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Mad Rock has long had an innovative approach to shoe design — think of the 3D Molded Heel Cup, with its aggressive ribbing, and the Power Upper, adding a sticky patch atop the toe box. The flagship of the company’s new concave-soled series, the new MAD ROCK CON-FLICT ($99.95, madrockclimbing.com) incorporates these steepclimbing staples but adds new, techtastic twists: Science Friction 2.2 sticky rubber, an extreme Concave Sole that bends your forefoot into a mega-downturn, and an odor-resistant hemp lining . . . all in a three-strap Velcro rock shoe.

—Justin Roth

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.