Mad Rock Haywire; Voodoo Weirdness for feet

Mad Rock Haywire. Voodoo. For Feet.

Mad Rock Haywire. Voodoo. For Feet.

Behold the “future of climbing shoes” and winner of the footwear category in the Outdoor Awards at the at the Outdoor Friedrichshafen show. Mad Rock isn't a manufacturer to play it safe and at first look these shoes remind me of the kind of mittens you used to wear with a string between them because mum was sure you'd lose them at the first opportunity otherwise.

They might look like kindergarten knitwear, but oh do the PushPeeps love them. Love them long time as it happens. Previous Rocktober winner Ben Grey has been cuddling up to his for ages.

Ben, practicing Voodoo

Ben, practicing Voodoo

“Yes I suppose I am an early adopter. I've had Haywires since before they were even released in the States. I chose them because they were innovative, weird even, and I can't get La Sportivas or Evokes in Vietnam. Now I'm on my second pair – they are exceptional as an all round shoe. Thanks to witchcraft they can edge and yet they are themselves edgeless. They smear well and are still stiff, they heel hook and toe hook and fit like a glove plus they are very adept at sticking like a limpet to the tiniest of foot holds. Even on stupidly steep stuff. They have lasted six months or more whereas I usually blow through a more expensive shoes in three or four months. So yes, I love them. It's Voodoo weirdness.”

en is far from alone in his enthusiasm. Push's very own Paul Massad is transported at the mention of the Haywire and actually gets a bit gooey about the unboxing.

“I have been looking for a shoe that reminded me of the evergreen Five Ten Anasazi; a slipper like shoe which has long been my favourite due to its price and durability, being able to take abuse like a tank in a blitzkrieg. The Five Ten Anasazi used to be my go-to shoe for training, until the Haywires arrived. Presented with their beautiful orange box with their design award sticker and alluring blue lagoon tones, I couldn’t wait to get them on. The smell and texture of fresh rubber ready to be broken-in, is irresistible for masochists such as myself.”

I have a mental image of Yulya's face as Paul gets excited about a box but it turns out that childlike enthusiasm only increases when the shoes hit the wall.

“At first the toe box presented some arguments, but nothing you couldn't reason with. The body of the shoe presents no resistance to my [highly arched] foot and after some fiddling with the toe box a bit, even my bunions felt at home. Within the first hours and a few buckets of good old Saigon sweat the shoes were already taking shape, the slight curve of the front end gently contorted to allow my toes to occupy the full extent of the shoe, with no dead spaces. The heel which tends to be my biggest bone of contention with shoes is of soft construction and straight which means no awkward holes, flaps or undesired movement. The Haywires allow the novice to reach new heights and the expert to step it up a notch. No slips while stemming, no movement on the heel hooks, the toe box stays rigid and the back remains flexible. After three hours with the shoes on, there was still no discomfort, which is always a good sign. Stemming is truly a delight in these shoes, the rigid toe box makes it possible to stay on top of those nasty crimps until your calves give out, or the pump gets to you.”

For a shoe named after the state of being out of control it seems that the Mad Rock Haywires offer precisely the opposite. Which is as close to a rave review as you're likely to hear from the Push Thunderdome of climbing gear. With only a couple of provisos from Paul:

“There are a few points that remain to be seen such as the shoes' durability in the long term, or whether that flexible mesh will keep its shape after years of use. So far its been 3 months and they feel as strong as the first time I wore them [an observation shared by Ben]. My colleagues who have been testing the model longer than I have, say that the Achilles' heel of this shoe is the strap system. As it relies on a single strap, the pressure is not uniform and the compression generated by the elastic mesh fabric becomes irregular at the ankle where the shoe behaves more like a sock than a shoe. These are definitely not shoes you want to lend out, as the fit relies solely on a cast made by your foot.”

It doesn't sound much like Ben and Paul would lend these shoes out anyway, it sounds more like you'd have to prise them from their cold, dead hands. Or buy your own pair of course.

Mad Rock Haywires

Pros: Great fit, easy break in , no dead spaces. Added voodoo. Make strong men curiously excited.

Cons: inconsistent tension of the straps, flexible mesh tends to expand at the ankle like a sock.

Price VND 2,850,00

Steve Shipside