Ocun Ozone Plus Review
Ocun have been one of the most innovative climbing companies over the years, being the first company to stretch the rubber on the sole of the shoe around the heel to allow heel hooks to be undertaken with greater ease back in 1992. They have continued to seek out innovative ways of progressing all of their products including the subject of this review, the Ocun Ozone Plus.
A great outdoor edging shoe.
The Ozone line are designed to be focused on edging ability, with a 4mm Vibram XS Grip sole and medium stiffness midsole, though these are also very capable on friction slab smears and indoor volumes.
Ocun mark the Ozone line as a Competition Shoe which it could be used for but I would suggest they are a great shoe for outside edging predominantly, though do also have plenty of give for those gritstone slabs and ripple smears. I will go into more detail in the forefoot section of this review later on for the reasoning behind their great all-round ability.
Multiple volumes available, innovative design with comfort from the first session.
The Ozone has a slight downturn in additional to slight asymmetry, which allows a fit to most foot shapes. As a climber with a wide forefoot, narrower heel and a pretty flat arch, I tend to find it difficult at times to find a shoe which really fits well that is more than a beginner type shoe. The Ozone Plus has proven to be a great option for my wider feet and the slight downturn also allowed me to crank the Velcro straps to truly get a great fit across the whole shoe.
Break in period for the Ozone I found to be minimal. Due to the seamless heel and leather insole provide comfort from the word go with the microfiber upper also assisting in a soft material to allow minimal friction against crimped toe knuckles. An easy break in period which continued through the whole life of the shoe to date after extensive wear.
From my experience, I would suggest half a size down from your street shoe size for a tight enough fit for performance yet still comfortable enough to allow them to be worn comfortably for up to 45 minutes. If you have a love for performance over comfort by fitting your shoes like a vacuum, a whole size down from your street shoe size should help you with your fix.
3 Force System aiding in edging though lack of larger toe patch may put some off.
With the Ozone line, the magic is at the front end of the shoe. You’ll find the now commonly found split midsole and two Velcro straps as the closure system of choice on the Ozone line. These are commonplace and tried and tested throughout many shoes from many brands as they both work well. Where the unique innovation begins from Ocun though, is with their Ocun “3 Force System”. Without boring you with too many branded phrases or catch lines, this basically refers to a rubber strip which runs along the front edge of the rand, pulls over the top of the forefoot and finally underneath the shoe to finish its path around the inside middle of the foot. The point of this is to create tension within the show to minimise any flex across the shoe as opposed to the usual thought process of just longitudinal flex within the toe box. This does genuinely feel like a great platform when standing on tiny edges BUT does not limit smearing as that is on more of a longitudinal plane. This is a truly unique innovation in the market and has also been brought into the Ocun Nitro shoe which is more of an all-out bouldering shoe with similar styling to a Scarpa Drago in appearance.
It would be worth mentioning that there is a lack of much toe rubber covering the top of the fore foot meaning toe hooking is maybe not so well catered for as in some shoes. Personally, I did not find this a hindrance to the shoes performance as did not find a toe hook where this failed me but have to admit that I do not seem to utilise them often on poor holds to maybe need a larger coverage of sticky rubber here. For those who love a toe hook where you can just stick a toe out and not have to worry so much about accuracy with a large toe patch, this may not be the shoe for you and I cannot say that it compares to those smothered in rubber.
Seamless heel delivers comfort though not the most technical of heels on the market.
Ocun often use a seamless heel construction in their shoes which goes back to 1994 when they first brought the innovation to the market. It has to be said that the seamless heel is incredibly comfortable and I now take it for granted how comfortable it is making it a favourite.
The end of the rubber sole is neatly tucked beneath the tensioned heel band which increases durability substantially eliminating the risk of delaminating on the hard heel hooks, which I have previously managed on other shoes over the years.
Performance on heel hooks is not astonishing in my experience with the shoes but also not bad. Having tried more moulded heel cups before, I can’t help but feel that the heel on the Ozones are not as fine-tuned as on some other shoes I have used before. I noticed slight bagging of excess material in between the rubber housing which didn’t appear to affect performance, though I can’t say it was a perfect fit for my foot. It reminds me a lot of the Scarpa Instinct heel in the fit. A bit more “heavy duty” than some. Neither love nor hate for me on the heel as it lacks the inspiration of the forefoot though still highly functional.
Low, Medium and High-Volume options within the Ozone line.
Ocun have tried to cater for all climbers with the Ozone line with offering three options for climbers of all feet sizes. The have a low volume model, the Ozone Lady with a red and white upper, a medium volume model, the Ozone QC with a blue and yellow upper and finally a high volume for climbers with wider feet in this review, the Ozone Plus with a green and yellow upper. This allows a great option for almost all climbers to find the perfect model for them.
A great all-round performance shoe whilst maintaining comfort for most disciplines.
All in all, the edging ability of this shoe has made the Ozone one of my favourite shoes to date. I would usually go for shoes much stiffer than the Ozone to assist on the Limestone, found at my local crags in Dorset, which often lacked for indoor and more friction based problems found on granite and gritstone. Also unlike my previous stiffer shoes, the Ozone provides enough feel to get those scary smears but enough support and stiffness with the tensioning system to provide great edging ability. Ocun seem to have a budget reputation amongst the climbers I know but the Ozone line really pushes that preconception to deliver a great high-performance shoe built with quality and high levels of innovation.
I will continue to enjoy these shoes well after this review has been written and will be keen to get them resoled when the time is right to extend the lifespan of them further as they appear to have many a session in them yet!
A great option for all round performance.
Extremely asymmetric, anatomically shaped climbing shoe – a modern gun for competitive and performance climbers. Ozone is very precise on tiny footholds, edges and in pockets. The 3-Force system opens up new possibilities for climbers choosing Ozone for their sends. The performance is boosted by the highly adhesive Vibram XS Grip sole. Our patented 3-Force system provides precise pressure distribution contributing to a higher torsional stiffness and resulting in perfect balance on the tiniest footholds and edges.
Stable on tiny holds and ledges
Patented 3-Force System evenly distributes internal forces
New split sole and improved heel design
New more attractive colour