The Mad Rock Redline is a fantastic steep rock shoe. The radically downturned toe box makes toeing in on overhanging terrain very secure. Heel hooks are comfortable and effective, and the shoe’s tight fit keeps the foot locked in while climbing. On less steep terrain, however, the shoe begins to lose its luster, and becomes ineffective and uncomfortable on slabs, vertical walls and cracks.
EDGING Small pockets and edges are grabbed easily with the Redline’s exaggeratedly downturned toe, especially on steep terrain. The concentrated powerpoint is extremely effective and, while foreign at first, makes overhung and horizontal roofs much easier to manage. The shoes stiff rubber and midsole provide excellent edging on all sides of the forefoot.
SMEARING Smearing in the Redline is very uncomfortable. The downturned toe causes pain when pushed back to smear and does not allow for much rubber contact, making attempts ineffective. This shoe was clearly not designed for smearing.
HEEL/TOE HOOKING The Redline has secure and comfortable heel hooks thanks to loads of rubber around the heel. The shoe’s stiffness detracts from the sensitivity but makes hooks snug and effective. With the support from the shoe, toe hooking feels strong and confident, but a lack of rubber over to toes limits its effectiveness.
RUBBER The Redline’s rubber was the hardest that we tested. Its firmness allows for solid edging, but results in a lack of stickiness compared to the other shoes in the test group. It has a relatively short break in period despite its rigidity and lack of flexibility.
COMFORT/FIT The Redline fits snugly and once the toes are set in the front of the shoe it is comfortable to climb in. The mid-foot squeezes tightly and may have you taking them off in between climbs to regain blood flow. With no extra space in the shoe, they perform well even when unlaced. When laced up, the heel cup and tongue compress for a locked-on fit. They are uncomfortable to walk in and using the powerpoint on slabs and vertical terrain is painful. This shoe fit snug at our tester’s normal climbing shoe size.
Mike Summers is an avid hiker, cyclist, climber, and outdoor enthusiast. While exploring America’s best outdoor spaces, Mike has developed an intimate relationship with his gear systems, allowing him to stay safe and comfortable in an otherwise forbidding environment. When he’s not exploring, you can find him sharing insights and chronicling his journeys at improbablebutpossible.com.