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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Beastmaker Micro Crimps and Campus Rungs Review

Hanging from your fingertips to get really f*cking strong seems to be all the rage recently and what could be better than dangling from a beautiful piece of wood that was made by the guys over at Beastmaker in the UK.

In order not to get bored, I have extended my selection of edges to hang off of a few weeks ago and bought three campus rungs (small, medium and large) as well as the newly released micro crimps (6 mm, 8 mm and 10 mm) from the manufacturer of the famous Beastmaker 2000 and 1000 hangboards.

This review is long overdue but I couldn’t get to it because I actually had a finger injury and wasn’t able to try these beautiful edges for quite some time. As some of you might recall, I injured my finger on the day that the campus rungs and the crimps were delivered before I could even try them out.

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All the Goods

Beastmaker Campus Rungs

Let me start with the campus rungs because they were the first I was able to use again after some time off to heal my finger.

Beastmaker sells three sizes of campus rungs. They come in small, medium and large, like most campus rungs do, and I bought one of each to use them as a hangboard and not actually for campusing.

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Three sizes and some crimps

The large rung is 35 mm deep and 40 cm long. It is made of  beech and ‘Beastmaker’ is engraved into the front. It is quite rounded and you wouldn’t consider it to be a total jug (I wouldn’t at least). It is a very comfortable rung for a 4-finger open-handed hang. I can easily fit all four fingers on it (including my short pinkie) and while it isn’t really hard to hang, it can still pose a small challenge because of its slopy-ness. I use it for longer hangs but I could imagine that people could add weight and use it to train their sloper-strength. Generally, this is a very comfortable hold. The wood is smooth and feels good on the skin but still provides enough friction. I’m very happy with it!

The medium rung is 20 mm deep and it is quite incut. This is your classical campus rung. However, because I did not want the incut for hangboarding, I mounted it upside down. I now have a perfectly flat 20 mm edge that is still very comfortable to hold. It is perfect to train the half-crimp grip but you could also do open-handed hangs because it is still a bit radiused and doesn’t dig into your skin. This is the perfect edge for your weighted hangs!

The small rung is 15 mm deep and it is a little bit rounded. I believe it is 1 mm deeper than the outer lower edges on the Beastmaker 2000 (I think they are 14 mm) but it is much easier to hang. The radius makes this a perfect edge to train open crimp (or chisel) on. It feels nice on the skin and it is not too small. I really like this rung and I use it a lot.

 

Beastmaker Micro Crimps

Now let’s move on to the micro crimps that Beastmaker just started making. They come in pairs of 6, 8 and 10 mm. It is a simple product really, just some small, straight edges to hang of off but they are beautifully crafted and the quality is on point.

So far, I can only hang the 10 mm crimps. They are small but not very rounded. I’d say they are slightly harder to hang than the 14 mm edges on the BM2k. Although there is not much of a radius, they are still comfortable to hold and the edge doesn’t dig into your skin. (By the way, if you like my hangboard station, here is how you can build one yourself)

The 8 and 6 mm are pretty much the same, except that they’re smaller. While I can’t hang the 8 mm right now, they seem at least attainable in the near-ish future. The 6 mm on the other hand are ridiculously small. I’d imagine that hanging those for 5 to 10 seconds would correspond roughly to 8a finger strength… but hey, there’s gotta be something you’re working towards.

 

The Verdict

Both the campus rungs and the micro crimps are quality products that serve their purpose perfectly. They are nice on the skin, challenging and I am certain that they will make you beastly strong. Of course, you could also make something like this by yourself but I guess it would never quite have the look and feel of the beastmaker products. People who love their hangboards should take a look at these because they’re equally well crafted and you can feel that a lot of thought and testing has gone into this. Highly recommended! If you want them now, go and buy them over at Beastmaker (no affiliate link).

 

I’m a shoe addict!

I never thought I’d get a shoe addiction. Yet, here I am, standing in front of a box filled with eight (8!!!) pairs of climbing shoes. And it’s not like this are all the climbing shoes I’ve ever owned, it’s only the ones I’m currently wearing. I just love climbing shoes. It’s always the same, I tell myself not to buy any more shoes and then I discover another great offer that I just can’t pass up on. Just recently I had five pairs of them resoled, so I’m hoping I’ll buy less climbing shoes in 2016 (current count: 0… oh yeah).

This blog post isn’t really about my shoe addiction however. I thought I’d post a quick review of all my climbing shoes. Sorta like speed dating for climbing shoes (be careful, most of them are rather smelly :D). Here we go:

 

La Sportiva Katana Laces

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I own two pairs of these and that says everything about how much I like them. The Katana Lace was one of my first performance shoes. They are agressive but not too much. They can be quite comfortable and they are neither really stiff nor really soft. I like them for limestone face climbing when new and use them indoors when the edge has worn off. The only thing that bothers me with them is that they don’t perform well on pockets for me, but they are a great allround shoe.

