mad rock drone cs

The Ultimate Guide to Mad Rock Drone CS: A Bouldering Shoe Revolution

In the realm of climbing, having the right pair of shoes can make all the difference between success and frustration. Whether you’re scaling steep outdoor cliffs or dominating the challenges of a gym climbing wall, the choice of footwear plays a pivotal role in your performance. One such revolutionary climbing shoe that has been making waves in the climbing community is the Mad Rock Drone Comp Series (CS). In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of Mad Rock Drone CS, exploring its features, pros, and cons. By the end of this article, you’ll understand why these shoes are causing climbers to reconsider their choices.

Unveiling the Mad Rock Drone CS

The Mad Rock Drone CS is not just another climbing shoe; it’s a game-changer. Designed with precision and packed with innovation, this shoe offers a unique blend of performance, comfort, and affordability. Whether you’re an experienced climber or just starting out, the Drone CS demands your attention.

Key Features

1. Xtreme Fiction Rubber Compound

At the heart of the Mad Rock Drone CS’s exceptional performance is the Xtreme Fiction rubber compound. This cutting-edge rubber material provides unparalleled grip and friction, making it a formidable choice for climbers seeking reliability on various terrains.

2. Patented Concave Sole

One of the standout features of the Drone CS is its patented Concave Sole. This innovative design ensures that your foot’s metatarsals are positioned in a concave down manner. This results in superior support and precision, even in a softer shoe, making it ideal for bouldering enthusiasts.

3. Velcro Closure System

The Drone CS features a single Velcro closure system, simplifying the process of securing your shoes before a climb. This not only saves you time but also ensures a snug and secure fit, crucial for climbing success.

4. Neoprene Upper

The neoprene upper of the Drone CS offers comfort and flexibility. It adapts to the contours of your foot, providing a comfortable fit during long climbs.

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Pros and Cons

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Mad Rock Drone CS:


  • Excellent Smearing Capabilities: The Drone CS excels in smearing, making it an ideal choice for climbers tackling challenging routes with minimal footholds.
  • Toeing in on Steep Climbs: These shoes are exceptional when it comes to toeing in on steep and overhanging terrain. You can trust them to keep you secure on those tricky holds.
  • Patented Concave Sole: The Concave Sole design offers support and precision, compensating for the shoe’s softness.
  • Comfortable: Climbing in discomfort is a thing of the past with the Drone CS. The neoprene upper and thoughtful design ensure a comfortable experience even during extended climbs.
  • Affordability: Compared to other high-performance climbing shoes on the market, the Drone CS comes at a far more reasonable price point. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly!


  • Edging Performance: Due to its softness, the Drone CS may not perform as well on vertical edges or when you need to apply power through small footholds.
  • Tan Fabric Stains: The tan fabric used in these shoes tends to get dirty quickly, affecting the shoe’s aesthetics.
  • Heel Sensation: Some climbers find the Drone CS’s heel a bit squishy, which can impact performance on edges but can be beneficial for smeary heels.

Our Thoughts

In our assessment of the Mad Rock Drone CS, we’ve found that while it may not be the ultimate choice for pure edging, it compensates with its exceptional performance on smears and steep walls. The comfort it offers during climbs, coupled with its affordability, makes us question why climbers often invest in pricier alternatives.

Exploring the Specifications

Before making any climbing shoe purchase, it’s crucial to consider the shoe’s specifications to ensure a perfect fit. Here are the key details of the Mad Rock Drone CS:

  • Size Reviewed: 10
  • Weight: 16.8 oz
  • Price: $149
  • Brand: Mad Rock
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Real-World Testing

The true test of any climbing shoe is how it performs in real-world scenarios. The Mad Rock Drone CS has undergone rigorous testing in various climbing environments, and the results are impressive.

Performative Smearing

One of the standout features of the Drone CS is its exceptional smearing capabilities. Unlike its predecessors, which could sometimes leave climbers struggling on footholds lacking prominent edges, the Drone CS sticks to virtually anything. Climbers can trust these shoes to provide stability and confidence on a wide range of surfaces.

Softness, Edging, and Comfort

The Drone CS’s soft Xtreme Friction (XF) rubber offers a snug fit without compromising comfort. Climbers have reported pleasurable experiences during extended climbs, both outdoors and in the gym. However, it’s important to note that the softness of the shoe may affect vertical edging performance and the sensation of small edges.

The Heel

The Drone CS retains the split-heel design that made its predecessor, the OG Drone, beloved among climbers. While the split heel is a game-changer for side-heeling on crimps or jibs, the Drone CS’s softer rubber can make the heel feel slightly squishy on smaller edges. For climbers who prioritize precise heel-edging, the OG Drone might remain the preferred choice.

The Rounded Toe

The Drone CS features a rounded toe box, a departure from the narrow, pointy toes found in many high-performance climbing shoes. While this may initially feel clunky on small pockets, narrower cracks, or tiny chips, climbers quickly adapt to its sensitivity and malleability. This unique toe box design enhances performance on small, glassy footholds, both indoors and on demanding climbing surfaces.


Climbing shoes endure a fair amount of wear and tear, but the Mad Rock Drone CS holds up remarkably well, especially considering its price point. The tan fabric used in the shoe’s construction may give the impression of reduced durability due to its tendency to stain. However, the shoe’s overall construction remains robust. Cosmetic issues, such as logo peeling, do not impact its performance. Even after months of heavy toe hooking, the Drone CS maintains its integrity.

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Sizing & Fit

Selecting the right size for your climbing shoes is crucial for a comfortable and effective climb. Mad Rock’s sizing tends to be more “true to size” compared to other brands like Scarpa and La Sportiva. For optimal gym climbing performance, sizing the Drone CS down by half from your street shoe size is recommended. However, considering the shoe’s softness, some climbers have chosen to downsize a full size to enhance outdoor performance on small edges. It’s worth noting that the shoe’s synthetic upper does not stretch significantly over time, but the rubber becomes more malleable with use.

The Mad Rock Drone CS Advantage

The Mad Rock Drone CS is a remarkable climbing shoe that deserves recognition. Its exceptional smearing capabilities, comfortable fit, and budget-friendly price point make it a standout choice for climbers of all levels. While it may not excel in pure edging, it compensates with its prowess on smears and steep terrains. The split-heel design, unique toe box, and durability add to its appeal.

Price: A Game-Changer

Let’s address the elephant in the room—the price. The Mad Rock Drone CS is priced at $149, significantly cheaper than most other top-end climbing shoes on the market. In our opinion, it’s an absolute steal, offering exceptional value for climbers seeking high-performance footwear without breaking the bank.

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, Mad Rock has created a climbing shoe that demands attention and respect. The Drone CS may not replace the OG Drones, but it certainly complements them. Climbers who appreciate innovation, comfort, and affordability should consider the Drone CS for their next climbing adventure. It’s time to reevaluate the notion that quality climbing shoes must come with a hefty price tag. The Mad Rock Drone CS is proof that excellence doesn’t always require extravagant spending.

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