Mad Rock Review

I swear my next post will be more relevant to training/injuries, but as I just joined the Mad Rock family, I figured I’d do a little review. First, obviously I’m biased, but I’m not writing this review because I feel obligated to, nor did I just randomly choose to join Mad Rock. It’s because I LOVE their shoes!

I’ve pretty much never been satisfied with any climbing shoes I’ve worn, so instead of resoling, I’d typically buy a different shoe. In doing so I’ve sampled most of the big name shoe models

From bottom right to top left: literally every pair I’ve worn during my first 7 years of climbing (does this mean I’m a hoarder?).

Continuing on from the picture above, I’ve also worn 5.10 Arrowheads, 5.10 Hornets, 5.10 Black Teams, in that order. After all those I’ve finally found a shoe that I’m completely happy with: The Mad Rock Shark 2.0. For this review, I’ll mostly be focusing on the Sharks, comparing them to the previous shoe I was wearing the 5.10 Teams, and because I just got them recently, I’m going to throw in the Mad Rock Redlines.

5.10 Team, Mad Rock Redline, Mad Rock Shark 2.0
5.10 Team, Mad Rock Redline, Mad Rock Shark 2.0

I’m a boulderer so obviously I’m always going to look for an aggressive shoe. All three have an aggressive toe.

Toe Profile
Toe Profile

The Sharks’ toe doesn’t look as aggressive as the Teams’, but the Arch Flex causes  the shoe to really suck into your foot creating a more comfortable yet just as high performing shoe. And the 3D concave sole provides exceptional edging. One thing that really impressed me with the Sharks is their sensitivity. While wearing 5.10, I always gravitated to their Mystique rubber because I liked the sensitivity of soft rubber. Although the Sharks aren’t quite as soft as Mystique, they’re right up there.

Folding soft Mystique rubber
Folding the Teams
Folding the Shark
Folding the Shark

The large rubber toe cover always makes any toe hook feel bomber. The 3D molded full cup heel includes a full strip of rubber running down it. This ridge really locks in side-on heel hooks. The Sharks really are my perfect all around shoe; they edge, toe, hook, and even smear with ease. The Redlines are talons, making them my go-to for steep, steep overhang where I need to really dig down to create body tension.

The Sharks are the only shoes that have EVER fit my heel. They truly fit like a glove. You can see how terribly the Teams fit my heel. Compare the first picture to the second, where I’m pushing in the massive deadspace (this space really encompasses the whole heel). I’ve heard 5.10 did this intentionally so the heel would smush and create more surface area, but for me it just feels insecure.



And that's the bottom of my heal...
And that’s the bottom of my heal…

The Teams are pretty extreme, but that’s about how every pair of shoes I’ve worn have felt. Now let’s look at the Sharks.



Nothin’. Where are all the ghosts going to go, ’cause there’s no dead space here! (Sorry for that). The Redlines’ heel fits me equally as well, plus they get a gold star for somehow being the most aggressive and yet plush feeling shoes I’ve worn.

Redline interior
Redline interior

They’re fully lined and that elastic strap holds down the tongue nice and snug. They feel like tight socks. Well until you walk in them then you remember how down turned they are…

I know a lot of people tend to overlook Mad Rock, but I encourage you all to take a second look!


7 thoughts on “Mad Rock Review

  1. Have you kept the same shoes size for madrock shark compare to redline shoes? one stretches more them another? they have the same construct?


    1. I have actually recently gone down a half size in the sharks, but I wouldn’t necessarily advice doing that. I just wanted to experiment with downsizing and have ended up liking it. A half size difference between sharks and redlines is what most people do and I’m doing a full size now. Neither of them really stretch at all, but they will break in a little and conform to your foot better.


  2. I’m thinking of getting some redlines but have no idea as to what size. At the moment I wear 5.10 dragons in a size 7 and they fit perfect but I don’t like the heels, was wondering what sizes you wear as maybe I could go off that.


    1. Hi Laura,

      I wear a size 9.5 in the redlines and I’m a 10 in dragons. I hear ya on the heels; 5.10 heels are always so baggy on me. The redline heel fits much better. FYI, Mad Rock is launching a new shoe called the Drones this summer that will have a similar aggressive toe as the redlines, but will have a velcro closure instead of laces, allowing for more toehooking rubber. It will also come in a low and high-volume model.


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