Hooker EZ - pick 'em up if you can find them...
Review by: alpineclimb, 2009-06-09
We all have an arsenal of shoes. Each weapon for a different beast to slay... trad slab, trad. crack, sport, comp, bouldering, warm ups, the list goes on.
I fell victim to the ideology that if you weren't crying when you put your shoes on they weren't small enough. Most climbers that have been around for sometime now and ones that are continuing to send hard routes will argue that fit it key. It doesn't matter what kind of rubber you're rockin' if the shoes doesn't fit your foot correctly you're not going to climb well.
I've found my match in Mad Rocks. I've been wearing the Mugens and Hooker EZs for the past two seasons and they have been great. I have a fairly low volume foot, with a narrow heel, large big toe, flat arch and slightly wide (E-EE.) The Mad Rocks have fit the bill. The rubber has been great on the local Schist and Granite with normal wearing. I climb at least 3 times a week. I've been working routes with the Mugens and then sending them with the Hookers. It's all about the fit. I feel like I've dipped my foot in rubber the shoe is so snug and form fitting without the pain and cramping.
I've been up and down the east coast climbing at the Red, Obed, Lincoln Woods, Rumney, Pawtuckaway SP, North Conway, Rumbling Bald, and the list goes on. People think of Mad Rock as the beginner shoe for newbies but after I come down from sending 5.12d in the "beginner" shoe, people start to think of them a bit differently. I like to think of Mad Rock like Volkswagen. They are a "people's company." Quality goods for not much money.
I know the Hooker EZs are now discontinued and the Conflict has taken it's place, but if you can find a pair on consignment. Get 'em. Way worth the money. The heel and toe hooking is unbelievable, edging precision is pretty good and the Hookers don't stretch out but rather mold to your foot. For a shoe under a hundred bucks you can't go wrong. I can't wait to try the new updated version with even stickier rubber!
Always remember though, if the shoe isn't fitting well don't blame the shoe. You're the one that bought it. Fit is key. Don't just buy something because you can get a good deal or buy something because all the pros use them. Buy a product that works for you. With Mad Rock being the "people's shoe company" they will most definitely have something for your foot.