Acopa Enzos | Climbing Shoe Review

Neesha Basnyat – February 5th, 2022

Overview

Having used the Acopa Enzos for a couple months, I would absolutely recommend them to others. My foot has never felt quite right in other similar slippers like the 5.10 Moccasyms and Unparallel Up Moccs, and I am excited to have an alternative slip-on shoe that fits right and is comfortable for me.

The additional rubber on the top, as well as stickiness and quality of the rubber are also pluses. However, the top rubber started to peel off after less than 10 pitches, which hopefully is not a testament to the shoe’s durability moving forward. Overall, this is an easy fix, and the only other downside to this shoe is that it’s not available in stores for you to try them yourself!

Ideal For: Crack climbing, edging, all-arounder

Pros:

  • Comfortable fit
  • A unique slipper with something to add to the climbing shoe market
  • Great all-arounder
  • Great rubber
  • Spot-on sizing
  • Customizable

Cons:

  • Durability: glued-on rubber coming off after less than 10 pitches
  • Availability: not sold in stores right now

About the Enzos & Acopa

The Acopa Enzos are a fully lined natural leather slipper shoe with original Acopa RS rubber on the bottom as well as panels of rubber on top. According to the Acopa website, the Enzo is “tailored for extreme accuracy and sensitivity on steep, gymnastic climbs and thin cracks.”

Acopa is a climber-owned company specializing in climbing shoes. It was founded in Mexico in 1997. Legendary climber John Bachar joined the company in 2003 as a USA founding partner and tested many of the shoes himself before they went into production. An unfortunate series of tragic events including Bachar’s death forced the company to shut down in 2010, but they have since returned as of 2020, releasing a fleet of 11 shoes, all of which are fully customizable

The Acopa Enzos are one of the 11 shoes that Acopa offers. Having been offered my choice of any of their shoes, I decided to go with the Enzo because I’ve been trying to find a good crack climbing shoe. My La Sportiva Mythos stretched too much too fast, and other slipper shoes on the market that are known for being great for crack climbing (most notably the 5.10 Moccasyms and Unparallel Up Moccs) have never fit me quite right. I hoped I would have better luck with the Enzo. 

I wore the Enzo while crack climbing and face climbing on some southeast sandstone in the New River Gorge and the Obed, for a few gym climbs, on a couple of slabby granite multi-pitches in Cochise Stronghold, and on some overhung limestone at Dry Canyon in southern Arizona.

Sizing

I found the sizing for the Acopa Enzos to be spot-on. My regular street shoe size is a woman’s US size 6, and according to Acopa’s sizing webpage, I should be a size 5 (my street shoe -1 as their sizes are listed in US men’s). I tried on both a 5 and 4.5 because I like my shoes tight and was worried about sizing a slipper. I was able to fit into a 4.5 with some discomfort, but the 5s were snug too without any pain. The Enzo is built from 100% natural leather and is fully lined. Leather shoes can stretch a lot (up to two sizes), but when they are lined they stretch significantly less. Although I could probably break in the 4.5s in time, I wasn’t looking for a performance fit and instead was looking for a more comfortable shoe. The 5s were perfect, and Acopa offers shoes sizes from US 3 to US 20.

As any climbing enthusiast knows, climbing shoe sizing can be all over the place. For instance, I wear a size 35.5 EU/5 USW in La Sportiva, 37 EU/6 USW in Scarpa, and 38 EU/7 USW in Butora, just to name a few. My size within the brand can change from shoe to shoe as well. When buying shoes online, I’ve found online forums where individuals list their shoe sizes in various models of shoes to be helpful. I make notes of how specific shoes fit me whenever I encounter a new pair I’m interested in, and that way, even if I don’t own the models mentioned by others in comments, I have notes about different fits I can refer back to. Obviously every foot is different, but this has served me well through the years.

Comfort and Fit

When examining the Enzo against its slipper climbing shoe competition, it is most notably up against the 5.10 Moccasyms and Unparallel Up Moccs. When comparing the fit between the three shoes, the Enzos are meant for narrow to medium-wide feet, while the Up Moccs are known to fit wide feet and the Moccasyms sizing has been a bit all over the place in the last several years. Personally, I felt the Enzos molded well to my feet in an almost suction way, which I’ve never experienced with any flat shoes. I have always had air pockets in the top of the Up Moccswhich has been uncomfortable, and the heel has never fit me right (although the rest of the shoe fits) when I wear very sized down Moccasyms (note: I have never truly broken in a pair of Moccasyms).

Top Rubber Patch on the Acopa Enzo
The top rubber patch on the Acopa Enzo.

The rubber on the top of the shoe is a game changer in the climbing shoe slipper world. While slippers are a popular option for crack climbers, the leather upper on Moccasyms and Up Moccs on the widest part of the foot (near the knuckles of the big toe and pinkie toe) can wear down and blowout and often do when used for crack climbing a lot. Up Moccs have a rubber toe patch on the top inner half of the shoe, and classic Moccasyms have no rubber on top, although the latest version has a rubber patch on the top inner half of the shoe and additional rubber around the outside that comes up further on the shoe. Inner toe patches are helpful to prevent blowouts and protect the foot while crack climbing, but only protect the inner half and not the just as heavily used outer half. Enzos have a top rubber patch that covers most of the upper half of the shoe, and definitely the parts that matter when crack climbing.

