Butora, a South Korean climbing shoe company, hasn’t been on the scene for all that long, but ever since they hit the USA, they’ve been knocking it out of the park. Any search for the Acro, winner of Rock and Ice’s Best Climbing Gear of 2016, results in numerous rave reviews about the enjoyable functionality of these aggressive shoes. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to find reviews for their shoes that are not 4 or 5 stars; however, when you’ve based your business model on designing shoes that perform and are actually comfortable, it’s easy to see why. Their designer, Nam Hee Do, has 30 years of manufacturing and design experience - so it’s no wonder the attention paid to the small things, like the expert stitching and the lack of glue spots (that are common place with some brands). Most of their shoes are made with organic hemp and Butora’s own proprietary rubber, which further highlights the company’s attention to detail and quality of materials. Each model is made in a narrow(regular) and a wide fit, to give climbers more choices in getting the perfect fit.
One of the most common questions we hear at Backcountry Gear is regarding the stretch factor. Almost all of Butora’s shoes have a 100% organic hemp fabric lining. Most climbers know the story with synthetic and leather shoes, but hemp? Not only is this hemp liner great at combating smelly climber’s foot, it also means that Butora’s shoes hold their shape and won’t stretch. The only exception is the Acro, which is a combination of leather and synthetic, so it’s recommended that you might want to size down a ½ size. The full length ABS midsole further contributes to the shoe’s static form, and ensures that the downturned shoes stay down. Finally, all of Butora’s shoes have a unique rubber, applied in a way which results in much fewer delamination issues.
Butora’s one of the few companies that regularly holds climbing shoe demos in gyms across the US. This past Friday, I headed down to our local gym the Crux to talk with fellow climbers and Tyler, the Butora Rep for the Pacific Northwest. Tyler, an Oregon native, described Butora as “a company by climbers, for climbers”. He said that the past year and a half, since Butora really started expanding in the US, has been a whirlwind. They’re a small company and the reception to their products has been much more than anticipated.
I joined the fray and hopped on some routes in the Endeavors, their all-around climbing shoe. Right off the bat, I noticed how comfortable these shoes were but had no trouble tackling the footwork I put them through. Climbing a 5.11 friction-y, calf-burner, smear fest, the Endeavors performed like a dream. I loved how sticky the rubber was and how easy it was to trust my feet, even though I was climbing . My climbing partner also tried the Endeavors and fell in love. When she took them off, and put back on her own climbing shoes, 3 holds into the next route, she was already wishing she had the Endeavors back.
One climber I spoke with had been in the market for a more Aggressive shoe, so she took the Acros for a spin. She said that “they’re different… but good different”, referring to how hard it is to find a shoe that feels good, while you’re putting it through the ringer. When I tried on the Acros, I loved how it didn’t feel like the usual aggressive shoe; but when you start edging and throwing heel hooks, you can certainly tell the effective work horses you’ve got on your feet.
There’s no doubt that Butora gained some new devotees after their demo here in Eugene. If you haven’t had the chance, I definitely recommend checking them out!