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!
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:
-Sport climbing & Bouldering
-Bouldering, Sport and Trad
Here is what I found.
-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.
-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!