Mad Rock Phoenix
Sure you can get an agressive fit out of the box but it streches out in a few days to a running shoe fit. Also there is no rubber on the toe which makes cracks a pain and the places where the rubber overlaps the bottom of the laces seems to be a less than durable spot. You can get a much better shoe for the money like the Mad Rock Flash (no personal experience but I've heard it's awesome). The biggest problem with the Phoenix is the stretching. You will buy the right fit but the shoe will be useless after a few trips. Pay the extra ten bucks or whatever for the Flash or anything else other than this piece of junk that won't stretch out.
Use: climbing...then nothing
Break-in Period: 1 day
At first, the rubber seems rather flimsy, but once you break this shoe in, the rubber is indeed sticky. As a person who generally relies on stealth rubber, gryptonite has exceeded all my expectations. Resoling this shoe is also pretty idiot-proof.
For the most part, this shoe takes time getting comfortable in. The stiff backing causes minor abrasions on the back of your heel. The rubber is a bit thicker than the other shoes I've owned, leading towards less sensitivity. I found this shoe to be less flexible than other shoes due to the stiff heel and thicker rubber. This shoe has also given me a little problems when crack climbing, since it's less form fitting than my previous shoe.
As for durability, these shoes have shown minor wear after perhaps two months of climbing. The stitching has held up well, but I'm not sure about how long the rubber will last. Already there is a definite marking around the toe-area.
Use: Gym Climbing
Break-in Period: 3 weeks, 3 days in the gym ea
Weight: 145 lb
Price Paid: $65.99
Pretty good shoe. I liked them for easier routes. The hooker heel is nice for those heel hooks. Aggressive enough for a beginner who is progressing.
Comfortable beginner shoe. This was my first climbing shoe and used it a lot for easy climbs, and never failed me. I have now more technical shoes, but these ones were so comfortable, that I might resole them for the long day climbs outside on easy routes.
Use: long easy climbing days
Break-in Period: 1 week
Price Paid: $60
This fit my slim foot very well. It also performed admirably the first several times I took it out bouldering. The only problem was that it stretched more than I thought it would, and I ended up returning it after 2 or 3 weeks because I couldn't hold a small edge well anymore. I ended up with a La Sportiva Cliff, which I'm hoping stretches less.
I'd say it's a good beginner shoe, especially if you don't climb that often. But I'd recommend getting a smaller size than is at all comfortable at first.
Materials: split grain leather
Break-in Period: 1 day
Price Paid: $70
Definately a good beginner shoes with a classy lace-up design. I bring them to any pitch for their comfort and versatility on various rock and gym surfaces. I've had mine for about 9 months now and my only complaint is the toes losing their point a bit. Definitely go for a 1/2 to even a full size smaller than your street shoes to keep your toes and heel firm.
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