Rock Shoes: Madrock Hooker EZ
£70.00 | Velcro | size reviewed 10 (foot size 10) | weight 572g | low asymmetry, but very aggressive
Mad Rock have a relatively short, but colourful history of manufacturing rock shoes that are a little different. First and foremost they use two different types of rubber, a hard wearing one around the perimeter edges of the sole, and a softer equivalent for the centre of the sole. One is supposedly suited to edging and the other to smearing.
Our experience has shown that it takes a while for the outer edge to wear enough for the softer centre to actually come into contact with the rock, by which time the shoes have lost their best edging capabilities. Thus they are caught somewhere between being an edging boot and a smearing boot, never quite excelling at either because the rubber is not the best on the market, and never quite making it as an all-rounder.
That said the Hookers do have some innovative features that are worth mentioning and will suite some styles of climbing. If you are into jamming cracks then the rigid toe box will not only provide you with an extra degree of comfort lacking in the softer models on review, but the sticky rubber fins across the top of the said toe box could almost be described as cheating! These fins also aid toe hooking. Similarly the ridged heel is also very helpful and grabby.
Un-lined leather uppers. The pull loops are a little frustrating to use – one is smaller than the other, and they both have a rubberise logo sewn into them making them difficult to get your fingers into. We quite liked the quirky green look of the shoes, but were not impressed with the manufacturing quality. They feature three Velcro straps, each of which are relatively thin and sit twisted in their metal ring retainers. This could be specific to our shoes, but you should check this if you are buying a pair.
This review was carried out as part of a massive comparative review of 25 pairs of Performance Rock Shoes. We think that this could be the biggest review of such shoes ever undertaken. You can read the whole review here.