These shoes are most at home in steep limestone caves
Edging is the Acro's strong suit. Their high tension heel rand keeps the big toe snug and secure at the power point. Combine that with a midsole that feels stiffer than the La Sportiva Skwama and the Scarpa Instinct and you've got a shoe that can handle the dime edges of dead vertical limestone of Wild Iris while remaining sensitive enough to feel tiny divots and crystals at the Buttermilk boulders.
Though stiff, our tester can still use these shoes to feel out the micro crystal foot holds found in the Buttermilks.
Most climbers will size these shoes too tight to be running laps on cracks at Indian Creek or charging up soaring granite multi pitch climbs in Yosemite, but if you encounter some toe jamming action on a sport climb or a shorter trad pitch, you won't be out of luck. The toe profile of the Acro is narrow enough to wiggle your toes into the same cracks and pods that accept a 0.75 camalot, and the fully rubber covered upper helps your rand smear in flares and corners. Additionally, these shoes are wide enough to keep your feet relatively comfy in hand sized cracks. While we didn't do any durability testing, we the Acros show no noticeable signs of wear after a few days of jamming.
Though the Acros were designed for bouldering and sport climbing, we found they performed well in cracks, allowing us to make use of thin cracks and pods.
A shoe's performance in pockets depends on how well it edges and how narrow it is at the point of the toe. Also, a little downturn is helpful for toeing into steep pockets. Edging is not a problem for these puppies, but they aren't quite as narrow in the toe as the Tenaya Tarifa or the Evolv Shaman, so they won't wiggle into smaller pockets as well. When it comes to steeper pocketed terrain, the overall downturn is great for toeing in hard and cranking. These shoes also have an added downturn right at the toe to enhance their pulling potential. Our lead tester found he could pull in so well with this shoe without his feet popping that his hip flexors were aching after a long day of steep climbing.
The toe on the Acro is not as pointy as some models, but it's edging capabilities still make it a formidable weapon against steep pocketed routes.
Although the Acro is one of the stiffer aggressive shoes we've tested, they don't feel like insensitive bricks. On slick Yosemite granite, our testers found that they could feel (and stick to!) small bumps and divots, even in less than ideal summer conditions. If you're on the lookout for a similar fit with more sensitivity, check out the La Sportiva Skwama, which is softer but doesn't edge quite as well.
Stiff enough to edge, yet soft enough to smear, the Acro is a versatile addition to any shoe quiver.
These shoes run small, and we sized them the same as our street shoe size, resulting in a shoe that was great right out of the box for sport climbing and bouldering, but we'd leave them behind on a multi-pitch in favor of a more relaxed fitting shoe like the La Sportiva TC Pro or the Scarpa Vapor V. We found we could crag all day with breaks in between pitches and never succumb to foot pain fatigue.
The German split leather upper feels soft and doesn't get as stinky as a synthetic shoe. The heel tension rand kept the heel on during heel hooks without causing Achilles pain, though our lead tester did notice some dead space on the sides of the heel. The elastic on top of the shoe is not very tight and won't keep the shoe on very well without the velcro strap cinched down, but this makes for easy on and off, especially for folks with high volume feet.
The heel on this shoe stays in place under pressure, but our testers felt the heel was baggy and didn't grip as well as other models.
We feel the Acro is a great value and solid competition for more expensive, time tested favorites like the La Sportiva Solutions or the Scarpa Instinct. Butoras are made in Korea and feature a pressure treatment to prevent delamination. Its 4mm of Neo Fuse rubber is slightly thicker than average for all shoes, suggesting it will provide above average durability.
These shoes are a favorite of our wide footed testers and helped us tick off many classic routes at Wild Iris.
The Acro helped our testers float up limestone sport climbs in Sinks Canyon, WY, edge on the granite patina of the City of Rocks in Idaho, and even send a few crack climbs in Yosemite Valley. The wide version was especially appreciated by our wide footed testers who find many narrower models to painful to use. Overall, the Acro made us psyched to learn that Butora is yet another company producing an excellent shoe to help us rock climb our best.