“Many of my friends have been talking about the Butora, ‘Acro’, so I decided to take a look. At first glance, the Acro has that race car, high performance, down-turned toe design. After 35+ years of alpine climbing, my feet don’t have an Indy 500 shape. My pads have endured way too many north walls, ice routes, expeditions and winter bivouacs. But there I was, once again hoping for that golden fit of a rock shoe. Surprisingly, the Acro is extremely comfortable for such an aggressive shoe. Perfect for gym climbing, sport routes, and outdoor bouldering. Butora offers narrow and wide versions of their rock shoe designs, the Acro comes in Blue and Orange. I opted for the wide fit, ‘Acro Orange’.
The Acro started to break in after about two weeks of gym climbing. I found that the overall construction of the shoe to be somewhat stiff. A stiffness that comes from full-length mid-sole, split-grain leather, and a huge patch of rubber that covers most of the toe box. We’re talking, ‘robust construction’. (After almost three months of use the Acro has stretched less than a half size.)
To test the Butora, Acro shoes outdoors, I loaded up my old Xterra and headed south towards granite faces of Carmel. Tucked away, this area offers incredible views of the Big Sur coastline, and Point Lobos State Reserve. I started out testing the Acro’s on the Main Slab, and eventually worked my way over to the Monkey Traverse. Due to a full length midsole and the use of F5 sticky rubber, the Acro edged extremely well. I could tag crystals and transfer weight without a problem. To my surprise the shoes also smeared well on round knobs and friction slabs.
I ended my session hiking down to the beach to check out a scooped boulder with a sandy landing. This boulder, which has a tendency to be slapped around by rouge waves, has two razor sharp arête problems. The Acro’s edged well on the smallest of divots, heal-hooked the arête and even toe-jammed finger cracks.
Last week my wife, Maggie, urged me to join her on a drive north of Santa Cruz. Maggie wanted to paint the sandstone cliffs along the coast. She also wanted to visit the Whale City Bakery, our favorite mid-week haunt. After pounding down a coconut chai and sharing a Marion-berry Croissant, we gathered our kit and hiked down to the beach.
Of all my favorite bouldering venues, Panther Beach ranks on the top five list. The ocean at Panther seems to rage wild most days, which makes it important to read the tide charts before climbing. What I love most about Panther Beach is the effect that the ocean has with the rock. At high tide, the base of the routes can be washed out or at times under water. It can be humbling to see how the water moves sand. This past December the bouldering problems were half covered in sand deposits. By the end of January, the ocean had shoveled out tons of sand, which turned many routes into high-ball nightmares.
Once in a great moon, I seem to catch it right; a warm wind, a low tide, and morning of solitude. One thing I can always count on while climbing at Panther is sandy holds. Both footholds and handholds are more often than not, caked with sand. Holds are rounded, sculpted and altered by the ever-changing disposition of the Great Pacific. Butora rubber held well on the semi-wet, sandy footholds and I felt pretty solid heal-and toe hooking across a project that has stumped me for the past six months.
All in all, I have to admit that the Acro is a shoe to take note of.”