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Mad Rock Shark 2.0 Review

Modest performance for a modest price
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Price:  $119 List | $119.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Bargain price, pointy toe for pockets
Cons:  Uncomfortable, mediocre at edging, hard to take on and off
Manufacturer:   Madrock
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 18, 2019
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#29 of 31
  • Edging - 20% 5
  • Cracks - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Pockets - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 20% 6

Our Verdict

Occasionally a shoe shocks with impressive performance in all of our rating metrics. More often the results are mixed. The Mad Rock Shark 2.0 represents a rare case where performance is universally underwhelming. Our testers found it to be a soft shoe that somehow manages to also feel insensitive. The limited elasticity of the tongue means that it's frustratingly hard to take on and off for its single strap slipper design. We are also disappointed with its mediocre performance in cracks and pockets. Nevertheless, you can still find plenty of Shark fans online. Try them on if you get a chance, and if they fit you as well as some people say, you'll get to enjoy a great value.


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Mad Rock Shark 2.0
Awards  Editors' Choice Award    
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Pros Bargain price, pointy toe for pocketsComfortable in cracks, low volume toe fits in thin cracks, great edgingGreat edging, convenient and secure Velcro closure systemGreat precision, aggressive/down turned toe tip, sensitive, great toe and heel hooking, precise fit, comfortable, easy on/offIncredible sensitivity, great edging, durability
Cons Uncomfortable, mediocre at edging, hard to take on and offHeel cup can feel uncomfortable across the achilles, left some testers with sore archesNot as comfortable in cracks as lace-up modelsNot comfortable for all-day climbing, expensive, not the most versatile, hard to fit, single strap broke prematurelySpecalized use, expensive, might be hard to resole
Bottom Line Modest performance for a modest priceThese shoes are high-performing crack climbing machines.This shoe is well-performing all arounder.This shoe is a favorite of many veteran climbers and still feels cutting edge over ten years after its first release.Employing Sportiva's No Edge concept, this is a sensitive shoe that edges incredibly well.
Rating Categories Mad Rock Shark 2.0 La Sportiva Kataki La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Futura
Edging (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Cracks (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Pockets (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
Total Scores (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs Mad Rock Shark 2.0 La Sportiva Kataki La Sportiva Otaki La Sportiva Solution La Sportiva Futura
Style Velcro Lace Velcro Velcro Velcro
Upper Syn Flex Synthetic Suede leather / Microfiber Leather/ Microfiber Leather / Lorica Leather/Synthetic Leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining Synthetic Pacific Pacific HF in toe box and arch area only Unlined
Rubber Type Science Friction 3.0 Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Grip 2 Vibram XS Grip2
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 3.8 mm 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 3 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Single strap shoes are great for bouldering or short sport routes. The Sharks are one of the more affordable single strap options.
Single strap shoes are great for bouldering or short sport routes. The Sharks are one of the more affordable single strap options.

Edging


The Shark 2.0 is made with 3.8 m of Science Friction rubber fitted to an AES sole that's soft at the center but stiff on the edges. Theoretically, this stiffer outer edge should facilitate good edging, but our testers remain unimpressed. Part of the problem is that the single strap slipper design is ineffective at keeping the foot in place inside the shoe. This lateral play makes it more difficult to use the Shark on small edges and is the primary reason why it receives a subpar edging score.

The Shark isn't particularly great at edging. This is partially due to the single strap design which isn't very ineffective at locking your foot inside the shoe.
The Shark isn't particularly great at edging. This is partially due to the single strap design which isn't very ineffective at locking your foot inside the shoe.

Cracks


Apart from the elastic tongue, almost the entirety of the Shark is encased in sticky rubber. This would provide excellent grip inside a crack, if only you could endure the pain this shoe causes. The primary issue Shark's moderate downturn, which places your toes in a curled position. This makes foot and toe jams considerably more painful. These shoes could still be useful for difficult thin cracks with limited jamming, but for ordinary cracks that are hand-sized or larger, there are much better options.

The synthetic upper on the Shark is pretty inelastic. This makes taking them on and off more of a chore than you might expect for a single strap design.
The synthetic upper on the Shark is pretty inelastic. This makes taking them on and off more of a chore than you might expect for a single strap design.

Comfort


The lead tester wears a 10.5 street shoe but had to size up to an 11 to squeeze his feet inside the Sharks. During the break-in period the Syn Flex upper hardly stretched at all. The result is a shoe that still feels like it doesn't fit despite two months of regular use. Our testers were also underwhelmed with the elasticity of the tongue. Ordinarily, single strap slippers are easy to take on and off, but it's an unpleasant task with the Sharks because they don't stretch open very wide.

The Sharks perform modestly well for pocket climbing. The toe volume is a little smaller than average  but they lack a sharp downturn in the forefoot.
The Sharks perform modestly well for pocket climbing. The toe volume is a little smaller than average, but they lack a sharp downturn in the forefoot.

Pockets


When talking about pocket climbing performance, it's important to consider the profile of the toe. From top to bottom, the toe of this shoe is pretty slim, but from side to side, its wider than average. That means the Shark can fit inside some small pockets, but not all. It depends on how they're oriented. If the toe can get inside, the Shark is good for pulling with your feet because they have a considerable downturn from heel to toe and an added edge on the underside of the toe from the concave AES midsole.

There is a little extra play in the heel of the Mad Rock Shark 2.0  which makes heel hooks less secure than with most other bouldering shoes.
There is a little extra play in the heel of the Mad Rock Shark 2.0, which makes heel hooks less secure than with most other bouldering shoes.

Sensitivity


The Shark has a soft midsole that stiffens on the forefoot, especially along the edges of the toe. This stiffness boosts support but interferes with your sensitivity in the exact location where the shoe usually contacts the rock. It also features a "Molded Edge Heel" made of a harder rubber compound that heel hooking an imprecise endeavor. Together this means that the Shark is surprisingly insensitive for its otherwise soft design.

The Sharks never became one of our testers' favorites  but their low price makes them worth considering for boulderers on a budget.
The Sharks never became one of our testers' favorites, but their low price makes them worth considering for boulderers on a budget.

Value


Perhaps the best aspect of the Shark is its price. For just a little more than a hundred buck you get a decent shoe made from solid materials. However, there are cheaper options that we recommend for beginners, such as the Best Buy-winning La Sportiva Tarantulace, and we suggest experienced spend a little more to get a lot more performance. Thus, despite its low price, we don't think the Shark is an exceptional value.

Conclusion


There is a bewildering array of options in the climbing shoe market. Unfortunately, the Mad Rock Shark 2.0 did little to distinguish itself from the field of shoes we tested. We concluded that its single strap design feels insensitive and too insecure for marginal edging. To top things off, it's not even easy to take on or off. Due to its low price, however, the Shark could still be worth considering. Maybe you'll be become one of the many happy customers out there eagerly singing its praises.


Jack Cramer