A dark horse in the race for the best high-performance climbing shoe, the Ozone packs the punch without the heavy price tag.
- Performance: 70% 70%
- Sensitivity: 65% 65%
- Comfort: 80% 80%
- Value For Money 70% 70%
- Total Score 70% 70%
Durable and long lasting
Good value for money
We Don’t Like
The basic heel
Built For: Bouldering, Sport Climbing
Summary: Ocun might not be a house hold name yet, but the Ozone is an aggressive bouldering and sport shoe that will enjoy the more vertically inclined routes in your life. These shoes have have held their own in some tough conditions, and while the Ozone might not blow your mind, it’s a solid work-horse that won’t let you down.
Ocun Ozone Review
For those of you that don’t know, Ocun (formerly known as Rock Pillars) is a Czech climbing brand that has a large fan base in Eastern Europe.
This little known company is fast becoming a big player in the global market and has brought some major innovations to the sport, including modern heel designs and crack climbing gloves.
The Ozone is one of the company’s flagship products, designed for steep sport climbing and bouldering. Taking into account its price, these shoes perform and age surprisingly well. I have used the Ozones for about 3 years now, and in that time they have survived a fair share of punishment. The scorching Cypriot sun, the salty air of Tonsai Beach, and Croatian deep water soloing are just a few of the harsh trials these shoes have endured. Throughout this time, I have only had to resole them only once, which in comparison to high-end shoes makes them remarkably durable.
However, Ozone probably won’t be for everyone, as I will discuss later in this full Ocun Ozone review.
1) Toe Box
Ocun delivers a high-performance toe box through an innovative 3–force system integrated into the toe rand. This rubber strap wraps around the front of the shoe helps distribute the weight from your toes through the rest of your foot.
Using the Ozone for both bouldering and sport climbing, I have found the 3-force system works remarkably well and gives you a good amount of support on small edges or pockets.
One of the best things about these shoes is its toe hooking ability. The toe rand gives you plenty of friction when you want to stick a tricky toe hook under the roof formation.
Because of the 3 force system, these shoes aren’t great for crack climbing or multi-pitching but feel more at home on polished limestone slabs or overhung boulders.
The heel it probably the biggest downfall of the Ozone. It’s a fairly standard heel compared to other high-performance shoes (like the Solution) that delivers less versatility for technical heel hooks.
While the tensioned rand helps keep a secure fit, the heel cup is very narrow and feels a little bit too shallow for my foot. I find that the rand does keeps the shoe well secured, although it does feel like my foot will slip out of the shoe, which is not what you want when you are sending hard projects.
Although this issue is widely known in my climbing circle, I know people who love the way the heel fits. Therefore, I will chalk this one up to the shape of my foot rather than the design of the shoe.
Interestingly, Ocun uses the Vibram XS Grip rubber, rather than the XS Grip 2 favoured by high-performance shoes from Scarpa or La Sportiva. So why opt for this older and less versatile rubber you might ask?
Well, there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, Vibram limits the number of brands that are allowed to use the XS Grip 2, to make it more exclusive. Secondly, there’s a pretty significant price difference between the two rubber compounds, so the price tag of the Ozone would certainly not be as competitive if it used the superior rubber.
While this shoe might use a slightly dated Vibram rubber, don’t think this makes the Ozone a second rate shoe. The semi-stiff rubber delivers a compromise between edging ability and sensitivity needed for sending a steep limestone face like I did in Kalymnos Island.
Of course, in comparison to a more rigid rubber like the XS Edge, it’s not the most durable rubber in the market, but I had no difficulties with resoling my Ozones. And because of the specially designed 3D molded mid-sole, they don’t lose shape even after being repaired.
4) Comfort and Fit
Ocun understands that one climbing shoe won’t be the perfect fit for every type of foot. that’s why the Ozone comes in three different versions. All three models share the same design and features but are made to fit varying shapes of feet.
The Ozone QC (blue straps) is designed to fit a thinner, flatter foot with an Egyptian toe type. Whereas the Ozone plus (green straps) are for wider feet with Roman toes. And the Ozone Lady is designed to fit a lower volume foot type with a thinner heel.
Because Ocun caters so well to varying foot shapes, the Ozone is one of the most comfortable aggressive climbing shoes I have worn.
In regards to size, Ocun advises that you downsize half or a whole size down. In street shoes, I usually wear a 8.5, so I decided to follow their guide and went for a size 8. I am happy with this, as the shoe provides a pretty comfortable fit. If you like very tight shoes, you should go with half or one size down.
Due to the high amount of rubber that surrounds the toe box, they don’t stretch too much, but they will still mold to your foot nicely. Don’t panic if your toes hurt a bit, after a week climbing in, the Ozones will break-in. But, do not expect that you will be able to climb 300 meters multi-pitch routes as this shoe is designed to send your hard bouldering project. Because of this, they use two velcro straps that will give you a secure fit as well as the ability to take them on and off as you please.
Ozones are one of the best high-performance shoes for it’s price, especially when they can be found $30-40 cheaper than other high-end shoes.
This model surprised me with its high durability in extreme weather conditions and perfect performance for climbing in overhung terrain. Ozone QC is designed especially for narrow feet but if they don’t fit you, you can always try Ozone Plus which has a much wider toe box.
If you are an intermediate or advanced climber, and you are looking for shoes that pack a punch without a heavy price tag, you should definitely consider the Ocun Ozone.
Thanks for reading our Ocun Ozone review. Happy climbing!