Gear review: Tenaya Iati

Like the Ra or the Tarifa, Tenaya’s Iati is a very comfortable shoe that is still geared towards performance use. Anyone who hasn’t tried out one of Tenaya’s offerings yet, should go and put some of these shoes on because they’re the most comfortable on the market.

The Tenaya Iati is a down-turned, slightly asymmetric velcro shoe that sits rather on the soft side. The materials used are almost exactly the same as in the Tarifa. The Iati features a soft, synthetic upper and a lycra inner that is lined with cotton for your comfort. They fit really well straight out of the box and there are no uncomfortable pressure points or anything like that.

I own these shoes for about six months now and I have used them indoors as well as outdoors on limestone and granite sport.

The verdict so far: They seem to be great shoes but they’re not for me.

My main issue with the shoe is that they’re pretty soft. Other climbers who like soft shoes will have a lot of fun with the Iati but I am just too heavy to use a very soft shoe. Especially outdoors, small edges are just too painful in these shoes and I start rolling of pretty quickly. Indoors is another story though. A soft shoe still works for me indoors and is great for smearing on volumes and boxes. The heel is also good and works very well even for marginal heel hooks. Overall, being soft is not the shoes fault and I just didn’t pay attention when I bought them.

Another issue I have is the closing system. Tenaya has tried to innovate here but I’d much prefer some regular velcro straps as these adjustable ones are just not working for me. They become undone quite easily and they seem too much hassle for no obvious benefit. Others might like the idea though. The closure system is definitely not a dealbraker.

In any case, the quality of the shoe is really high and I am sure that it can perform well on rock for others. For me, it will be limited to indoor use. That being said, I could imagine that a lighter climber would enjoy the sensitivity and precision on real rock.

Go check these shoes out and decide for yourselves if they work for you. If you are on the hunt for a soft, precise and down-turned performance shoe that is still really comfortable then go for it. However, if you prefer your boots stiff then don’t bother with the Iati and try the Tarifa instead!


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