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A Girl Who Climbs

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Review | Mad Rock Shark 2.0 Climbing Shoe

You’ve most likely seen these bad boys on Jan Hojer or Juliane Wurm, they seem to be the shoe of choice for smashing both competitions and outdoor projects. It’s easy to see why they favour them, they are an excellent technical shoe for the more advanced climber. My pair were an Ebay bargain to replace my Evolv Shaman LV (RIP), but now I mostly keep these shoes for when I’m trying something I find really hard because the split sole hurts my feet, as they aren’t strong enough just yet. I hope to do them justice one day soon! They come in at the £70 – £75 mark which I feel makes them a bargain.

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Fit –I’m a street size 3 UK and I size matched in the Shark boots which gives me a very, very snug bouldering fit. However I think if I had up-sized by half I could wear them for longer periods of time, but it’s debatable if that is necessary. It was definitely an experience trying to get them on and off! As you can see in the pictures these shoes are pretty much all rubber so there isn’t a lot of give. I ended up stuffing the shoes with a bunch of fluffy socks so they were completely packed, and then heating them up with a hair dryer. While they were still warm I removed the other socks from inside the shoes before putting them on, and then let them cool down on my feet. It was pretty painful to break them in but they did stretch and mould to my feet. They have a fairly wide toe box but it still creates the right pressure in the right places. When you eventually get them on there is a satisfying poof of air that exits the shoe, giving it a vacuum/sock feel. To take them off I would advise pulling away from the heel with the tabs to get a little space, and then roll the heel down.

Specifications –They look pretty aggressive with a split sole, down turn, and they also feature the asymmetrical shape like most technical shoes. As I mentioned before they are pretty much a whole rubber slipper which is great for roof climbs, but they also have a special heel detail. They have an extra moulded strip that runs down IMG_3419the center of the heel, which allows heel hooking on small holds. This is a ‘Marmite’ feature as far as I have experience when talking to other Shark owners. I’ve tried it a few times and it felt safe to pull down on it, but I am someone who will forever flat foot instead of heel hook. That being said I never feel like there is any chance these shoes will come off during a climb, they feel extremely secure for a slipper with a single Velcro strap. I recently noticed that they have possibly been redesigned again, with a fastening system more reminiscent of the Mad Rock Lotus.

Performance – Can we all just take a minute to appreciate the Mad Rock rubber name ‘Science Friction’! Not only is it an awesome name but the performance of the R2 rubber is pretty much unrivaled for me. Once the first layer is worn off they are so sticky it’s unreal, which gives me a lot of confidence. I find these a very sensitive shoe that makes small work of edges.

IMG_3414Aesthetic – You’ve got to admit they look pretty cool and understated compared to other shoes on the market. I really like the minimal use of colour, however if you’re looking for something more feminine then I would suggest the Mad Rock Lotus which is the female version of the Shark.

Conclusion

Currently one of the best shoes I’ve worn in terms of performance, but not the most comfortable. If you’re a more advanced climber in the market for new climbing shoes, I would urge you to consider the Mad Rock Shark 2.0. With all the specifications they can conquer any crux on the correct feet and they look pretty darn cool too, what more could you ask for?

agirlwhoclimbs 4

Be Boulder Indoor Climbing Centre | Climbing Gym Review

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (agirlwhoclimbs on both… shameless plug!) then you may notice that I tend to hang around the same climbing gym, as all my photos at the moment have the same holds and mats in the background! Haha. I chose this climbing centre as my first to review because this is where I very first discovered bouldering in all its glory. It only seemed right to start at the beginning.

Be Boulder Indoor Climbing Centre

Be BoulderIMG_2340 - Copy is an indoor bouldering gym found in Widnes, a small town close to Liverpool and Manchester in the UK. It only opened in 2013 around Christmas so it’s still fairly new.

Walls – 3/5
The walls are built by Entre Prises and look enticing with a little bit of everything e.g slab, cove, boulder. They have a sandy texture which is good for smearing and replicates some outdoor textures, but this also means it can wear the rubber down on your shoes. I personally feel that the space could have been used better, and it would have been nice to see a solid 45 degree wall or a cave/longer roof. However there is plenty to play on and try. Another aspect making this gym unique is that it has a top out boulder. This means you can actually climbing on top of the boulder like you would outside to finish a problem. You can work on your mantle and heel rock over for topping out, or my personal move is the salmon…I’m still practicing.

Problem Quality – 5/5
Despite being on the smaller side, Be Boulder does have a lot to offer in terms of the problems and the quality. Set by Alex Fry, this iIMG_2341s the place to climb if you want to get beastly strong. Currently using a tagging system, so any colour can be any grade, this allows the climbers to get a feel for holds they may never have tried before at their current climbing level. The grading is pretty good, although there are some higher graded problems that feel lower and vice versa, but arguably you’ll get that in most centres. As good as grading is to help gauge where you are, I wouldn’t stick to climbing that grade. If you see a problem you like the look of, no matter the level, just go and climb it and have fun.

Atmosphere – 5/5
The staff at Be Boulder are very welcoming and friendly, which makes for a relaxed atmosphere. This gym does seem to get quite a few parties/groups of minions kids in, and due to the size of the gym you may find yourself taking a longer rest than usual as they excitedly climb all over the walls. The gym staff will usual post on their Facebook page when the parties and groups are due in so you can plan your climbs in advance.

Amenities – 3/5IMG_2308
There is not climber specific training area (e.g. system board/campus rungs), but they do offer a gym area at the back with pull up bars, weights, foam roller etc. Also a beast maker, hanging board and climbing/swing rope are available, all of which is free to use if you’re climbing.

Climber fuel is readily available aka coffee and tea, as are a variety of snacks to keep your energy up, and plenty of sofas to plonk your tired bones down on. You’re very welcome to bring your own sandwiches and snacks.

All of the above is pretty cool, but what I love the most is that they have recently started selling Mad Rock gear! If you live in the UK and you’re a gear geek then you may understand my excitement. Mad Rock is so difficult to get hold of here, so having Sharks and a R3 crash mat on the door step is pretty awesome. Everything is available to buy or order on the website if you click here.

Conclusion
I have taken breaks from climbing here to climb at The Climbing Hangar in Liverpool, and The Boardroom in North Wales, yet I always find myself coming back. This is an awesome gem of a bouldering centre, and I like to think of Be Boulder as the small but mighty gym. I’m excited to see how it grows and develops, and would encourage you to make a trip to try it out. Don’t forget to check them out on all the social medias too – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook!

-A Girl Who Climbs

Yay Progress!

It has taken me some time but I finally nailed this problem 🙂 Wahoo! I also filmed myself climbing which is not something I would ever normally do. However, I was getting scared on the last move and no matter how many people told me that the hold was so close, I would not believe them. Haha. So I figured I had to see what they could see, from where they were. Filming your climb is a good tool for improving, and I guess the proof of that is in the clip. Like I said, there were so many falls and down climbs before this video, and part of me wishes I’d filmed them too because those climbs can be even more important than the finish. That may be something I do on the next problem.

Happy vibes.

A Girl Who Climbs

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