Verdict from 7 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • According to droves of reviewers, the Mad Rock Drifter is super affordable.
  • This climb-centric offering is adored by many for being a superb rock shoe for beginners.
  • Based on a small number of reports, the Drifter has admirable edging prowess.
  • Some verified purchasers say that this rock climbing shoe is immensely comfortable.
  • The Drifter is relentlessly grippy underfoot, a couple of those who have purchased it say.
  • On the sensitivity front, this Mad Rock piece is quite excellent, a customer claims.

3 reasons not to buy

  • An owner who has climbed in the shoe multiple times is not very impressed with its substandard breathability.
  • The Mad Rock Drifter is underwhelming when it comes to toe hooking, according to a tester.
  • It takes a long time to loosen up, based on a user review.

Bottom line

The genius minds at Mad Rock appear to have made another climbing hit. Yes, they were able to create an edging machine that makes trying out the sport for the first time as comfy as possible. And this is without mention of its budget-friendly price tag yet.

That said, its lackluster ventilation system might be quite disappointing for some. Nonetheless, the Drifter has enough convincing qualities to woo in climbers unfamiliar to the brand.

Tip: see the best climbing shoes.

Good to know

-The Mad Rock Drifter is built with the climber’s versatile (all-around) performance in mind. Its medium stiffness and comfort fit construction make ascents as pleasant and reassuring as possible.

-This rock climbing shoe is imbued with a pair of technologies exclusive to Mad Rock—Science Friction R2 and Science Friction 3.0. These two components provide sufficient forefoot traction and underfoot slip resistance, respectively.

Downturn. The Drifter is one of Mad Rock’s neutral climbing shoes. Since it is practically a downturn-less piece of footwear, it is ideal for climbs where smearing is hugely required. Neutral rock climbing shoes are designed for multi-pitch projects.

Applications. Sport routes, bouldering, and trad are the types of climbs for which the beginner-friendly Mad Rock Drifter is built. Its set of components grants climbing competency in slots and cracks. It is for both indoor and outdoor use.

Mad Rock’s Drifter is a low-cut shoe engineered especially for male climbers. The foot is expected to contort inward in it as its interior has a slight asymmetry or curve. With time and regular use, its leather upper will stretch. Mad Rock engineers gave the shoe a 3D-molded rearfoot reinforcement for a more intimate fit around the heel. The Drifter’s two-strap closure provides lockdown personalization.

Midsole. A 1.8-mm thick midsole is what gives users improved support in the Drifter. It is made of polyester, a synthetic material characterized by lightness, lasting durability, and abrasion resistance.

Outsole. The Drifter from Mad Rock grants its wearers ample slip and skid resistance with its Science Friction 3.0 outsole. Its overall thickness is 3.8 mm. This sticky rubber component is exclusively produced in the United States.

The Mad Rock Drifter climbing shoe encloses the foot in its full-grain leather upper. It comes built with a liner made of polyester. Access to and from its plush confines is a relatively swift affair thanks to the shoe’s duo of synthetic pull loops. Covering its bottom section (midfoot + forefoot) for improved climbing security is the Science Friction R2 rubber rand. Its heel zone also comes with the same reinforcement for extra rearfoot support and heel-hooking friction.

Rounding out all things upper in the Mad Rock Drifter is the gear’s Velcro closure. It uses two adjustable hook-and-loop straps to rein in the foot and keep it in place.


How Mad Rock Drifter ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 44% neutral climbing shoes
All neutral climbing shoes
Top 37% Mad Rock climbing shoes
All Mad Rock climbing shoes
Bottom 48% indoor climbing shoes
All indoor climbing shoes


The current trend of Mad Rock Drifter.
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