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Mad Rock Drone HV Review - The Best Vegan Friendly Climbing Shoes?

Profile image Adam M.
Feb 11, 2023
Climbing Shoes
The Mad Rock Drone HV climbing shoes are the perfect combination of comfort and performance. They provide excellent support, and have a few unique features.
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Review Summary

TOP PERFORMANCE MEETS COMFORT!
The Mad Rock Drone HV climbing shoes are a perfect combination of performance and comfort. Their wide toe box is perfect for those with wide feet, who are looking to still have a performance shoe for hard climbing.

  • Wide toe box for climbers with wide feet
  • Molded midsole for increased support and power
  • Downturned toe profile
  • 3D molded heel for locking your heel into place
  • Vegan friendly
  • Versatile - a great choice for short and long routes
  • Has a black colored version
  • Has a low volume version for climbers with narrower feet
  • Affordable compared to competitors

Mad Rock's Drone HV climbing shoes are the ultimate blend of comfort, sensitivity, and durability, making them a top choice for climbers of all levels. With a high-volume toe box, these shoes are ideal for those with wider feet.

While still being snug and tight for great performance, they offer ample room for added comfort during long climbing sessions. The downturned toe profile and molded midsole also make the Drone HV shoes a versatile option for climbers who want to tackle a range of routes, from steep overhangs to technical slab climbing.

The shoes, being synthetic with plant-based glue, are also a great option for vegan climbers and anyone who prefers not to wear leather climbing shoes.

In this review, we'll take a closer look at what sets the Drone HV apart from other climbing shoes on the market. We will cover why they're an excellent investment for climbers, as well as my review of the these shoes after climbing in them for 3 years.

Article Contents

Mad Rock's Drone HV Features

The Drone HV has some features that are quite unique and hard to come by, here is a break-down of these features:

High-Volume Toe Box for Comfortable Fit

One of the standout features of the Drone HV shoes is their high-volume toe box, which offers ample room for those with wider feet. This feature ensures a comfortable fit that won't compromise performance, making the Drone HV a top choice for climbers who value comfort.

My Experience
Having wider feet than most climbers I know of, it is very difficult to find climbing shoes that actually fit my feet. With most climbing shoes, my feet are overly cramped inside the shoes, much more than they should be. The Drone HV shoes are definitely the ones that provide me the most comfort, without any reduction in performance.

Downturned Toe Profile for Versatile Performance

In addition to its comfortable fit, the Drone HV shoes also feature a downturned toe profile that provides excellent edging capabilities. This makes it easy to tackle steep routes and overhangs with ease, making the Drone HV a versatile option for climbers who want to tackle a range of routes.

My Experience
The Drone HV’s are my go-to shoes for any difficult overhanging routes. Out of all of my shoes, I feel they give me the best performance and ability to stick to the wall, even on horizontal routes.

Molded Midsole for Increased Support and Power

One of the standout features of the Drone HV shoes is their molded midsole, which provides increased support and power, allowing climbers to push themselves to their limits. This extra support makes it easier to stand on small holds and maintain your balance, even during the most strenuous climbing sessions. The shoes' sleek design and high-quality construction make them a popular choice among climbers, both beginner and experienced.

My Experience
Most of the climbing I do is bouldering, but for sport climbing, there are 2 shoes I use: Evolve Supra, and the Drone HV. The Supra’s are flat and supportive shoes, which is great for longer sport routes. They do however lack the aggressiveness and grip that downturned shoes have, which is where the Drone HV comes in and excels. Their molded midsole provides the needed support, and their downturned profile provides the needed performance and grip. I will use my Supra for the easier climbs, but when it comes down to the harder projects, I will use my Drone HV.

3D Molded Heel For Enhanced Support

Another standout feature of the Drone HV shoes is their 3d molded heel cup. The heel contains a slight lip down it’s middle, which is meant to help climbers lock their heels into the foot holds and edges, helping climbers make sure they don’t pop off the wall.

My Experience
The 3d molded heel seemed like a gimmick at first, and I even thought it may bother me a little bit, but, after using it for a while, I actually find it quite helpful. The lip on the heel does help in situations where the hold you are hooking your heel on is very small. If there is any groove in that hold, the lip on the heel will catch onto it and sort of lock your heel into place.

Vegan Friendly Climbing Shoes

The Drone HV is a great choice for vegan climbers, as the shoes are completely vegan. Meaning, they do not contain leather, and the glue used in the shoes manufacturing process does not contain any animal products.

My Experience
Being vegan myself, I found it a little bit difficult to find shoes that were fully vegan, meaning, that do not contain leather, and that don’t use glues containing any animal products in them. There are quite a few shoes that are synthetic, but, upon further research, use glues and other materials that are not synthetic or plant-based. The Drones were one of the first shoes I found that were actually fully vegan, and that actually fit my wide feet.

Affordability

When compared to other shoes with similar features, such as the La Sportiva Solution or the Scarpa Instinct VS, the Drone HV stands out for its affordability. These shoes offer comparable performance and comfort to their more expensive counterparts, making them an excellent value for climbers who are looking for a high-quality shoe without breaking the bank.

A 3-Year Review Of Mad Rock Drone HV

I bought my first pair of these shoes 6 months after I started climbing. They were a replacement for my old beginner shoes, and the difference was huge.

I have pretty wide and flat feet, so finding climbing shoes that fit me wasn’t easy. I tried on quite a few different shoes from different brands, but they just didn’t fit the size and shape of my feet. The Drone HV shoes were a great fit from the beginning. They were still very tight, but the wide toe box made a huge difference since my feet still had room and didn’t have to be extremely cramped up.

After 3 years and 3 resoles, the shoes feel like they have the exact same fit as they had when I first bought them. I know this because 2 years after I bought them, I bought another pair, the Mad Rock Drone HV Black shoes, which is just a black colored version of the same shoes. My 2-year-old shoes and the new shoes had the exact same fit and comfort level. This makes sense since they are synthetic, and synthetic shoes tend to not really change that much over time, though people can experience different things.

The molded heel was a little bit strange to get used to at first, but you can quickly notice the difference and the potential performance gains from it, especially when heel hooking or pulling on very small holds or edges.

They also have a pretty large honeycomb pattern toe pad, which is very noticeable and sticky when toe hooking.

Black Drone HV - Review Summary

TOP PERFORMANCE MEETS COMFORT! - Black Drone HV
The Mad Rock Black Drone HV climbing shoes are a perfect combination of performance and comfort. Their wide toe box is perfect for those with wide feet, who are looking to still have a performance shoe for hard climbing.

  • Wide toe box for climbers with wide feet
  • Molded midsole for increased support and power
  • Downturned toe profile
  • 3D molded heel for locking your heel into place
  • Vegan friendly
  • Versatile - a great choice for short and long routes
  • Has a low volume version for climbers with narrower feet
  • Affordable compared to competitors

Conclusion: Invest in Your Climbing with the Drone HV

In conclusion, the Mad Rock Drone HV shoes are a top choice for climbers who value comfort, sensitivity, and durability. With its high-volume toe box, molded midsole, and downturned toe profile, the Drone HV offers versatile performance that is perfect for a range of climbing styles. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced climber, the Drone HV is a shoe that is sure to meet your needs.

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