From bouldering to sport and indoor climbing, Ocun's Oxi QC is billed as the most versatile shoe in the Oxi family. Kevin Woods reviewed the original Oxi last year, so here we've asked his opinion of this new addition to the line.
This review of the Ocun Oxi QC follows a write-up I gave the Oxi shoe last year (since superseded by the Oxi S). These were particularly geared toward bouldering, and they served me very well too. The Oxi QC is similar in design and build, but subtly different and arguably more versatile. Aimed at bouldering, sport, and indoor climbing, the QCs have been with me on a variety of rock types and styles for the past few months. I've had the original Oxis for over a year now too, which has allowed me to draw some comparisons between the two models.
Fit and features
First things first; the Oxi QC is an asymmetric downturned shoe, with double velcro closures, a lot of rubber on top for toe hooking and a heel that I'd consider one of the sturdier out there. I got the shoes in size 8 - one size down from my Oxis of 2016, and a closer fit to my foot. On a set of scales, my pair weigh in very closely to the manufacturer's stated weight of 420g.
Its main visible point of difference with the Oxi is the use of two velcro closures instead of one, which - depending on your foot shape - you may find helps get a more accurate fit. The double velcro closure is obviously better than laces for pulling the shoes on and off in between climbing attempts, too. My pair are a real snug fit for me, but I can still wear them for relatively extended periods without my feet feeling too cramped. When reviewing the original Oxi I suggested a second closure might have been better. On the QC though, both velcro tabs are high up on the foot, so they leave less opportunity for manipulating fit around the toes. I think this is a bit of a missed opportunity, as the option of a bit more adjustment towards the front of the foot might have suited some people.
I really liked the heel when I reviewed the Oxis last year, and using the QCs has simply been confirmation of those earlier thoughts. With a seamless construction and a tensioned rubber heel band, the fit feels snug and precise. It's comical that the sole issue I have with the heel is a 'foot fart' of escaping air that occurs when I walk in a new pair. But you shouldn't worry too much as this disappeared within a week or so of use. As the Oxi QC's heel is basically the same as the original Oxi's, I'll just repeat what I wrote about that last year:
The result of a badly designed heel is that the rubber tends to roll off the placement, and if this is the case there can be very little you can do about it besides go and buy another pair. No such worries with the Oxi.
I was recently working Glen Croe's Precious, a font 7C project which climbs a stonking hanging prow. It features four left heel hooks in a row. Sticking the third of these on a marginal smear formed the redpoint crux, with the smallest of edges for the heel to catch: a tiny, sharp protrusion on an otherwise fingertip sloper. No other shoe of mine outstripped the Oxi in engaging this. I attribute this to the heel's stiffness and the fact that it is close fitting.
Ocun say the QC has a medium-hard midsole, but in the scheme of things I'd say the QCs are pretty soft, with little in the way of stiffness down the length of the shoe. That's fine for shorter term use, either on boulders or sport routes, but you might find your feet in pain if you're inching up a trad slab. That's not what these shoes are about.
The QCs perform very well, but in specific ways. As billed, they can feel a bit of an all-round shoe, whereas if I'm using micro foot features or edging up a slab on tiny footholds, I actually have to switch into something else. On the other hand they have been working exceptionally well on Sabotage at Dumbarton, which is a boulder problem where it helps to have a shoe with a slightly 'bigger' feel and stiffness in the rubber around front of the shoe. These qualities mean they would also excel as an indoor shoe. On the other hand, their speciality isn't smearing, so I think taking them up a slabby trad pitch on The Cobbler a few weeks ago was optimistic on my part!
Straight out of the box, I found there to be a complete lack of touch sense in the big toe. I climbed boulders and pitches where I couldn't feel a single thing, and relied solely on sight to place my feet. But this was only an issue when they were brand new. In a matter of weeks the rubber started to soften and flex, and now they are in that lovely sweet spot. Friction is good on a variety of rock types.
In my experience of last year's Oxi, the toe wore through more quickly than I'd usually expect. However Ocun have since changed the makeup of their rubber, so the 'CAT' compound used on the Oxi QC is different. At a depth of 4mm, it will be interesting to see how it fares in terms of long term durability. It's too soon to say yet.
The Oxi QC shines in a variety of climbing styles - particularly for sport climbing, indoor climbing and bouldering, for which they've proved an excellent all-round performance shoe. They'll also work on trad if the sizing isn't too tight, though they would not be my first choice for long easy routes. I particularly rate the heel!
The most versatile shoe in the Oxi family, the Oxi QC is a performance climbing shoe suitable for a wide range of rock activities: sport climbing, bouldering or indoor training. Oxi QC is a shoe for a climber who wants to compete in all disciplines.
Highly rubberised toe-box and slingshot rand give you the ability to perform technical toe-hooks and heel-hooks on any surface. The two piece tongue with two velcro straps in opposing directions make the QC easy to put on and hold the foot firmly in place. Highly asymmetric and aggressive curvature working in combination with the medium hard mid-sole and sticky sole make this shoe suitable for all types of modern sport climbing.
- Upper: Microfibre
- Midsole: 3D Fit Middle
- Insole: Leather
- Sole: CAT rubber 1.5, 4mm
- Weight: 420g (pair, size 8)
- Sizes: 4 - 13 (men - for women it's the Oxi Lady)
- Shape: asymmetric
- Price: £94.95
For more info see ocun.com