Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe Review

At times, this common question pops out in climber’s minds, “Which shoes are the most affordable climbing shoes?”

Well, the answer depends on how well and far you go looking for them. There is a wide variety of products available on the market that fills the same criteria. Among them, Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe is a known name.

What’s it about Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe?

Firstly, the excellence of construction that comes from one of the best manufacturing companies, Mad Rock, that’s reaching the heart of the climbers since 2002. Mad Rock has successfully claimed the limelight as a small, climber owned and operated company that designs innovative and highly-technical rock climbing shoes.

While there are several other products designed by Mad Rock that excel in quality and performance, the point of choosing Men’s Drifter model is because of the transition between the features and price.

You will get more insights on this affordable and beginner-friendly footwear as you follow this Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe review.

Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe – The Overview

Mad Rock Men’s Drifter is a beginner climbing shoe that blends comfort, quality, durability, and affordability. Although this shoe is suitable for indoors and outdoors, it is best for indoor climbs.

With a quality leather build, this flat-soled shoe features a couple of velcro closures that snug up against your midfoot area. Besides, the lined toe-box won’t let the shoe stretch at the toes, even if you have large toes.

Since its release in 2011, this shoe is favored by climbers for its performance and affordability. You would not expect a product with such a price tag to be this good, and yet you get surprised at its design, grip, and comfortability.

With this climbing shoe, you can rest easy on its durability. This footwear, equipped with a strongly built body and a sturdy sole, promises all the security you need for climbing as a starter.

Pros & Cons

Excellent gripVelcro strap may leave some marks.
Premium constructionSizing is somewhat off.
Stylish designRubber is not overly tacky.
Solid fitting.
Good grip
All-around comfort
Affordable and budget-friendly

Feature Highlights

  • Designed with 100% leather material
  • Features slightly asymmetrical last and flat profile for comfort
  • Comes with a split neoprene tongue for easy on/off
  • Features 3D molded heel for a precise fit
  • Includes Science Friction 3.0 rubber sole for excellent friction
  • Features moderate asymmetrical curvature
  • Comes with padded piping for a stylish look

Product Details

  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.79 Pounds
  • Material: Leather
  • Closure: Velcro Strap
  • Downturn: Moderate
  • Lining: Polyester
  • Fit: Mid-Asymmetrical
  • For: Men and Women
  • Designed to Serve: Beginners
  • Sizes: 40 options
  • Colors: Grey, Azul, Red

Here are some of the features this Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe is known for:

Design and Construction

This pair of climbing shoes is engineered using sturdy and premium-grade leather material. It has a flat profile with two Velcro straps closure and a lined toe-box. This feature adds extra cushion around the midfoot area while also guarding the shoes against stretching at the toes.

Likewise, the body of this footwear is taped with seam, excluding the sole. It means that the product performs well in all kinds of weather. Initially, the shoes may feel medium stiff, but the polyester insole softens up quickly.

Stylish Look

This climbing shoe comes with red-colored padded piping on its whole body. This feature results in a more stylish look. Besides that, the attribute also provides extra strength to the shoe.

Grip and Traction

The Science Friction 3.0 rubber sole that comes incorporated with this climbing shoe provides a solid grip and traction. Furthermore, Mad Rock Men’s Drifter shoe also features a polyester lining and padded piping that adds extra strength to them for enhanced performance. The inclusion of two well-placed velcro straps makes sure you get more grip and a tighter fit.

This footwear is highly flexible with gripping and bending on steep surfaces. Additionally, it also enhances the foot strength on the vertical rocks.


When it comes to durability, Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe excels from other similar models. The footwear lasts for a long time thanks to the robust leather uppers and sturdy sole. The entire body of the footwear is taped with seam, making it suitable for all-terrain climbing.

Although affordable, these shoes are made from top-quality leather. While it is apparent to resist wear and tear, it also stretches out over time to ensure a secured fit according to the climber’s feet.

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Other Options Worth Exploring

Five Ten Hiangle Climbing Shoe

  • Designed with 100% split grain leather
  • Includes single-strand velcro closure system
  • Comes with Stealth C4 4.2 mm rubber outsole
  • Features stiff thermoplastic midsole
  • Features unlined leather upper with half size-stretch
  • Features aggressive downturned toe

La Sportiva Finale Climbing Shoes

  • Features leather upper for a soft and comfortable fit
  • Includes tensioned heel rand for high-end performance
  • Includes 5mm XS Edge Rubber outsole offering a solid grip
  • Comes with the Powerhinge to support the underfoot
  • Features a slip-lasted design
  • Features moderately downturned toe

La Sportiva Katana Lace Climbing Shoes

  • Engineered with synthetic material
  • Features slip-lasted design
  • Comes with highly breathable tongue and lining for moisture management
  • Features slightly downturned toe and subtle asymmetry
  • Includes P3 midsole and Vibram XS Edge rubber for incredible edging
  • Features Lorica synthetic leather toe box for optimizing edging power
  • Features medium-asymmetrical toe box for great precision and sensitivity
  • Includes leather/Lorica upper and pacific lined forefoot for comfort

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The hook-and-loop footwear closure of this climbing shoe offers excellent convenience for sliding the shoes on and off. It is perfect for rock climbing and bouldering when you need to remove the shoes between climbs. Likewise, the velcro offers some of the most versatile types of foot closures.

Well, the durability of this climbing footwear is primarily supported by the material used in its construction. This climbing shoe typically lasts for about six months of wear and tear. You have to think about replacing the shoe when the rubber starts to lose its quality.

Our Opinion

Even though this Mad Rock Men’s Drifter Climbing Shoe comes at a fairly reasonable price, it offers some of the best features for beginner climbing shoes. Its premium-grade leather construction is highly durable and serves for a long time. 

Likewise, the product has dual Velcro straps that are quick and easy to slide in and secure the fit. While it might be slightly uncomfortable and stiff at the beginning, the polyester will quickly soften up. 

Therefore, if you are on an affordable budget but you look to initiate climbing right away, then you can try out this model from Mad Rock. For this price and features, Mad Rock Men’s Drifter is certainly a bargain. 

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