Performance

Edging, hooking, smearing, cracks, long multis, overhung jugs – I had a chance to try it all out. I first tried the Enzos crack climbing on the bullet-hard sandstone in the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

Trying the Enzos on Spectre, a Doug Reed crack in the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.
Trying the Enzos on Spectre, a Doug Reed crack in the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

Spectre, a splitter Doug Reed crack, has many different sizes of crack, and I was able to try the Enzos out in both a wide  and thin crack. The Enzos performed well in both. I appreciated the grippy rubber in the wide crack, but the shoes really shone in the thinner crack. The top rubber patch and stiff narrow toe box kept me in the crack while preventing my toes from hurting and protected the leather as well. Foot jamming was comfortable enough as the rest of the shoe was flexible enough to turn with my foot, as seen in the top right picture above.

I tried out the Enzos on steeper sandstone at the Obed in Tennessee and was pleasantly surprised by their performance. I even tried out and successfully pulled off a heel hook! I wore them on a few limestone pitches at the Dry Canyon in Arizona too and really enjoyed wearing them even on some overhung pitches.

They edged well on the limestone, and even though I wouldn’t pull them out for steep projects, I will happily bring them back to climb on both limestone and sandstone. While I was not as confident in the Enzo’s heel hooking and toe hooking abilities as I am in my performance shoes like my La Sportiva Solutions or Scarpa Dragos, I was far more confident in the Enzo’s hooks (both heel and toe) than I would be in similar slippers.

Standing on small edges with the Acopa Enzos
Standing on small edges.

I rarely gym climb, but I took them to a gym just to see how they would hold up on plastic. I enjoyed their performance, but I was still breaking them in and ended up switching to more comfortable shoes halfway through my session. I ended up having the same discomfort wearing them up slabby granite multi-pitches in Cochise Stronghold, Arizona.

They smeared well and the rubber stuck, but the stiffer toe box that provides such great edging support wasn’t being kind to me after standing on my toes for hours. I was thankful for the thicker rubber on the bottom of the shoe after the rubber around the toe got a little chewed up on both plastic and granite.

Smearing on sandstone in the Enzo.
Smearing on sandstone in the Enzo.

Rubber

Equipped with original Acopa RS rubber, I kept my expectations low for using a new rubber formula but was pleasantly surprised. The rubber is closer to XS Grip than XS Edge in terms of softness. I am pretty picky about rubber (my ideal sending shoes are Scarpa Dragos resoled in Stealth C4) and was happy to find Acopa RS rubber sticky, soft, and durable. Acopa has no mm measure of the amount of rubber on the soles, but I found it to be substantial while maintaining sensitivity. 

While the sensitivity doesn’t compare to high performance steep sport climbing shoes like the Scarpa Dragos or La Sportiva Solutions, the Enzos are sensitive enough that staying on my toes while multi-pitching on granite slab hurt after two pitches. Perhaps after I break them in a bit more I can wear them comfortably up longer multi-pitches, but I appreciated the sensitivity on both sandstone and limestone edges.

The Enzos with a little pressure (L) and more pressure (R) while stepping down on a small sandstone edge, demonstrating how the rubber conforms to the rock.

Durability

Unfortunately, after less than 10 pitches in the Enzos, I had one side of the top rubber that is glued down come off. A hopefully easy fix with some epoxy, but I decided to keep it for a few more pitches to see how well it held up for the sake of this review. After a few more pitches it peeled slightly more.

Acopa Enzo Climbing Shoe Rubber Demonstration
Top rubber (L) coming unglued and rubber wear (R) after 10 pitches.

In the left photo, you can also see wear on the upper red leather as well as the rubber coming unglued, and you can see the wear on the rubber (a little chewed up on the front edge from unforgiving granite but comparable to other shoes of similar rubber formulas) in the photo on the right. I’ll epoxy the top rubber and see how well it holds up over time.

Verdict:

The Acopa Enzos are a great slipper. The sizing is spot-on, they are comfortable and fit the shape of my foot well, and the rubber is wonderfully grippy and exceeded my expectations. They are great at crack climbing and edging, and what really makes these shoes stand out to me is having a crack climbing slipper with rubber covering almost the whole front half of the shoe but especially where it matters for crack climbing.

However, the stiff toebox that makes them great at edging makes them painful to slab in or stand around on multi-pitches for hours. Only time will tell if they break in and get more comfortable for these uses. I was disappointed in how quickly the top toe patch came unglued in less than 10 pitches, and I hope that isn’t indicative of their future durability. Overall, the Enzo adds something to the market and is definitely a great climbing slipper option that I would recommend to others.