Review by: holdplease2, 2006-08-17
Full Disclosure: The reviewer paid pro-deal prices for the Acopa B3s and has been climbing in them exclusively for 6 months in Joshua Tree and Yosemite. Sept 2006. That’s the headline from the Acopa web site. Yeah, right, marketing BS! Hardcore senders like myself (as in regularly thrashed on 5.10, but still trying), need a tight aggressive fit! And there’s no way that an aggressive shoe can be comfortable.
Climbing shoes are often designed in the shape of a foot in "normal" foot position, even if the shoe requires that the toes be in a "cambered" position. The climber is required to break in the shoes, forcing the shoe to form around the toe bulges. The extreme slingshot rand that is stretched around the foot with pull tabs makes this possible…and painful.
You’ll find no extreme slingshot rand on Acopas, even on the most aggressive models. This is because Acopa designed the lower and the upper around a climber’s foot…taped into climbing position for cambered-toe shoes.
When I opened the box with my new Acopa B3s, I was simultaneously impressed by the thick leather (reminding me of the quality of Boreal) and intimidated by the prospect of breaking it in (ouch!). I also noticed the burly Velcro and pull tabs and the *perfectly* finished rand and rubber.
Then I put on the shoes.
They didn’t hurt my feet. “Oh man.”, I thought, “They’re too big!”…yet there wasn’t even the slightest ‘air pocket’ in the arch, on the heel, or anywhere around the toes. Maybe they did fit. I sat in them for a while and walked around the house for 15 minutes.
Then sat down at my computer and got distracted.
For two hours.
In aggressive new climbing shoes.
When I finally pried them off of my feet, I swear, there was no blood in my toes (just the way I like it!) but my feet didn’t hurt. Amazing. These shoes were designed to fit…from the start!
I have climbed in these shoes almost exclusively for six months, including multi-week trips to Joshua Tree and many laps on Yosemite’s granite cracks. My footwork is not the greatest, so these shoes got a workout. All I can say is that the leather, pull tabs, and Velcro show ZERO wear. The rubber is showing normal mileage wear, of course.
Acopa’s rubber is unique; it’s made from natural latex. And for some reason, this natural latex doesn’t oxidize the way that synthetic rubber does. Despite spending some time on the shelves at Acopa, the rubber was sticky, not slippery, when it arrived.
If you like 5.10 rubber, you will probably like Acopa rubber. I’d venture to say that it is slightly stickier, and perhaps a tiny bit softer, but otherwise very similar. It has been durable (even on Joshua Tree rock) and has worn well. There is no “chunking” of the rubber and the awesome finish on the shoe means there has been zero delamination, despite much crack climbing in very bad style.
You may not be able to find Acopas in a store near you. But you can order them online. How do you know that the shoes will fit? You provide the Acopa team with the make, model, and size of a few shoes that fit you and they will send you a perfect fit. No kidding. If they get it wrong they pay the return shipping costs and the shipping for the replacement pair. I tried this and it worked perfectly. They didn’t know I was planning on reviewing the shoes, so I didn’t get special treatment.
Editor’s Note: Please consider contributing to help John Bachar get through his recent tragedy. For more information (and to learn how to help) [url=http://www.rockclimbing.com/articles/index.php?id=2208]click here.[/url]