La Sportiva Climbing Shoes - Oxygym Review
For my first pair of climbing shoes, I bought a pair of La Sportiva Oxygyms. To be honest, I didn’t read many reviews and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for in a pair of climbing shoes, but I knew I wanted a pair that would be good for bouldering and indoor use so I chose a pair recommended for these purposes. So how have they performed?
Uppers: 3 Layer WashTex with a washable outer fabric, a microfiber layer, and a breathable inner fabric
Lining: Breathable, washable fabric
Midsole: 1.8 mm LaSpoFlex
Sole: 2 part toe and heel. 4 mm FriXion RS
Weight: 380g for a pair
Fastening system: Crisscrossed velcro
What does this all mean?
The Oxygyms are one of the first washable climbing shoes, which is very hygienic for sweaty feet after long climbing sessions. The breathable fabric helps to prevent sweating during your climb, to improve comfort and reduce smell.
LaSpoFlex is an ultralight material, which helps to increase torsion and rigidity, keeping your feet powerful and strong.
FriXion RS is a sticky rubber sole, used for climbing shoes to help you grip footholds. 4mm of FriXion means that these soles should last for a long time.
I don’t particularly care about weight, but they are fairly light so should be easy to carry when you’re hiking to find your boulder or climbing route.
The slight asymmetry means that they help with toe power, but are still comfortable to wear for long climbing sessions. (The more asymmetry you have, the more power you’ll have in your big toe, but the more uncomfortable the shoes will be).
There is only very slight downturn in the toes, so these may not be suitable for higher grade bouldering, but they’ll be more comfortable for indoor climbing sessions.
The Velcro fastening system allows the shoes to be put on quickly, but you cannot tighten them as much as shoes with laces.
How have i found them?
At first I found these shoes really comfortable and great for indoor climbing, but since climbing slightly higher grades with smaller footholds I’ve started to get severe pain in my big toes. The upper material seems to stretch during climbs and I find my foot slipping forward within the shoe, crushing my toes. I have to keep removing my shoes between boulder problems to massage my toes and find that I fasten the Velcro as tight as possible to try and keep my heel in place. This may be caused by some free space in the heel area, but the shape of the Velcro fastening makes it difficult to tighten the tops of my shoes whilst leaving enough space for my toes. I’ve also found that the soles feel really weird; they’re so stiff and thick in the toe area that they lose some sensitivity and don’t bend where I want them too. They bend in the arch of my foot though, which doesn’t feel particularly useful for the boulder routes I’ve been climbing. The heel fabric is good though and enables me to heel-hook when required.
I love the way these shoes look and have had a lot of compliments on the aesthetics. Personally I would have chosen the slightly brighter version, which are blue and yellow, but they didn’t have any in my size so I opted for the black, red and yellow colours. I really like the design of the fastening too, with the comic-like Velcro fasteners.
I bought my La Sportiva Oxygym shoes for around £50 in an online sale, but they are usually on the market for around £80. This is a reasonable price for La Sportiva shoes, but some of the other brands offer better beginner’s shoes at a lower price.
In my opinion, these are good beginners shoes for indoor climbing and easy boulder routes, but as soon as you start attempting routes with smaller footholds at grades 5c and above, you may find that they start to let you down. I’d recommend trying them on before buying them to make sure your heel fits snugly into the shoe. You will probably need to buy a size smaller than your normal street shoe size to ensure you can fasten them tightly. You can find a sizing guide here.
Have you tried these shoes? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
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