 

La Sportiva Katana Velcro

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The Velcro is slightly different from the laces version. It seems less downturned and it’s even more comfortable. They can be used on everything although you might feel they lack power on steep overhangs. There is only one problem with these shoes, and it’s a big one: They wear out way too fast. It’s a known issue that these get a hole just above the big toe very quickly. This was a major downturn for me. I resoled them and I’ll see if they last longer now.

 

La Sportiva Solutions

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I know, everyone loves these, but I don’t. I don’t like the claw like front. They are too insensitive and too imprecise. I just think there are a lot better shoes on the market.

 

La Sportiva Pythons

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I bought those fairly recently and they are great! It’s a slipper type shoe with one velcro strap. They are very downturned but still really comfortable. The pythons are very very soft. They are great for indoor bouldering as you can smear on everything. Outdoors, they are good for steep overhangs but a bit too soft for face climbing on small edges. This is my go to indoor climbing shoe.

Tenaya Ra

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There is a full review here. I love them. They are my go to outdoor shoe for vertical face climbing.

Scarpa Instinct VS

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This is my most recent acquisition. Scarpa is showing up everywhere right now and they deserve the attention. This shoe is higher quality than La Sportiva shoes (it’s also more expensive). They are pretty stiff, have a great heel and awesome toe-rubber. I sent my 7a in Siurana in them and they are my new favourite shoes for climbing outdoors. I’d use them on everything but they are just too expensive for that. Try them on!!

FiveTen Hiangle

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I bought them a size too small and they are very painful. I also don’t like them very much. The pressure point is weirdly off and they don’t seem to offer any benefits for a lot of discomfort. I’ll try to sell them soon.

 

So this was my climbing shoe collection. If you have any more questions on any of the models I own, feel free to ask them in the comments!

 

 

Gear review: La Sportiva Mix

Update: the long-term

This is my experience of using the La Sportiva Mix long-term. I own these for about one and a half years now and I have used them a lot. They’ve been out with me on every single climbing day and I used them as my normal day-to-day shoes during winters. I can tell you that I am still happy as hell! They are still going strong, showing only minimal wear and I am confident that I will still own these next year! I have used and abused the Mix but they just don’t want to give up. I highly recommend these shoes!

Read on for my initial review and for more detail:

I have some pieces of gear that I find myself going back to time and time again. Some of them I own for a really long time and they’ve never disappointed me. Now, technically I don’t own the La Sportiva Mix long enough to really say that, but when I bought these shoes and my feet slipped into them for the first time, I knew that I’d have to have them. Approach shoes are always a tricky thing to buy. I don’t want those clunky, heavy mountain boots that will weigh me down and always just feel way overblown. I want light shoes instead, that still give me enough support and don’t let my feet slip on a wide range of terrain. Then again, because lighter approach shoes are not as beefy as full-on mountain boots, they are usually not as durable. I had issues with the durability of approach shoes before but what I like about the Mix is that it feels sturdy enough not to give in after just a few longer approaches on difficult terrain.

wpid-dsc_0472.jpgBuilt & Design

As I just said, the Mix feels sturdy enough to withstand some serious beating. Mine come in grey and blue and I actually like how they look. The design is subtle and it doesn’t scream technical alpine gear, which means you can wear them in the mountains and around town. One of my favourite details is the yellow “climbing on the moon”-patch sewn onto the tongue. You actually don’t see it because the laces cover it, but I like that it’s there for some reason.

Fit & Performance

wpid-dsc_0471.jpgThe Mix fits just great. They are very comfy, yet, they give your feet and ankles a really secure feeling. The rubber sole performs pretty well on rock, choss and isn’t too bad on stuff like wet grass. It features a smooth climbing zone in the toe area which works surprisingly well.
I did things like climbing to the first bolt to clip a draw (too cheap for a clipstick) in these shoes and it went pretty well. I’m convinced you could use them on some pretty technical climbing terrain. Of course, they’ll work even better as a climbing shoe if you size them a bit smaller, but I rather use real climbing shoes for climbing and sized them probably a bit larger than it was intended by La Sportiva.

Conclusion

I really like these shoes. I know they are not the most beefy and technical mountain shoes, but considering that I do a lot of approaches in flip-flops or sneakers, a real mountain boot is not what I really need. People who prefer the feel and security of a heavier boot should look elsewhere, but for those who’re just looking for a nice, comfy and well performing approach shoe: check out the La Sportiva Mix! It’s a great shoe.