(3 out of 5)
The Mad Rock Remora climbing shoe offers up an affordable slip-on that is touted as a good all around shoe for beginner and intermediate climbers. We were eager to try the shoe and compare it to the Five Ten Moccasym as well as the Mad Rock Flash 2018, which are our go to slipper and gym shoe respectively.
While a new slipper was intriguing to test out, the real reason we bought the Remora was for gym climbing. The Mad Rock Flash 2018 had worked well up to this point but the pair in rotation was worn out after 9-months of consistent climbing. In doing research, the Remora was associated with certain characteristics we were looking for in a gym shoe:
While the Remora’s were able to check all the boxes, they fell short for us compared against the aforementioned competition.
Having never tried on other shoes, the Mad Rock Remora would likely be a good pick for a beginner or someone looking for a shoe beyond their first neutral beginner shoe. While we can recommend it as an option to consider we’d opt for the Mad Rock Flash 2018 for the gym.
Putting on a new pair of shoes can be a little tricky. You are typically used to the pair that you’ve been rocking for months, if not years, and putting on a brand new pair of shoes that aren’t broken in can feel a bit off. The Remora’s were surprisingly comfortable to put on for the first time. The large toe box and forgiving Syn Flex upper wrapped around our feet for a snug but not overwhelming fit. The break in period for the shoe is virtually non-existent given you purchase the right size. We sized down a half from our street shoe size being that we are used to a more aggressive fit. The best fit for beginners is likely true to street shoe.
As mentioned earlier, the profile of the shoe is moderate. There is a slight downturn out of the box but nothing drastic that you will notice unless comparing against a rental or intro shoe. The heel fit snugly and deep enough to not slip or leave air pockets. This was an issue with the Mad Rock Flash 2018 out of the box that turned out to be fine after breaking in.
Unlike the Five Ten Moccasym, this slipper comes with a fully rubber wrapped toe that helps keep the shoe snug around the foot and likely doesn’t hurt for grip in cracks. It makes the shoe feel less shifty on the foot compared to Moccasym which is nice for bouldering and sport climbing, but less ideal if you don’t leave enough room in the shoe for crack climbing. The snugger fit helps the shoe from a performance standpoint on vertical terrain.
This shoe is extremely comfortable and easy to get on and off after the first few times putting on the shoe. Due to the softness of the sole and upper, the shoe provides plenty of flex allowing for extended wear and not needing to constantly take the shoe on and off. The flex also makes for good performance over slabbier terrain.
As with most Mad Rock climbing shoes, the price is right. It is even more right if you can get these during one of the larger outdoor retailer seasonal sales when the shoes typically are 20-25% off, right around $70.
The wide snug fit of the Mad Rock Remora’s
This is a hard critique because we knew that the shoe was touted as being soft. They truly are soft which is great for comfort but less so if you are used and like to any sort of stiffness in a climbing shoe. It was a difficult transition back to such a soft shoe for gym climbing, especially because we had sized down for added performance. Had we sized strictly true to our street shoe size these might have been a great option for crack climbing. Overall, the shoes edge decently for the gym but being that shoes lack stiffness, edging can seem more difficult.
The combination of softness and wide toe box make for a comfy shoe but once again one that felt less trusting than what we were used to. This likely is a good thing for most beginner climbers or those looking for comfort, but in the long term isn’t what we were looking for in an all around gym shoe.
I typically wear a size 12 running shoe and an 11.5 street shoe. I bought the Mad Rock Remora in an 11 and they fit snug with my toes definitely pushing up against the end of the shoe. Depending on what you are used to, there is plenty of room to size up to your normal street shoe size without the shoe being too big.
With so many options on the market for different types of shoes it’s hard to recommend the Remora as your top option for a slipper or gym shoe. The Five Ten Moccasym or the Mad Rock Flash 2018 offer better options respectively. But if you are looking for a low-cost gym slipper or a general beginner shoe the Remora is likely a good fit. Time it right and get the Remora on sale for a killer deal on a decent shoe.