Science Friction

The Mad Rock ‘Shark’ boasts some of Mad Rocks newest technology. The ‘Arch Flex’ which was designed to provide – “unbelievably comfortable and glove-like fit without the pain associated with other high performance shoes.” As well as a 3D moulded heel that is marketed as the “best hooking heel ever created.” (You can read more about the technology here)

Big words from Mad Rock, which has always been seen by myself and my peers as the budget brand here in Australia. My first pair of climbing shoes was an ill fitting pair of the ‘Flash”, so it seemed very strange that I would be returning to the brand after so many years of climbing.

Opening the Box

At first sight they are a relatively attractive pair of shoes. The deep orange and the black go well together and the shape of the shoe as a gentle downward slope as with most other ‘high performance’ shoes. There is ample rubber….. everywhere….. rom the toe to the heel, anywhere you want to use the shoe, you have some of the new ‘science friction R3’ rubber at your disposal.

Mad Rocks out of the Box
Mad Rocks out of the Box

Putting the shoe on seems similar to other shoes too, with a bit of effort and fingers in the pull tabs, my foot slid relatively comfortably into them. The first thing I noticed once my foot was in was the suction on the heel. They are definitely not uncomfortable shoes, but I also wouldn’t say they are super comfy, but still, that heel! It was so good that I probably could have heel hooked without the straps done up!

On the Wall

At first the rubber is pretty hard. I won’t lie or sugar coat it, I do not think the rubber is as good as some of the other shoe brands, but then I also didn’t expect it to be. It took a few weeks of high use to really wear them in and get used to how they handled climbing. The heel rubber still seems a bit skatey, but at the same time, I managed to do ‘Rave heart’ at Hollow mountain cave in them and if anyone has done that boulder, you’ll know it’s all in the heel.

The apparently slippery heel stuck when I needed it to. (photo courtesy of James Kassay)
The apparently slippery heel stuck when I needed it to. (photo courtesy of James Kassay)

Once worn in, the toes were good, the toe hooks worked, the heel hooks worked, the fit was fine (except for a little extra effort taking the shoe off because of the heel suction). The shoes do exactly what they are supposed to do, just work, although if you have bad footwork you may suffer a little initially.

When you have to trust your feet
When you have to trust your feet

The Mad Rock Sharks are good, and with a price closer to $100 than $200 they are really good. The arch flex technology, the moulded toes and heel are fine, but not really anything special, but then at the same time I don’t really think you need any of that to justify buying them. They are a good design, comfortable and solid fit and work really well. The price makes them that much more attractive, especially if you are like me who climbs almost 6 days a week and don’t really want to burn through a pair of $200 performance shoes every 6 months, but still want to be able to toe hook and heel hook when I’m training. All in all, well worth it, especially for the price.

Mad Rock deliver on their motto – “offer the most sophisticated designs and materials at a fair price”

Fit 6/10
Design 7/10
Rubber 5/10
Price 10/10

Check out the Mad Rock Sharks, as well as other top shoe brands at Walltoys online store.