Gear Guide 2020: Mad Rock Phoenix Review

Our picks for the best gear of 2020.
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The Mad Rock Phoenix climbing shoe. 

The Mad Rock Phoenix climbing shoe. 

The first thing I noticed about the updated Phoenix was its retro style. The mustard-and-yellow leather upper and green R2 rand give it a nice 1970s vibe. But it doesn’t just look groovy; it performs well, too. The 1.8mm compressed polyester midsole combined with a perforated EVA tongue (which I haven’t seen on any other shoe) provides support below and above the foot, ideal for multi-pitch and crack climbs. And the Science Friction 3.0 sole edged and smeared well on both rock and plastic. “I was blown away by the quality for a shoe that retails under $80,” exclaimed one tester. I’d highly recommend this lace-up to beginners looking for an entry-level shoe or any climber looking for comfy all-day wear. MSRP: $79

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