The Merlin’s are a diverse precision shoe known for delivering sensitivity on anything from cracks, to faces, to overhangs. It’s often the case that what a shoe gains in precision it loses in comfort, but that is not an issue for these shoes.
Right out of the box, the Merlin’s feel like a slipper. I was impressed with their comfort to that point that I thought they couldn’t possibly live up their stellar reputation. I was immediately shown to be wrong. If anything, they surpassed my expectations as they stuck in every position from edging to heel hooks.
Aside from all the technical aspects of the Merlin’s, I have to add that this is without a doubt the single most beautiful shoe I have ever seen. Right out of the box you can’t help but notice what handmade master craftsmanship looks like. It felt like I was looking at the Rolls Royce of climbing shoes. The seams, the stitching, the rubber edges, the inner lining, even the pull loops have a feel of true expertise in artistry. Acopa’s attention to quality is totally impeccable and impossible to miss!
- The Dihedral - Gear Review
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 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.
- Adventure Media
There are hundreds of models of rock shoes, but it's tough to find a great all-arounder. The JB makes the search easier.
A welcome addition, joins the La Sportiva TC Pro as a top all-arounder. The JB is ideal for long Tuolumne and Yosemite routes, Indian Creek cracks, and techy faces across the country and beyond.
A coworker once told me that Acopa’s rubber was the best he’d used—he still has his 2000s-era Acopa shoes in his closet, sealed in a plastic bag, only pulling them out for special occasions like critical sends. No need to save them anymore: Acopa is back!
Best All Day Comfort & Multipitch Climbing Shoe: Acopa Merlin
... Though we were skeptical at first due to the shoes’ thick and sturdy appearance, their climbing ability left us immediately impressed. We tested these shoes on the coastal sport climbs of Northern California, and they managed to handle tiny water-polished footholds with ease.
Because the Merlins are super-stiff, they are the perfect shoe for technical edging on vertical to semi-steep terrain. Even when applying lots of weight and power to the toe edge of these shoes, the arch of the foot is supported, and the heel hardly sags. The plentiful support also keeps the feet from becoming pumped and tired.
Best Thin Crack Climbing Shoe: Acopa Aztec
...The Aztecs are comfortable straight away, and they continue to break in and stretch during their first few sessions of use. Though these can be sized aggressively, we found having a bit of extra room in the toe can actually be an asset, especially when climbing thin cracks.
Though these shoes work best for crack climbing and vertical to slightly overhanging trad climbing, we found they work quite well for steeper terrain too. Even bouldering felt natural in these, especially on problems that required smearing or stemming.
While climbing thin cracks, we were impressed with how well the toe point of the Aztec pinches down and inserts into narrow fissures. Compared to other popular trad climbing shoes, the Aztec performs exceptionally well on offset cracks, laybacks, and flaring seams.
The Aztec has a nearly flat last with just the slightest downturn, and Acopa’s RS rubber feels especially sticky on these shoes. When jamming in flaring cracks or pinched-off corners, the rubber that lines the outside of the entire shoe adds lots of friction and inspires extra confidence during delicate movements.