They are a very true fit, meaning you don’t have to guess and go down two shoe sizes like a lot of other bands. This makes finding your fit a lot easier and less frustrating. I found I only downsized 1/2 my street shoe.
-Comfort. Most split soles are very aggressive, this means you usually have to sacrifice comfort. The mad rocks fit very well with a super comfortable heel, and even though your toe are curled there are no pressure spots.
-Aggressive. These shoes even feel confident before you leave the ground, especially on overhanging boulders, I found they were very helpful when powering through thin lip turns and wild heel hooks.

Cons:
-Heel “mowhawk” is a neat concept but it only works well on specific types of heel hooks. I found that it sometimes would pop my heel off the rock when doing very small, smearing heel hooks.
-The rubber is not as sticky as La Sportiva’s Vibram or 5.10’s stealth rubber.
-It’s pretty specialized, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but a new climber would not enjoy these because of their aggressiveness.

These shoes are the perfect buy for the climber who is ready to jump to a more aggressive shoe, but doesn’t want to blow their entire paycheck. I feel this shoe really comes alive on the boulder wall in the gym. The rubber is not as good as others, therefore I found myself reaching for my higher end Sportiva’s and Evolve’s while outside.
The Sharks are a must for the aspiring climber who wants a second more aggressive shoe but doesn’t want to break the bank. These shoes can cruise you up your 5.7 and V0 warmup and then take you to your 5.13 roof or V8 problem without a hitch. And, on a closing note, they also won editor’s choice in Climbing magazine!

Send hard,
Ryan Gajewski

 

Alpine Shop’s Pedorthist Picks Footwear for the Fall

Introducing Angie Bono, Alpine Shop’s certified pedorthist and senior bootfitter. (We’ll explain what that means in just a second.) We asked her to give us some background on what she does and what she likes for fall in the footwear department at Alpine Shop.

Where does my passion for helping people with their feet come from?

Angie Bono C.Ped.
Angie Bono – Certified Pedorthist and master morel hunter. Angie has helped hundreds of people across Missouri with all kinds of foot problems. Find out how she can help you today. (But, no, she won’t tell you where she found the morels.)

I have worked at Alpine Shop for 13 years. About three years into my employment here, the Shop sent me to a professional boot fitting class as part of its efforts to improve the quality of our service for our customers. That class taught me my first lessons about the biomechanics of the human foot, boot anatomy, how to dial in a fit and where the majority of common foot problems originate .

About the same time, my mom started having a terrible time with her feet, suffering from both plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome. She worked for 32 years at the phone company walking on concrete floors and climbing metal ladders. She always just wore a pair of simple white tennis shoes. Watching a loved one suddenly having to hobble around like an old woman because of excruciating pain just killed me.

Then a light went on: If I could help people with their feet through my job… Maybe they wouldn’t have end up with the same problems like my Mom!

I’ve spent the last eight years continuing to further my education and my skills regarding the footwear we sell here at Alpine Shop and the correct way to fit that footwear to best help our customers.

I’m now a Certified Pedorthist, which means I am a professional health care specialist dealing in the use of footwear and supportive devices to address conditions which affect the feet and lower limbs. I’m trained in the assessment of your lower limb anatomy and biomechanics, and also the appropriate use of corrective footwear, including shoes, shoe modifications, orthotics and other devices.

I’ve helped everyone from professional athletes to 70-year-old men just starting to hike to try to stay in shape. I’ve outfitted hundreds of boy scouts and helped many, many others along the way with everything from flip-flops to dress shoes. My passion is being able to help others with their feet. If I’d known back then what I know now, maybe I could have prevented my Mom’s problems from developing. Now, I’m here to help you!

Angie Bono C.Ped.

What’s cool this fall and winter in footwear?

Dansko Clog in fashionable, limited-time only colors
How about the paint splatter pair?

From my closet to yours:

One of my favorite days of the retail year is when we get in our new Danskos. If you don’t have a pair yet; they will change your life. Eight different Dansko collections carry the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of approval. (That means they have been found beneficial to foot health.) As Alpine Shop’s Certified Pedorthist, senior boot fitter, and general “I can totally help you with your feet!” person, I LOVE Danskos.

This season’s fall lineup of Danskos looks really, really nice. And, by the way, some of the colors are in limited edition!  Come in and get that pair of Paint Splatter; they won’t be here for long.

