LA SPORTIVA OXYGYM REVIEW
It’s not just it’s clever name and the bright colours that makes the Oxygym stand out.
The La Sportiva Oxygym are the first climbing shoes to be designed from breathable and fully washable materials. This might not sound like much, but after a long day at the gym climbing shoes can start to get REALLY smell – so this is a massive bonus.
The upper is made from 3 layers of Washtex – external washable fabric, structural micro fibre and a breathable inner fabric – all of which are to be credited for the shoe’s breathable and washable qualities. In fact, these shoes are durable enough to be washed by both hand and machine… just make sure the water is not to hot or you will melt the glue!
The name ‘Oxygym’ gives a massive clue as to what La Sportiva designed the shoe for. It’s also pretty obvious this shoe’s focus is on comfort rather than preformace, so if you are a beginner looking to hone their skills in the gym – these could be the ones for you.
The flat last and low asymmetry make this shoe ideal for beginner climbers. These features keep your weight distributed throughout your foot and toes, making it easier for newbies to master basic skills such as edging and smearing.
1) Toe Box
It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into making the toe box effective for beginner climbers.
It’s wide and flat, making the shoe perfect for smearing and balancing on large foot holds. Because of this design, the shoe does struggle on delicate foot placements and overhangs. Don’t let this put you off though, as this won’t be a big issue for many beginners.
The toe rand is made from a similar rubber as the sole, except perhaps a little bit more durable. In all honesty, it’s not the best toe rand you will ever try, so don’t be expecting to stick many bat hangs. Again, this isn’t a a massive deal breaker for beginners, so don’t let this put you off.
I was pretty impressed with the heel on the La Sportiva Oxygym. The sticky rubber extends all the way up the back of the heel so there is plenty of rubber to give you confidence on even the smallest of heel hooks.
The bottom and sides of the shoe are also spotted with circular indents, which don’t only look awesome but also give a little extra grip too.
While the rubber is definitely more suited to a session in the gym, these shoes can hold their own outdoors too.
The Oxygym wields the La Sportiva’s FriXion, which extends all the way up the back of the shoe. This design gives you plenty of friction for heel hook and ideal for beginners looking to hone their skills in a gym.
The FriXion rubber isn’t going to blow your mind, but then again why shoud it? Being one of the cheapest shoes in La Sportiva’s range, the Oxygym was never going to be given the Vibram rubber like the brands front runners. Nevertheless, FriXion is one of the better budget rubbers you can get, and will defiently be more than satisfactory for any beginner.
Unlike a lot of beginner budget climbing shoes, the rubber on the sole isn’t flat, but is a gentle spoon-dipped shaped, which undoubtedly give you more grip on pockets than their less-shaped counterparts.
The Yellow (or turquoise on the womens version) central brand is a feature you will find on a lot of La Sportiva models. This clever design not only helps maintain the shape throughout the life of the shoe but also stiffens the sole. This is a brilliant feature which helps beginners become more confident in their foot work.
4) Comfort and Fit
Like any good beginners climbing shoe, the Oxygym delivers a level of comfort that is ideal for anyone looking to hone their skills in the gym. It’s actually pretty important that beginners have a comfortable and supportive shoe for a few reasons.
Firstly, if you cram someone into an aggressive pair of bouldering shoes for their first experience climbing, the changes are they won’t be coming back.
Secondly, beginners need supportive shoes because they won’t be used to putting their feet and toes under the strain and weight that climbing demands, so a stiff shoe which distributes their weight across the whole foot is essential.
The Oxygym supports La Sportiva’s ‘Fast Lacing System’ which isn’t only great for getting them on and off quickly, but also give you a great fit. The two velcro straps create a tight fit that makes it feel as if the upper is wrapping around your foot.
Overall, the Oxygym is a great shoe that I would definitely recommend for beginners looking to hone their skills in the gym. The unique material makes the shoe washable and light while the low asymmetry, natural last and stiff sole give this shoe all the features a beginner needs to build their skill repertoire.
All these features undoubtedly makes this one of the best budget beginner shoes you can get your hands on.
If you enjoyed our La Sportiva Oxygym review and fancy getting your hands on them, you can find them on Amazon here or at the other leading retailers below!
If these aren’t the shoes for you, make sure to have a look at our other shoe reviews!