La Sportiva Oxygym Review Facts
Rock climbing is a popular activity that involves climbing up a vertical surface, usually with a tether of some sort, using small rocks protruding from the surface as support to move up the wall. The rocks are gripped by both hands and feet and assist the climber in moving up and forward to get to the top of the wall. Wall climbing can be done both indoors and outdoors. It also required special shoes and chalk in order to grip the surface that the climber is climbing on. Indoor walls, made of synthetic materials, tend to be a little slicker than natural rocks and therefore the shoe chosen needs to have a 'stickier' outsole in order to grip better and avoid falls. A proper pair of climbing shoes tend to offer a sticky outsole that grips surface better, they also tend to be a bit more natural looking (smaller and tighter to the foot) in order to get toes of the foot into cracks to utilize them as well. The shoe usually offers what is referred to as a 'last' which is basically an over exaggerate curve throughout the shoe in order to offer the climber a much more natural step. The 'last' of a climbing shoe can range anywhere from completely natural very pointed depending on the purpose of the shoe. A more aggressive 'last' can be used in more extreme situations on shorter but harder climbs, while a more natural 'last' is used for easier but longer climbs.
This article is focussed on the La Sportiva Oxygym. La Sportiva is a very popular brand known for their more serious sports equipment. The Oxygym is a very popular shoe that has been regularly bought and reviewed by climbers. We looked at reviews left about the shoe in order to determine the shoes overall quality and customer satisfaction rate. We also looked at the materials used in order to determine the products breathability, flexibility, and reliability. Finally, we looked at the products construction in order to determine its durability and functionality. So, this is our comprehensive review of the very popular La Sportiva Oxygym, we hope that this article serves you in your next climbing shoe purchase.
This product offers a 3-layer WashTex fabric on the outside of the shoe that keeps the shoe clean and hygienic. It also offers a breathable fabric on the inside of the shoe which is supposed to allow for moisture wicking. This is important in climbing shoes because out of all shoes this one requires a very close, flexible and more natural fit in order to function correctly. Any moisture buildup within the shoe could cause the climber to slip within the shoe and potentially lose grip. Reviewers said that though they didn't necessarily experience much moisture buildup they did find that this product didn't wick moisture away quite like they say they do. In fact, they found that the shoe isn't very breathable at all and can hold sweat within the shoe. This then causes some odor buildup
within the shoe and they also stated that the smell is really hard to get out of the product. The website does state that the AirTex lining is supposed to reduce odor and that the shoe is fully washable, however, this doesn't seem to be the case according to some reviewers. Note: this product cannot go in the dryer, they need to be air dried. Though they did find that the shoe is a quality one, they found that the breathability just isn't there. This is particularly an issue for those who have existing foot odor issues and may need to be reconsidered if this is a concern.
Those who wore this product found that it was comfortable right out of the box. The last of this product is meant for beginners so, though it cannot be used on more intensive climbs, it does feel more comfortable when walking around on the solid ground. This product is a beginners shoe, offering a less intensive last and being better for rocks and cracks in the surface of the wall. Overall, those who wore this product found it to be quite comfortable and tight to the foot which is positive.
This product is listed as being both comfortable and durable. The website states that the shoe offers a 5 mm FriXion RS outsole and a 1.8 mm LapsoFlex midsole. Those who wore this product said that though this product is a good one, that it seems to be better for starting climbers and less so for more advanced. It also should be used on light climbs rather than more advanced ones due to the shoe's lack of durability. Those who wore this product found that the product seems to wear at the toe quite easily despite light activity and it also sounds like the straps of the shoe wear and tear (and even break) fairly early into their life (within the first 2 months). This product also has some connection issues between the products upper and rubber outsole which some found disconnected at the heel relatively quickly. This product also stretches a little more than they are used to. Though this type of product does require a tight fit because they loosen out a bit, this product seems to loosen quite a bit which may indicate too weak of a material used throughout the upper. Despite issues with some easy wear this product is listed numerous times as being perfect for a beginner which is positive.