The North Face Back to Berkley Boot at Alpine Shop
TNF Back to Berkley Boot

The COOLEST Men’s Winter Boots

The North Face Back to Berkley 68. It speaks of The North Face’s History and roots. BUT it doesn’t just look cool; it’s loaded with sweet features and EXTRA RED LACES!
It has Primaloft® insulation to keep your feet warm, and looking good!
The bottom of the shoe (the outsole) is made out of a temperature activated rubber, that gets harder as the temperature gets lower. It’s called IcePick® technology, because the rubber becomes spiky points that dig in to slippery snowy or icy terrain.

So: Good looking, super warm, and it bites into the weather conditions.

Trail Running. Salomon is where it’s at.

Salomon XR Mission Trail Run shoe
Salomon XR Mission Trail Run Shoe (blue) for women

Introducing the Salomon XR Mission for Men and Women.

These shoes are designed for slightly less technical trails than some of the previous options we have carried from Salomon. It is absolutely perfect for harder packed surfaces, like well defined trails in drier weather. It is bulked up with all of the cushioning that would take you from light trail to road runs.

This shoe has “muscle,” and by muscle I mean three areas of scientifically placed cushion that roll you through heel strike, mid foot stance, and on your toe-off phase of gait.

Lastly this shoe has an amazing fore-foot fit. (Say that three times fast!) It’s new to Salomon and it’s called Sensi-Fit. It’s a stretchy area in the forefoot that helps fits medium to a wider fore-foot. More importantly it allows the forefoot to expand naturally upon impact.

So far this is my favorite new Salomon, just ordered my pair yesterday in this color:

That’s what’s hot for this fall in footwear!

Would You Help Us Put a Smile on a Child’s Face?

Operation Smile Bracelets from Sanuk
All profits from the sale of these bracelets goes toward helping Operation Smile put smiles on the faces of children born with cleft palate or cleft lip/

“SMILE, Pass it on!” That’s the tagline for one of Alpine Shop’s favorite footwear brands, Sanuk.

Sanuk wants to make people smile by being comfortable in their shoes all day long. Then, you can pass along that smile to the next person, and so on! Along these lines, Sanuk is working to help a not-for-profit called Operation Smile. Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity that provides free surgery for children born with a cleft palate, cleft lips or other facial deformity. These deformities do not need to go uncorrected. Operation Smile has a long history of changing kids’ lives by simply restoring a smile.

In order to help raise money for Operation Smile, we are selling the “Operation Smile, Pass It On” bracelets at all Alpine Shop locations and on-line at alpineshop.com. They are only 4 bucks, and Sanuk is donating 100% of it’s net profit of this wonderful organization.

So, come in, buy a bracelet, smile and pass it on!”

Free $52 Gift Certificate with Purchase of $148 of The North Face Through 11/6

The first six days of November will bring some great deals to fans of The North Face brand at Alpine Shop. From the first to the sixth, any purchase total of $148 made up entirely of The North Face merchandise will receive a $52 gift certificate good for anything in a future purchase at Alpine Shop.

The North Face Denali Jacket, Cat's Meow BX Sleeping Bag
Either one of these items from The North Face, the Denali Jacket (for men and women) and the Cat's Meow BX Sleeping Bag, will earn you a Free Gift Certificate.

So, whether you earn that FREE gift certificate with one TNF Denali Jacket or a Cat’s Meow BX Sleeping Bag;

The North Face Peruvian Corded Beanie, Half Dome Hoodie, Etip Gloves and 100 TKA Microvelour Pants
Add these items up (The North Face Peruvian Corded Beanie, Half Dome Hoodie, Etip Gloves and 100 TKA Microvelour Pants) and you hit your $148 target to a Free $52 Gift Certificate.

or maybe you spread the TNF joy out a little and grab a hat, pants, gloves and hoodie like this Peruvian Cable Beanie Cap, these TKA 100 Microvelour Women’s Pants, a pair of these Etip Gloves that enable you to use your touchscreen phone while still wearing your gloves, and finally this Half Dome Hoodie to fill out our bill and grab yourself a $52 gift certificate for later on this holiday season.

A few notes on this promotion: Deal good through Sunday, 11/6/11. Limit 4 gift certificates per customer. $148 equals pre-tax total on The North Face brand clothing and gear. Gift card only good for future purchases. Previous purchases not eligible for deal. Return of goods purchased in order to receive certificate will result in forfeiture of certificate. Gift Certificate expires on 12/31/11.

See you in the Shop – or online at alpineshop.com.

Tent Goes Up. Get Your Used Gear In. Swap Starts Friday!

