Loading Notifications...

Ocun Jett LU Rock Shoe Review

© Martin McKenna

Ocun's Jett shoe is said to combine both performance and comfort. While that's a claim probably made of a lot of rock shoes, my experience of many years is that it's rarely achieved. Increased performance tends to come at the expense of comfort, and if you want to climb hard (whatever that means to you) then some tolerance for cramped toes comes with the territory. As the owner of a pair of large and wide-toed feet I have struggled in the past with the asymmetric and downturned lasts normally associated with higher performance footwear. What a lot of us low-to-middling climbers arguably need is an intermediate sweet spot, a shoe that doesn't feel like it's holding back your performance, but not one so extreme that you can hardly wear it.

I'm a lifelong punter, and while it's debatable how much aggressive technicality I really need in a shoe, when the going gets tough (for me) then I need all the help I can fit onto my feet. A pair of comfy boats might be fine on multi pitch VDiffs, but won't do anyone favours on smaller holds and steeper ground.

This should be where a model like the Jett comes in, nudging towards the performance end of the mid range, but without going madly aggressive. The Jett LU (lace up) that I've looked at here is perhaps more of a trad shoe. If you're after a similar fit for more sporty and indoor use, then look at the velcro-fastening Jett QC.

On Bilberry Buttress, Raven Crag  © Mike Hutton
On Bilberry Buttress, Raven Crag
© Mike Hutton

Fit

It's worth noting that there is no female/low volume version of either the Jett LU or Jett QC, which is a shame. However they are offered in a huge range of sizes, from 4 to 13.

Feet come in all sorts of shapes as well as widths and lengths, and to help with shoe choice Ocun provide a useful at-a-glance guide to all their models. As well as accounting for narrow, normal and wide widths, they allow for three foot shapes, Egyptian (big toe is longest and they then taper towards the little toe), Greek (second toe longest) and Cube (all toes equal). The Jett LU is said to be suitable across the board, and while it has an asymmetric last, this has been mitigated to an extent by adding some room to the instep and toe box. This sounds great, but I think it's categorically impossible for one shoe to fit all foot types equally. I am a sort of Cube/Egyptian hybrid with pretty wide feet at the front, and I would not call this a wide shoe - it's more narrow-to-medium, and with a middling volume too. As you'd expect from a model that at least nods towards performance, it has quite a pointy toe, with a reasonably marked asymmetric curve, and it's at the outer edge of the foot that I struggle with the dreaded toe crush. If you have genuinely Cube-shaped feet then the Jett LU is not for you.

Fairly stiff and supportive for edging  © Martin McKenna
Fairly stiff and supportive for edging
© Martin McKenna

Not optimal for bouldering... but neither am I  © Martin McKenna
Not optimal for bouldering... but neither am I
© Martin McKenna

In terms of profile, however, this shoe is more forgiving - not as flat as a beginner's or comfort shoe, but a lot less radical than a typical very downturned performance model. If you spend a lot of time on steep ground and like to feel a lot of power and precision at your big toe then the Jett LU will probably feel as if it's made too many concessions to wearability. But as a middle aged bumbler, with difficult-to-fit feet, I suspect it's this fairly relaxed profile that saves them, for me. There's still enough precision at the front for my needs!

They seem more or less true to size. I take a 47 in street shoes and mountain boots, and opted for a 46 here. Any larger and they'd have been floppy at the front. So I have a close fit, which feels pretty aggressive at the front end compared to my standard comfort/beginner shoes, but without being totally crippling as per a really high end model. I can wear the Jett LU on multi pitch routes, for instance, though I generally want to take them off at the belays. I've never been into suffering, even if it buys me some performance, and for me the Jett LU just about toes the line between OK and no way.

I generally take issue with exaggerated heel shapes, and while it's not as crazy as some, the Jett LU's does fall into that category. As per all more performance-oriented models, they've put a lot of tension into the band around the achilles - I find it just about bearable - in order to push the foot forward into the toe. However, below this band there's so much space in the heel cup that on me the fit right in the curve of the heel is very baggy. As a result I find heel hooking imprecise and sloppy; it's lucky that I'm rarely called on to do it.

Trying the Jett LU on some easy Peak grit  © Nick Brown
Trying the Jett LU on some easy Peak grit
© Nick Brown

Upper

The microfibre (suede-like) upper has a sturdy feel, and has not stretched perceptibly after several months use. You also get the benefit of a seam-free section over the achilles, which is a nice touch. Inside it's a soft real leather footbed - something for vegans to bear in mind maybe.

For comfort, the mesh tongue is reasonably breathable, though I've seen better. Not much of it is open to the air since the gap between the laces is pretty narrow. I've worn the Jett LU on several warm summer days, without feeling unduly sweaty, but they might not be my first choice for a hot rock destination.

For a fine-tuned fit, lacing goes right down to the toe. Width-wise there isn't an awful lot of give or take though, so there's probably a limit to how accommodating the lacing will prove on unusually narrow or wide feet. The laces are part-covered at the front; Ocun say this is to protect them from abrasion. This isn't an issue I can remember having, but perhaps I don't stuff my feet into enough cracks.

