Review - Mad Rock Climbing Shark 2.0
The Mad Rock Climbing Shark 2.0 delivers and surprises in equal amounts. It's a technical shoe at a very reasonable price.
Mad Rock Climbing made its name with the same patented concave sole aimed at helping climbers grip with their feet like another pair of hands. Where the Shark 2.0 really stands out is the use of different materials to give a hard enough side foot for edging while allowing enough soft rubber on the wall for effective smearing.
See that hot orange band around the middle? That's not just a splash of color. It's Mad Rock Climbing's Arch Flex system, which pulls the shoe in and helps give it a tight fit. The midsole takes care of giving grip along the outside of the foot for edging. The rubber upper (Mad Rock Climbing calls its rubber formula “Science Friction”) hugs the foot and gives a soft, grippy toe feel for sticking onto the rock face. Spiderman would probably opt for the Shark 2.0 but while we wait for him to answer our calls Push Climbing turned to the next best thing and found out what our very own, grippy, sticky crew thought of the shoe.
“I was using Mad Rock Climbing shoes for year. When the new 2.0 arrived I was just amazed about how well it works on the wall”, exclaimed climbing champion and Push Instructor Jun Vidal. “When I'm traveling I go with up to three different types of shoes, including a traditional sneaker style but right now I find myself using the Shark most just for its comfort.”
Comfort is a thorny issue with climbing shoes since the climbers tend to select a shoe a size down to get a fit that's more like a second skin – but if you have unusually shaped feet that can be a recipe for discomfort.
“I've got a wider foot but I find that I can use the Shark for a long time on the wall without it being uncomfortable and that's not true for some other technical shoes on the market,” he said.
The dark color of the Shark has led some reviewers to comment that the shoe will get hot in the sun, but Jun is happy to use the Shark 2.0 wherever there's a wall.
“I use them all the time, indoor or out – it can do anything from bouldering to hard routes.” Climbing shoes, especially technical shoes with a concave soul and hooked toe often take a bit of breaking in.
Push Instructor Vy Hoang describes the Shark as “very edgy, good for bouldering and great for the experienced climber but to be honest it's still a bit uncomfortable in use so I'm also using my old favorites.” Jun Vidal also notes that the shoe takes a little breaking in - “I had a small problem on the first day with the bubble, the air space in the heel cup but when broken in it's a really great fit”.
That fit may take a little getting used to but it's all part of the second skin approach, although you may find that this works so well that taking the shoe off can feel like a surgical procedure.
Pros: Great combination of materials makes for a sticky rubber shoe which still has great edging performance and doesn't cost the earth.
Cons: It's made with the hardcore in mind so benefits strong feet. This is a shoe for climbers aiming to literally with their feet and beginners may find that uncomfortable.