Butora Gomi Review
The Gomi is a fantastic addition to the Butora show line, filling in a missing spot in their roster of high-performance footwear. This shoe excels at and was specifically designed for indoor climbing, steep walls, and bouldering. Many shoe companies are adopting a Comp Shoe into their line and I believe this shoe fits that spot next to Burtora's Acro Comp. When compared to the rest of the Butora shoe line the Gomi is a much softer and it has a lot of rubber. It is noticeably softer than the Acro and even the Acro Comp. They excel at indoor volumes and slopers (pretty much anything inside really). For those looking for a truly sensitive performance shoe, keep your eye on this one. This shoe should appeal mostly to boulderers and indoor climbers. I also think this shoe is perfect for most youth climbers. As a general comparison, you can compare this shoe to similar shoes such as; the La Sportiva Skwama & Python, a stiffer version of the Scarpa Furia and Drago, very close to the Evolve Agro but with a shallower heel and thicker rubber, the Tenaya Oasi or Mundaka but with more rubber on the back of the heel and under the toe. They are a little stiffer than the Five Ten Team, softer than the Five Ten Hiangle(older model) and quite similar to the newer (white) Five Ten Team but with less material on the top of the shoe and a smaller less bulbous heel.
The Reviewers Experience
I chose to get the low volume (pink) model for the shallower heel. I do have a wide forefoot and the toe box of the wide model fits my foot better, but I figured the tighter toe box would help with edges a little bit and the lower profile heel would fit great. The first time I tried the shoe on I noticed the smaller opening and had trouble getting my foot to slide in, which is pretty much to be expected with any performance shoe. I wouldn’t mind having a bigger opening to help shove my foot in a little better. As with most performance shoes, I folded the heel to help get my forefoot in and then popped the heel over. I know once I put a layer of sweat in there they will slide right on. Also if i were to have ordered the wide fit for my wide forefoot it would have been easier to get in. The arch was great for my higher arches and the whole shoe fit like a glove. I did notice a little arch fatigue as the session went on but once the shoe broke in a little more that went away. Also taking small breaks from the shoe helped a lot during the session.
The heel was surprisingly low profile and felt very secure. Heel hook felt great. The rubber was very sticky out of the box. My sizing allowed for my toe to be slightly less curled than other performance shoes which allowed me to apply tension on my big toe and flex my ankle. I noticed it on big dead points where my feet would normally cut, I was able to keep my feet on more often than not. The rubber is fairly thick right outta the gate so I didn't have the sensitivity that I had in other soft performance shoes. After a couple of sessions, the shoe molded to my foot a little better and the thicker rubber wasn't an issue. Once I wear the rubber down I know the sensitivity will be perfect.
The entire toe is covered with rubber so as you can expect it toe hooks like a champ.
Edging was fairly good for a soft shoe because of the thicker rubber and I found no issue with any kind of hold indoors. The toe is slightly pointed which makes pointy or precise feet easier to engage as well as pockets. This shoe really shines on smeary climbing like indoor slabs and volumes it flattens out and sticks with maximum surface area contact. The only type of foot I noticed any challenge on was super micro edges. The shoe flattens out a little more than you would want but not as much as other soft shoes so I think this shoe can do more than others.
Edging was actually fairly good for a soft shoe because of the thicker rubber and I found no issue with any kind of hold indoors. The toe is slightly pointed which makes pointy or precise feet easier to engage as well as pockets. This shoe really shines on smeary climbing like indoor slabs and volumes it flattens out and sticks with maximum surface area contact. The only type of foot I noticed any challenge on was super micro edges. The shoe flattens out a little more than you would want but not as much as other soft shoes so I think this shoe can do more than others.
When I took the shoe outside I found similar results. This shoe demolished boulder problems, particularly steep ones. When it came to more vertical terrain and sport climbs I found myself wishing I had an acro instead. However, after testing the shoe on some granite sport climbs that required a fair amount of smearing I was thrilled with the security I felt. I also found I was able to feel crystals and imperfections in the stone much better than stiffer sport climbing shoes. Honestly these babies can slay on the sport wall as long as you have strong toes. You can see in the picture below that the lower foot is trying to go into a micro edge and the shoe is folding a bit. But the upper foot is toeing into an edge that is only maybe a couple of millimeters bigger and it had no problem. Smearing is depicted below as well. Not much to say there other than it works amazing.
The Rubber & Materials
Let's talk about the specific materials and construction of the shoe. The rubber is a proprietary blend form Butora that they call NEO Fuse. It’s just as sticky as any other shoe rubber and only climbing shoe elitists will be able to tell the imperceptible differences in friction between any other rubber. The rubber under the toe is a 4mm rubber. I would have preferred to have a 3.5mm. It may take a while to make the shoe feel truly sensitive at the tip of the toe. The flexible nature of the shoe will still provide the mobility the foot needs to engage on small holds and maintain tension so it might not be that noticeable. It also provides more longevity so you don't have to buy another pair in three months. There is maximum rubber coverage on the toe patch and you couldn't ask for a better toe hooking shoe. The rubber in the mid-sole is thinner and hugs the foot well. It allows the shoe to flex while staying close to the arch for support. On the heel, there is a thicker patch of rubber on the back and bottom of the shoe. I found it to be a thick where the rubber on the side of the heels is thinner and more sensitive, but I do think it adds more structure to the shoe. Most people will not notice it. If you plan to take the shoe outside it would provide more protection to the heel when walking around or getting down off boulders. The mid-sole (nonexistent) is soft and flexible for optimum sensitivity.
One of my favorite things about Butora is that all their shoes come in a wide and a narrow fit. They were one of the first companies to popularize this sizing and not opting for “male” & “female” fits. I personally have a wide forefoot but I have a very shallow and small heel. I opted for the narrow fit and chose to bare through the tight forefoot so I could get a high-performance heel fit for super technical and sensitive hooking. Choose the fit that’s right for your foot shape. The wide fit is also a little higher volume in the heel, to match the forefoot. Be aware that total rubber coverage often means a less forgiving fit if your shoe is too tight. More rubber means less stretch. That can be a really good thing or a not so good thing depending on how you size the shoe. Butora recommends ordering your street shoe size if you are a male ordering the narrow fit or a female ordering the wide fit, be aware of the size you are ordering if you get them online. Many sites will display a men’s or women's size only depending on the shoe. Size accordingly. I am a US 9/9.5 mens & Euro 42 street shoe and the size 9.5 in the narrow fit was great. However , next time I will order according to my foot shape and get the wide fit in my street shoe size of 9.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Gym climbers, boulderers and sport climbers will love these shoes. For steep rock and smeary limestone, these things slay. When it comes to slab and vertical edging I would pick a different shoe but this shoe can make it work if need be. Very versatile for a soft performance shoe. It fills that perfect performance slot in any climbers quiver. The narrow and wide fit makes this very good choice to many different foot shapes.
Author & Climb Source Athlete: Connor Dykes