Dave looks at the new Scarpa Oxygen GTX to see if they really are a do-it-all-shoe.
Scarpa have collated their entire knowledge base across multiple activities- like walking, climbing, running, trekking- and applied it to their new do-it-all shoe, the Scarpa Oxygen GTX.
I get through a lot of approach shoes, two and sometimes three pairs a year. I’m out climbing, trekking and running and then I wear them whilst working. I’ve also become a real fan of good quality approach shoes for hiking and will only wear boots in wet conditions and even then I found the Scarpa Oxygen GTX performed well in those conditions too. So really there is no reason to wear anything else unless I know I’m going to be walking through boggy ground or a high level multi day trek.
The Scarpa Oxygen GTX have been an unbelievably great shoe to wear for any activity I’ve used them in. I’ve used them for hiking, scrambling, climbing approaches, working on easy climbs and mountain biking. The only activity I didn’t really enjoy using them was running as I prefer to use a dedicated running shoe.
The uppers are a mixture of 1.8mm suede and a breathable mesh on the sides of the shoe. The suede give the shoe a great look and the mesh has lasted well with no holes in it so far – this surprised me as I expected it to wear through quite quickly and I thought a little rand around this area would have improved the durability, but it has lasted really well. A full toe rand makes the Oxygen quite durable without adding bulk or making them look chunky and makes them great for scrambling and easy climbs. I’ve climbed plenty of routes in these and they have been great for general easy climbing (I must say these situations have been professional – teaching climbing and not recreational). They have been supremely comfortable to wear in all the activities I have used them, straight out the box.
The fit is quite close as Scarpa have used their sock technology in the Oxygen. I have experience of this as I have been using the Scarpa Rebel Lite for Alpine and Winter mountaineering and the fit of the Oxygen is very similar once you get used to it. The laces have be fully loosened in order to get the shoe on but once on and the speed lacing done up the fit is very close. I have fairly narrow feet and the fit did allow for a little movement, the suede also has a little give and over time the shoe has become a great, all day fit. The sock technology offers the Oxygen a complete surround of Schoeller and Gore-Tex to cover the foot like a sock.
With the Scarpa Oxygen GTX having a fully GoreTex sock surrounding your foot I found them a little hot at times, especially during long hikes and treks. The shoe only comes in a GoreTex version so if you don’t like a GoreTex shoe you’re going to have to look elsewhere. In order to help solve the overheating they have come up with the Goretex Surround solution. This offers a full sock with venting through the sole of the shoe, the idea being that your movement will help pump vapour through the removable insole and the midsole. To be honest I didn’t notice any difference and still found them hot on warm days and long hikes. The GoreTex worked brilliantly on wet days and through wet grass.
The heel tabs were plenty big enough to get a carabiner through and I would have liked to seen them offset to that they weren’t so bulky when hanging from a harness and a little bar tacking would have given me a little more confidence when 7 pitches up, but there were easy to get fingers through when pulling the shoe on and they were fine for grabbing when transferring on belays, etc.
The Vibram sole offered great friction on dry rock and reasonable friction on wet rock, although needless to say wet moss and mud were not so good. The lugs (tread) were big enough to offer some security when descending and OK on rocky ground. They are also very light on the feet weighing only 440g each (remember you can wear these instead of hiking boots for most situations) so felt alomost as good as trainers.The midsole is the same as the Crux, which I’ve been wearing for ages and offered a very comfortable cushioning this also made the styling more acceptable for urban wear.
I conclusion have found the Scarpa Oxygen GTX my go to shoe for the whole season, I’ve used them for approaches in Spain, hiking in dry and wet conditions and I’ve worked in them for most of the season with plenty of life left in them. They have been the best all round shoes I’ve used for a long time!
Nice and light.
Good fit due to the Sock Fit technology
Nice looking and suitable for urban wear
Hot on long walks, especially in warm conditions.
Would have liked the heel tabs offset.
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