Alpine Shop's Winter Swap Tent Going Up

For 17 years, Alpine Shop has always had two distinct Swap Celebrations: a Spring Swap dedicated to bikes, boats, camping gear and all warm-weather pursuits, and the Winter Swap devoted to all things done outside in the cold including skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow. So for the 18th year, of course, we threw all of that out the window.

Welcome to the 18th Annual Winter Swap.

Bring all of that stuff in this time. If the gear meets our standards, we’ll sell it out of the Swap tent and put some cash or store credit in your pocket. (Or if you’re at our Columbia location Swap, we’ll do the same thing without the tent!)

As of Monday, October 17 at 10 am, Alpine Shop Kirkwood and Columbia are ready to accept your used items into the Swap. Bring them in early to avoid the line. If you prefer to leave things until the last minute, please note that ALL used gear registration needs to be finished by 5 pm on Friday, Oct. 21. More than likely, this means you need to be in line at 4 pm at the latest to check-in your gear. As we continue to improve the Swap to make sure our lines don’t stretch back for hours on Friday night, that same technology has forced us to make some changes in how we do some things. Check-in is one of those things.

We’ll still open the tent at 7 pm on Friday night. We’ll still have people tailgating for the tent opening hours before then. You’ll still find the tent filled with great prices on used and clearance items. (Or, you’ll still see the money coming in from the items you’re selling!)

You will find a few changes inside our stores, however. All of our new-gear sales will begin when we open our doors first thing in the morning in Kirkwood, Chesterfield and Columbia (or on-line at alpineshop.com). If you’re just interested in new gear deals, you no longer have to wait until the 7 pm starting time anymore. Also, we’ll have Early Bird and Night Owl deals on new gear on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23 and Sat. and Sun., Oct. 29-30. You can find those limited time specials on page 3 of our on-line new-gear sale catalog here.

Used gear sales are open in Kirkwood and Columbia on Friday, Oct. 21 from 7 pm–11 pm; Sat., Oct. 22 from 9 am—9 pm and Sun., Oct. 23 from 11 am—6 pm.

See you soon!

 

Four Steps to a Better Boot Fit in the Heel

Alpine Shop certified pedorthist and senior bootfitter Angie Bono shows how Alpine Shop custom fits the heel of a boot for one of its customers.

Using a sequence of heat, pressure and cold, Alpine Shop bootfitters can remold the shape of your boots to perfectly fit your heel and ankle.

Alpine Shop can also use different techniques to help you deal with problems like bunions, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel and leg length discrepancies.

You can learn more from all of Alpine Shop’s boot fitters by stopping in any one of our locations in Missouri. You can also visit http://blog-alpineshop.com for continuing instructional videos.

How to Tell a Good Hiking Boot from a Bad One

Alpine Shop’s head bootfitter and Certified Pedorthist, Angie Bono, explains the main differences between a “Good” quality hiking boot and a “Bad” boot. Beware—Looks can be deceiving!

Back in the early 1900’s mountaineering and backpacking boots were built on steel shank. This was great for sturdiness and for protecting your feet from rocks and turned ankles. However, it was also heavy and unyielding—not quite the solution we are looking for today. With current technologies, the top quality hiking boots today are based on a nylon shank that runs the length of the boot from the toes to the heel. This stiff nylon helps to protect the hiker’s foot and ankles while also helping to keep weight down and comfort up.

All of Alpine Shop’s hiking boots will contain this feature. However, if you visit some other store that claims to sell hiking boots, watch out for cheap imitations that may put your body at significant risk. Once Angie shows you what’s inside two boots that look almost exactly the same on the outside, you’ll know where to look for your next boots—Alpine Shop!

Enjoy the video!

3 Lacing Techniques for a Better Fit – Fixing Footwear Problems with Alpine Shop

Alpine Shop’s head bootfitter and Certified Pedorthist, Angie Bono, spends a few minutes on this video going over some easy and effective lacing techniques to help your shoes or your hiking boots fit better.

For problems with your heel slipping in your boot or shoe, the “heel lock” technique helps lock your heel into the back of your footwear. This prevents your foot from moving and reduces the chance of a blister forming on the back of your heel.

If you have problems with too much pressure on sensitive parts of your foot, Angie shows you how to use the “box lace” technique to simply go around those sensitive parts while keeping your footwear as snug as it needs to be everywhere else.

Finally, Angie demonstrates how the “surgeon’s knot” can be used to custom tighten the lower section of a boot for new boot wearers (and another great option to help with heel slippage).

We hope you enjoy the video. We apologize for the focus coming in and out on the boot. We’ll get it fixed before our next video later this week!