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la sportiva oxygym shoes

You can never have too many rock climbing shoes. Which is one reason why I picked up a pair of the new La Sportiva Oxygym.

Another reason is that I love the bright colors! And perhaps most importantly, there’s the fact that I was able to get them for a mere $36 (including tax) at an REI garage sale.

The shoes retail for $99, so I got them for about a 66% discount. And they’re practically brand new. Actually, I think they really are brand new. The tag stated that they were returned “because they stretched too much.” Funny thing is, the materials the shoe is made from don’t really stretch. So I think “stretched too much” was code for “I bought the wrong size.”

Too bad for the previous owner, but fine by me, because the 10.5 stretched out to be just my size!

Why these shoes stand out!

Well, obviously, the color scheme. It’s bright yellow with bright red and bright blue accents. You can’t miss em!

I’ve never seen a men’s climbing shoe like this. The funny thing is that there is a women’s version of this shoe, with a much more ordinary color scheme – gray, red, and blue – that’s not nearly as bright. That’s the total opposite of what I usually see, where guys’ clothes are gray and girls’ clothes are bright pink and yellow. Instead, it’s like nature where the male animal is bright and colorful to attract the female.

That leads me to believe that they designed these as a way for guys to get attention from girls.

la sportiva oxygym bright uppers

Regardless of their intentions, the shoes attract attention. From everyone. My first day using them, I got numerous compliments on the brightness from my friends. My second day using them, I got compliments from total strangers. And my third day using them, I got compliments from more of my friends, people curious about the shoe, people who knew about the shoe but wanted to see them in real life, and yes, even girls I didn’t know!

Most of the time I wasn’t even climbing. I just had the shoes clipped to my bag. That’s how attention-grabbing they are.

Moving on…

The shoes feature an AirTex Silver lining which helps to reduce odor. I’m assuming it must have actual silver particles in there, which would inhibit bacteria growth, and thus reduce odor. They aren’t labeled “antimicrobial” though, so you might still want to hit them with some disinfectant spray occasionally.

la sportiva oxygym washable

On top of that, they are 100% washable. As in, just toss them in the washer. For gyms stocking up on rental shoes, that’s incredible. Toss them all in a washing machine and boom, fresh shoes the next day. The shoes might last longer that way (less bacteria build up), and climbers will be happier with fresher footwear.

La Sportiva Oxygym Washing Instructions

For the average climber, it’s nice to have such a simple way to clean your shoes. These would be ideal for indoor climbing where you climb often and your shoes stay on for long sessions, building up a stench. The reality though is that virtually any synthetic shoe can be washed the same way, it just might take longer to air dry.

Comfortable like a slipper. Sort of.

When I first wore these, I thought of them like bedroom slippers. The upper is so soft, but also cozy. It’s not like a shoe at all. (It’s like a cross between a fluffy slipper and a mesh water shoe.)

The hook and loop Velcro closure is awesome – you don’t feel it anywhere!

I find these comfy without attaching the closure at all, but I can snug things up real nice when I want to. And no hot spots! (This is way, way better than when I tried on the Tarantula.)

la sportiva oxygym hook loop Velcro closure

Then you stand up, move around, and climb. And you notice the sole. That’s when things get weird.

The sole is really stiff in some places, then really flexible in others. I couldn’t make any sense of it. So I had some friends who were avid Sportiva wearers try them on, and they said the same thing. Apparently it’s quite different from other Sportiva models, even in the shape of the toe box (it’s a bit wider than usual.)

They don’t stretch, but they do. See, with leather shoes, you say they “stretch” because the leather does stretch out over time. If you buy an unlined leather shoe, you can often go a size down, and the leather will stretch out and conform to your foot as you wear them. With these, the materials stretch immediately. As soon as you start moving, the material stretches out, so the shoe feels way too big. But the material will return back to normal when you remove your foot.

Performance is… undetermined.

Since I probably only climbed in these for 30 minutes, I can’t offer an in-depth review of their climbing performance.

When I tried to climb, that’s when I noticed all the fit issues that had previously been disguised by the supreme comfort! The sole was flexible in some areas, but also stiff, and then the arch was really soft. There was also lots of extra room in the heel.

I didn’t trust the rubber at first, but as I used them, I realized the rubber was good. It was the fit that was holding me back.

la sportiva oxygym sole

In the end, the sole was so weird, and they ended up being too big for me to really climb in, I had to give them up.

I didn’t use them for anything beyond a V0 boulder problem!


They lasted just fine for the very limited time I used them.

I can’t see the uppers being particularly tough if faced with real rock. The material is just too soft.

For indoor climbing at the gym, though, they’ll probably be plenty durable.

la sportiva oxygym top and bottom

My final verdict is…

If you run a gym and want to stock up on men’s and women’s specific shoes that are antibacterial as well as easy to wash, and bright enough to easily keep an eye on, take a look at these.

For individual climbers, I don’t rate these highly. The shoes didn’t fit me well, they felt really weird, and the only thing I really liked about them is how the bright colors attracted lots of attention. They’re actually worth buying if you’re looking for a conversation starter, but for actual climbing, I’d pass (unless, of course, you can try before you buy).

Official website: www.Sportiva.com

Buy online: www.REI.com

Product Review Details
Company: La Sportiva
Product: La Sportiva Oxygym Climbing Shoe
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 2.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-03-07
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. I own these shoes been bouldering in them for about year now. They are pretty good, and I think you should use a product for a bit longer than 30 mins if you’re going to write a review…

  2. @Sav

    That’s all it took for me to realize the shoes wouldn’t work for me. The problems I had aren’t ones that would potentially correct themselves after using the shoes for a longer period of time, so there was no reason to torture myself.

    Normally I would do a much more thorough review, which you’ll see if you browse around. But I do these reviews as a free service, so I’m not going to spend more time or money on stuff that isn’t working for me.

    When I first published this review, it was actually the most detailed one online (since the shoes were just released). I’m sure by now other people have been reviewing them, so you can surely find the info you’re looking for.

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