On the committing traverse of The Sleeper, Neist  © Masa Sakano
On the committing traverse of The Sleeper, Neist
© Masa Sakano

Starting up South Edge Direct on the Green Lady pinnacle   © Masa Sakano
Starting up South Edge Direct on the Green Lady pinnacle
© Masa Sakano

Sole

For all round use I tend to prefer a more supportive shoe, and its '2D Fit Hard' midsole does give the Jett LU a degree of rigidity. If you're after a softer shoe for indoors or bouldering, then look elsewhere; this is explicitly billed as a stiffer model. I find it good on little edges, and supportive enough on long slow trad pitches and multi-pitch routes. Nevertheless, at least in a larger size, I wouldn't say this is an unusually stiff or edgey shoe. The longer your foot, the more leverage on the sole, a mechanical inevitability that I'm not convinced brands always account for at the upper end of the size scale.

Testing their edging potential at Limekilns  © Martin McKenna
Testing their edging potential at Limekilns
© Martin McKenna

Underfoot you get 4mm of Ocun's CAT 1.5 rubber, a compound they've developed in collaboration with a Czech producer. This is their softest, grippiest rubber, as used on all Ocun's higher end shoes (as opposed to the CAT 1.1 rubber which is a harder/more durable compound used on their beginner shoes). As promised, I've found it pretty sticky on a good variety of rock types, and on plastic. As with all higher friction rubber, the tradeoff here is that being softer it's a little more prone to wear than a harder compound. After a few months of light-to-moderate use the edge at the toe is beginning to round off. This is entirely as expected, not a criticism. There's a bit of delamination on the rand, but nothing too serious either.

Summary

A true marriage of comfort and performance remains a rock shoe holy grail, but the Jett LU do go some way towards this. The overall fit is fairly forgiving, as these things go, and the profile is somewhere between the flatter beginner/intermediate end of things and the radical downturn of a high end performance shoe, making this a decent choice if you're after a more relaxed feel. Nevertheless, with their reasonably aggressive shape, and tensioned heel, you still get more precision at the toe than what's on offer from your average sloppy beginner's shoe. A fairly stiff sole makes for reliable edging performance, while the CAT 1.5 rubber is good and sticky. If you're a low-to-middling jack of all trades looking for just one shoe to do it all then you could get by with the Jett LU; however its ideal niche would be multi pitch sport routes, or UK trad. Ocun have made a very competent intermediate shoe here, and perhaps its most notable feature is the price. In a market where £100+ shoes are now more or less to be expected, £84.95 seems a bit of a steal.

Ocun say:

The Jett cleverly combines the attributes of a high-performance shoe with comfort. That's why it's a great choice not only for more ambitious and talented beginners, but also intermediate climbers not yet ready to suffer in extremely small shoes, as well as competitive sport climbers on multi-pitch routes.

The new Jett LU climbing shoe combines accuracy with comfort that you will appreciate on day-long climbs. It has a close-fitting cut and lacing down to the toes, which you can tighten up to get the perfect fit. This high-performance shoe has a full-length rand and sticky CAT 1.5 sole. The seamless heel and breathable tongue add to your comfort.

  • Sizes: 4-13 UK
  • Weight: 644g / pair size 46 (our weight)
  • New asymmetrical last with roomier instep and toe box
  • Lacing down to the toe gives a perfect fit
  • Lacing on the toe is covered to protect from abrasion
  • Full-length rand and highly adhesive sole with our sticky CAT 1.5 rubber mixture
  • Stiff insole for greater stability on small holds
  • Breathable tongue and seamless heel for greater comfort

For more info see ocun.com



Support UKC

We need your help.

UKClimbing is a vibrant web site with rich content and an amazing community. So far, all we've asked of you is that you visit and interact with the site but we are in uncertain times. We need to look at ways to keep the site moving forward whilst maintaining our key aim of allowing free access to everyone to our main content. The site will continue to be mainly funded by a subtle level of outdoor-only advertising but we now need extra support to ensure we can continue to provide the UKC that we all know and love.

You can help us by becoming a UKC Supporter. This can be in a small way or in a larger package that includes discounted products from our sister-publishing company Rockfax.

If you appreciate UKClimbing then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts

15 Nov, 2019

By way of interest for those with this sort of foot shape but want a more performance focused shoe, check out the Pearl LU from Ocun: https://www.ocun.com/product/pearl2

It's got barely any asymmetry but still has a good amount of downturn etc.

15 Nov, 2019

My main take away from this is that you have some mighty fine calves Mr Bailey.....

16 Nov, 2019

I've been using Jett LU & Pearl LU from Ocun for the last few months, mainly bouldering indoors but also a few trad sessions outside and really rate them both.

Jett LU I bought, (very reasonably), as a trad shoe, bit stiffer and more supportive with a less aggressive heal for extended periods of wear. I sized them a half size smaller at UK8. They have softened with wear and have become more sensitive, which is a relief as I found them a touch 'feel-less' to begin. Persevere and they come into their own, good edging and feel precise on very small edges but with enough stiffness for torquing into small cracks semi-comfortably.

The Pearl LU is very different, softer with a more pronounced down-toe and a narrower more precise heel. They are much better on steeper ground and, with a slightly thinner rubber just feel more sensitive. They put better power down through the toe and, with a lower toe volume, scum and toe hook more effectively, they also heel hook better too. They are a bit narrower and I'd say they better suit sport/bouldering on more off-vertical ground.

Rubber type is the same, much better than I expected, having worn 510 Anasazi Pinks and T-Rocks for years.

Biggest seller for Ocun was the really good price point. I think they offer excellent value for money especially given the way I find they perform, if like me you baulk at spending £120.00 up on shoes, definitely give them a try!


Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest