Butora has become one of the biggest players in the U.S. climbing shoe market over the past several years, but the Butora Icarus is the first one of their approach shoes we’ve taken for a spin. At 14.5 ounces, the Icarus is a sturdy, solid shoe—not one of those minimalist things that you’re likely to roll your ankle in scampering up a class 3 trail—but not unduly heavy. Wrapped in Butora’s proprietary NEO Fuse rubber, the Icarus provides all-day support and still climbs pretty well on low-end technical rock.
I took the Butora Icarus out for several laps in the Flatirons above Boulder—my go to testing site for approach shoes—and found it was just as much at home smearing on the low-angle sandstone of the First Flatiron as it was boulder hopping to reach the base of the soaring slab. The rubber on the sole has several different patterns of tread, including a completely flat and un-patterned area under the toe that allows you to climb proper technical terrain. The back of the shoe is quite stiff and angles in slightly towards your Achilles’ tendon, keeping your foot snugly in place. I did find it dug into the back of my ankle a bit uncomfortably after a long day out, but I expect this to get better as it continues to soften up from use.
The Icarus’ upper is suede leather, reminiscent of most of the other big shoe manufacturers’ workhorse approach shoes. The inside of the shoe has a nice amount of cushion—not so much that it feels like your foot is wedged into a marshmallow, but enough that you can take it out on long hikes to reach the base of the climb (or just to hike for that matter!).
Butora recommends going a half size up from your street shoe with the Icarus. If you’re likely to take this shoe out on fifth-class terrain, true street-shoe size is probably better, but if you’re using them as hikers, the recommendation is spot on.
The performance and price point puts the Icarus right in the mix with other top approach shoes, so if you’re looking to try a new boot, this is definitely worth a look.
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