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La Sportiva Oxygym Review (2024): Decent Indoor Pick?

La Sportiva Oxygym review
La Sportiva Oxygym is a beginner-friendly machine-washable shoe for indoor-heavy use.

Bottom Line

8.5Expert Score
Comfortable, Inexpensive Gym Climbing Shoes with Minor Issues.
The Oxygym climbing shoe from Sportiva tells you a lot with its name. These are ideal climbing shoes for beginners, designed primarily for indoor climbing. But in addition to their breathable construction, the Oxygym can be washed by hand or tossed in a washing machine. (Just not at higher temperatures that could affect the glue.) This is a big selling point for rock climbing shoes. Gym climbing is a sweaty business!

With a flat last, low asymmetry, wide toe box, and highly adjustable closure system, the Oxygym is a comfortable shoe. But that comfort doesn’t come without drawbacks. Sensitivity is low. The Frixion toe box is flat and wide to distribute weight evenly for beginner climbers. This means the Oxygym feels at home on larger footholds. Smaller edges and foot placements can present a problem, however.
Comfort
9.5
Performance
7.5
Durability
9
Value for Money
8
PROS
  • Excellent comfort
  • Good value option
  • Highly breathable upper
  • Machine and hand washable
  • Airtex silver lining helps keep foot odor down
  • Adaptable enough to wear socks underneath
CONS
  • Low sensitivity
  • Limited performance

Introduction

pair of La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes for gym climbers

La Sportiva Oxygym are ideal climbing shoes for starting out. Their low asymmetry means they don’t feel too different from your normal shoes. The longest part of the toe lines up with the center of the heel, similar to a street shoe. This helps beginners with a neutral, supportive feel that distributes weight evenly. Not ideal for V8 boulder problems. But great for beating up at the gym while you learn.

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes’ construction makes them completely washable and helps reduce odor The breathable fabric is comfortable and contributes to moisture management. An Airtex silver lining also helps to neutralize odor-causing bacteria, keeping your shoes fresher between washes.

La Sportiva Oxygym rubber outsole

La Sportiva’s more high-performance shoes like the Solution use Vibram rubber. The 5mm Frixion RS rubber used in the Oxygym is not as tacky or sensitive as in the higher-end models. But these shoes perform well at their price point.

Indoor climbing is where the Oxygym feels most at home. But they can competently tackle multiple types of real rock for outdoor climbing too. Their grip-to-durability ratio makes them great for gyms. While not comparable to the sticky rubber on higher-end La Sportiva shoes, the harder 5mm rubber of the Oxygym holds up indoors for a long time.

Comfort

La Sportiva Oxygym shoes unboxing

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes use two velcro straps to fasten. These straps, coupled with the forgiving material make it easy to find a great fit for multiple foot types. The flat last and low asymmetry also helps to distribute weight evenly across your foot. This helps with comfort and gives confidence to newer climbers learning their footwork. The Oxygym is in the upper echelon of comfort when it comes to climbing shoe rankings.

The drawback to the Oxygym’s comfort is that it limits performance. It’s worth remembering that this is a climbing shoe designed for gym climbing beginners. For this demographic, the Oxygym is a great shoe. The neutral fit and wide toe box means you can wear these shoes for 2-3 hours at a time without crushing your toes. Their breathability also helps with longer sessions, wicking moisture away from your skin.

Materials

La Sportiva Oxygym upper

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoe uses 3 layers of Washtex fabric to form its upper. Against the skin is a breathable inner followed by structural microfiber and then a washable outer layer. These breathable fabrics make the Oxygym durable enough to wash in a machine or by hand. Just make sure to air-dry them.

The Oxygym uses a 1.8mm LaspoFlex midsole. This provides support and comfort underfoot without adding too much weight. The Oxygym comes in at 14.3 oz/405 g per pair in the men’s variant. This makes them a lightweight option for beginners’ shoes. For reference, Scarpa Helix comes in at 15.2 oz/431 g and Evolv Defy at 20 oz/567 g.

Men’s vs Women’s version

La Sportiva Oxygym men's vs women's shoe comparison

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoe comes in a women’s specific fit. This version features a lower overall volume and is slightly narrower to account for the differences in foot shape between the sexes. 2 colorways are available for women: White/coral and mint/coral. The men’s variant comes in a variety of bright colors.

