Gear Review: Climbing Shoes
I feel that the relationship between a climber and their shoe is one of the most personal relationships in all of sports, and making a recommendation for a shoe is so subjective because different climbers have different preferences. So, be warned this review is based on my specific shoe preference, which may be useful if you have a similar preference in climbing shoes.
For me it is all about edging, if I don’t feel confident in a shoe’s ability to edge, I’m cashing out immediately. I want to feel the rock beneath my feet, so if the rubber is too thick, it’s lights out. Comfort is important, I’m happy to sacrifice a bit of aggressiveness if it comes with an all day shoe. And finally, versatility, I want to be able to jump from slab to over-hangs, and big walls to bouldering without having to purchase 4-5 different pairs of shoes.
Along comes the Iati, and now I feel like Cinderella. Pardon my language but holy mackerel! This shoe is a dream, the edging is perfect, the Vibram XS Grip Rubber is like a magnet, this shoe has a downturned toe for a more aggressive climb, but somehow manages to sacrifice nothing in terms of comfort. I have literally climbed in this shoe for days at a time without taking them off once (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but only by a little). On the topic of comfort, the break-in time for the Iati is minimal compared to other shoes in the same class. And as far as sensitivity goes, I was able to feel the dimples of an orange peel right through the shoe (Also an exaggeration, but only by a little).
Versatility may be the key element to the Iati, from walls to bouldering, toe-hooks to heel-hooks; this shoe can do it all. I’ve even used an older pair to deep-water free solo. I wasn’t sure how the rubber and the Velcro straps would stick when wet, but both held up well.
Speaking of the Velcro Strap, the design is such that you can adjust the tension of your closure based on preference, and so as the Iati breaks in the shoe doesn’t actually loosen.
I’m on my third pair of Tenaya Iati’s, and the only thing that may move me to try something different is the new Tenaya Mundaka.
Recommendation: High Performance
Specs: Material: Natural Leather Microfiber, Fastener: Velcro, Draxtor PAT system, Tongue: Lycra with two perforated layers, Lining: Cotton with TXT treatment, Midsole: Double midsole GI 1.8 y TST 150, Insole: 2D multi-layer stretch tex, Outsole: Vibram XS Grip 3.5 mm, Weight: 340 g.