The heel of this product is constructed to hold the heel within the shoe well. It offers better control when in motion which is very helpful when rock climbing. The technology used is an anti-shock EVA heel insert. EVA is a very reliable material that offers a strong and superior contour to the heel of the foot. This material is commonly used in runners
and climbing shoes due to its durability and impact reduction. Those who wore this product did find some issues with the heel, not on the inside or the stability of the product/support throughout it but more the durability on the outside of the product. Those who wore this product found that the rubber on the outside of the heel seemed to disconnect relatively easily which is a problem. Climbers also found that despite buying a fairly tight size of this product, that the stretching was such an extreme that they still had to strap the shoe on fairly tight in (to the tightest loop) in order to have the shoe fit snug enough to be functional. Overall, the hold of this product around the heel is good, however, the durability seems to be a bit of a concern, as well as the excessive stretching.
The upper of this product offers a hook and loop system which offers a closer, more comfortable fit to the upper of the runner. This system also allows the hiker to tighten their shoes easily and quickly. The upper is made of a 3-Layer WashTex external fabric which was listed earlier in this article as offering a better, cleaner surface when hiking. The issue that some individuals found is that the straps of this product that are part of the hook and loop system wore easily and some experience ripping. Others found, as mentioned earlier, as well that the upper stretches out a fair bit over time and the straps really need to be at their tightest in order for the shoe to fit at all. There were also some complaints about the material used for the upper. Though not many had issues with the durability of the material, they did find that the material tended to soak up the moisture and sweat within the shoe and then develop an odor over time. Though the shoe is washable, those who wore it did find that the odor was still present after washing. Most said that they had a hard time getting rid of the odor which is an issue.
The last of this product is a RL45. It is considered a comfort with low asymmetry. The size of the shoe runs in half sized between 33-48. This type of product needs to fit close to the foot and initially should feel really tight as well. This type of product usually has a leather upper which stretches over time. Many found that this product stretches out too much considering how tight they initially bought the product. It's important to really size down with this product. The last of this product, as mentioned, is a slip-last which is more of a beginner preference or one for those going on more light climbs. This is better for rocks and defined cracks within the surface of the wall than it is for more advanced climbing areas. Those who wore this product did find that it fits well, specifically in the heel area, however, most had some issues with the overall durability of the product. The sizing fits tight in both men and women's products, however, again, there seems to be excess stretching that is an issue with most wearers.
This product is quite reasonable in price.
The issue with this type of product is that it is specific to the sport the consumer is participating in. Unfortunately, with climbing shoes, the wearer can't really wear them anywhere else but on the climbing wall, especially with more aggressive lasts. The more aggressive the last, the less comfortable the product is when simply walking around on the solid and flat ground. For this reason, this type of product is less versatile and therefore the justification for the price is a little harder. This would then lean a little heavier on the durability and functionality of the shoe. Unfortunately, this product does not seem to be very durable at all. There seem to be issues throughout the entire shoe. The lacing system seems to have fault straps, the heel seems to disconnect fairly easily, many found that the toe of this product loosened right away and came loose. Unfortunately, this product seems to have a fair amount of complaints in regards to the durability in general. Luckily this product isn't unreasonably priced and because of the shoe's last this product would be perfect for beginners who want a cheaper alternative and also plan on upgrading later down the road.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is this is an ok product. Though the product doesn't seem to have many major concerns there seem to be quite a few smaller ones. The usefulness of this product doesn't slip with the durability issues, however, did cause a point of contention with consumers who experienced the durability issues right away. The product seems to fit close to the foot, offer a comfortable stability
and also grips well to the wall. The primary concern is that the runner seems to break down relatively easily in the heel, toe and upper of the product. There were also some complaints about the products smell. Those who wore this product found that the upper didn't wick the moisture
away from the way the website claim it does but rather accumulates over time and therefore causes some odor buildup. There also seems to be some concerns with cleaning, as despite them being machine washable capable, those who washed this product still found that they continued to smell bad. Overall, this product isn't a terrible one. It is a good entry level shoe.
It is ideal for newer climbers due to its low price tag and due to its last. This should seriously be considered before buying this product.