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97 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews
This one is staying in my bag, and I'm not apologizing, and it's mine forever.
I thought I'd loathe this shoe, but I absolutely love it.
After spending over 40 days climbing in the Drone HV, it has become my go-to bouldering shoe.
[T]he Mad Rock Drones have become my daily driver as far as climbing shoes go.
-The Drone HV is Mad Rock’s direct response to folks of the climbing world needing extra precision in their step. Its provision of comfort is further enhanced by the breathable construction of its cushy tongue.
-This Mad Rock offering is a vegan-friendly climbing shoe. Its engineers used only animal-free materials and components in its creation.
Downturn. The Mad Rock Drone HV is a heavily downturned climbing shoe. The acuteness of its downward camber funnels in power around the front tip of the foot, allowing climbers to get a secure footing on sags and nubbins without requiring too much effort. Note that extremely downturned kicks like the Drone HV may only provide sufficient comfort on single-pitch ascents.
Applications. This aggressive rock climbing shoe is intended for sport routes and bouldering, whether indoors or outdoors. Its medium-stiff build and hard-wearing components make it a competent tool for negotiating steep overhangs.
A low-top climbing shoe for men is the Mad Rock Drone HV. Its purely synthetic upper might only provide a little bit of stretch, if not none at all. In its highly asymmetric interior, the foot is expected to bend inward. It comes with a broader toe box, thanks to its high-volume construction.
Two fit-centric technologies are part of this Mad Rock offering—a 3D expandable heel and the Arch Flex system. The former provides a versatile fit around the heel. The latter, on the other hand, makes the arch region extra snug, promising a locked-in enclosure for the user.
Lockdown security is courtesy of the Drone HV’s Velcro closure. It features two attach points, giving senders more fit customization options.
Midsole. Adequate support comes from the Drone HV’s hard-wearing midsole made of polyester. It has an overall thickness of 1.8 millimeters. The proprietary Arch Flex technology contributes to its provision of support underfoot
Outsole. The Mad Rock Drone HV comes with a company-exclusive outsole called Science Friction 3.0 for surface traction. This sticky component is made of heavy-duty rubber, which is developed locally within the United States. It comes at a thickness of 4.2 millimeters.
The textured below-the-ankle upper of the Mad Rock Drone HV is made of microfiber (also known as Syn Flex). To make access to and from it relatively easy, Mad Rock designers gave the shoe not one, not two, but a total of three synthetic pull loops. Its lower perimeter comes built with Science Friction R2, a brand-owned rubber rand that provides sufficient sticking power where smearing is required. It also has a toe patch, which has a honeycomb design, for toe-hooking grip.
Making the Drone HV’s upper come full circle is the rock shoe’s Velcro strapping system. It is comprised of a hook-and-loop strap set through a smoothed-out ladder-type buckle.
The Drone HV is one of Mad Rock’s most sought-after rock climbing shoes. That prestige earns it a reputation that compels senders far and wide to compare it with kicks within the same category. In this comparison, the featured shoe finds a rival in the Haywire—another high-quality offering from the same brand. The nitty-gritty of their differences are as follows:
Weight. Between the two Mad Rock offerings, many might find the Haywire the more compelling product. This is because it is lighter than the Drone HV by approximately 30 grams.
Upper design. The Mad Rock Drone HV climbing shoe, as mentioned previously (see: Upper), sports a microfiber upper. Its competitor, on the other hand, has a main shell made of knit fabric, giving it a sock-like appearance. When it comes to strap attach points, the Haywire only has one. It has only one pull loop, as well.
Price tag. In this regard, the Haywire bags the crown. Indeed, it is less expensive than the Mad Rock Drone HV by about 5 U.S. dollars.
Midsole. Those who consider themselves midsole purists might side with the featured Mad Rock piece on this front. Yes, the Drone HV is equipped with a proper midsole, which the competition lacks.
- This rock climbing shoe has a low-volume sibling in the Mad Rock Drone LV.