Fit, Foot Shape, and Sizing

La Sportiva recommends going one to two sizes down from your street shoe for an optimal fit. The Oxygym comes in half sizes which should further help you dial in a perfect fit. One nice feature of the Oxygym is their lack of break-in time. The soft upper doesn’t pinch or rub and the adjustable straps make it easy to get a correct fit immediately.

La Sportiva Oxygym comfort climbing shoes

The synthetic materials of the Oxygym mean they won’t stretch much over time. The Washtex fabric is soft and forgiving but won’t permanently change shape the way leather can. The Oxygym uses an RL45 last. This creates a round toe and a high, wide volume. The straps and soft material allow those with lower volume feet to fasten the Oxygym effectively, however. Overall, these are suitable for a wide variety of foot shapes.

Performance

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoes

Edging

The wider toe of the Oxygym is great for comfort. But it also means the force is spread across all of your toes. This is not an ideal situation for smaller edges when you need to concentrate force into a single toe. Still, these shoes are not designed for tiny edges and highly challenging conditions. Their edging capabilities are adequate for a beginner model.

Smearing

The relatively flat, wide toe of the Oxygym means there’s a lot of rubber in contact with the rock to create friction. This makes them ideal for learning smearing maneuvers. The sole is a mix of stiff and flexible components, using La Sportiva’s proprietary band that runs across the middle of the rubber rand. This helps to prevent the heel from twisting, adding confidence when learning how to smear.

La Sportiva Oxygym rear rubber for heel hooking

Hooking

Many beginner shoes assume their wearers won’t attempt hooking moves. The Oxygym’s rand extends over the heel, allowing heel hooking. It’s not the stickiest rubber but it protects the heel perfectly. The toe rand wraps over the front of the shoe and a section of the same harder rubber that forms the band in the center of the sole offers more protection for toe hooks.

Jamming

Jamming into cracks in the Oxygym feels awesome . The front of the shoe is protected with a section of the hard rubber used in the band through the center of the sole. It’s not the lowest profile front end for crack climbing. But it’s round and blunt. This means jamming it into pockets that a beginner would tackle feels great. For more technical traditional climbs, the Oxygym isn’t the best pick. But again, it’s not made for it.

Climbing Scenarios

La Sportiva Oxygym reviews

The name Oxygym hints at this shoe’s ideal climbing scenario. The gym is the shoe’s natural home. The materials feel like the Oxygym was designed to perform best and last longest indoors at the gym. The shoe’s design means they’re suited to beginner climbers.

Best Use

Lots of people want to save their “good” shoes for challenging outdoor climbs. For this type of climber, a cheaper alternative like the Oxygym could make a lot of sense. These shoes are build as a beginner-friendly all-rounder.

As long as the challenge level isn’t too high, the Oxygym will hold up for all styles of climbing, performing best in indoor environments.

The washable nature of the Oxygym also makes them an attractive option for gyms who can rent out shoes and then wash them clean.

Durability, Resoling, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare

La Sportiva Oxygym climbing shoe

Durability in the Oxygym is decent with a few caveats. Some people have complained that the straps give out before the rest of the shoe. This might affect those who need to strap them down tighter than others. Some climbers also complain that the durability of the rand isn’t great. This complaint mostly came from outdoor climbers.

La Sportiva Oxygym can be resolved, extending their lifespan significantly. 85% of the shoe is made using recycled materials and the Oxygym is totally free of animal products. 60% of La Sportiva products are manufactured in Italy, 28% in China, and 12% in Vietnam.

Facts

La Sportiva Oxygym vegan climbing shoes

Technical Specs

Weight7.15 oz/203 g
FitComfort
DownturnNeutral
ShapeLow asymmetry
VolumeLow
StiffnessBalanced
Sole thickness5 mm
ClosureVelcro
ResoleableYes
VeganYes

Use

ActivitiesIndoor, Bouldering, Sport
Experience levelBeginner

Technologies

Outsole5mm Frixion RS rubber
Midsole1.8mm LaspoFlex
Upper3 layers of Washtex
LastRL45
LiningAirtex silver

Where to Buy It?

We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is great, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.

Backcountry is also a decent option with great selection and availability.

Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/climbers going!

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