Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gear Junkie: Mad Rock Redline Climbing Shoe


 

Sculptured by the hands East Coast legend Obe Carrion, the new Redline climbing shoe from Mad Rock is truly a game changer!

Where to begin?

This shoe is unlike anything that has been on the market previously due to a number of features including the very unique and very useful, moulded compression tongue which makes this fit like a slipper and a tie in in one.

The shoe also utilises Mad Rocks Tek Flex upper which is designed to let the foot "breath". I've never yet used a shoe that truly breaths, but this is about as close as it gets currently in the climbing footwear world. The sole is fitted with R2 rubber which combined with the Arch Flex technology, keeps the shoes shape even when the foot is loaded in unlike many other shoes which tend flatten out.

THE WORD

Mad Rock have been known previously for creating budget products which people would often shy away from thinking the lower cost had some correlation with quality. The new Redline sets to change that precedent and show that they not only make high quality, but that they can also role with the larger climbing companies when it comes to pushing the envelope of climbing innovation and technology.

These admittedly might not be the best choice when hitting the slabs as the same technology that allows them to keep their perfect shape for overhangs is the same that also makes them less than ideal for smearing. A couple of people I showed the shoes expressed worry that the rubber may be to stiff. However, after testing these on a number of rock types and different conditions from the Red River Gorge to Boulder Canyon and even the Gunks, I find the slightly stiffer rubber actually makes them perform better on small and delicate holds.

Cost: $$$$
At $160, these are priced similar to that of it's competing shoes such as the La Sportiva Solutions or the Scarpa Instinct. They are significantly more than other shoes in the Mad Rock range but you're also getting a lot of new technology for your money.

Performance: 5/5
For me, the shoe couldn't be much better. It fits my foot like a glove with zero dead space throughout and provides me with great performance without crippling my toes.

Value: 5/5
The quality of the shoe is unquestionably high but how long they last only time will tell. I've been using mine every day for a couple of months and they still show very little signs of wear.