TenayaIati Climbing Shoe

Tenaya's Sistine Chapel.

Tenaya designed the aggressive Iati Climbing Shoe for a versatile performance on overhung routes and hard boulder problems on any type of rock. RB Range X Technology assists with dynamic movements and slow, static ones. SXRDynamics wraps rubber around the heel to ensure a long-lasting, secure fit. The upper is comprised of leather, microfiber mesh, and Lycra at the tongue for a traditional-yet-innovative performance.

The Iati also has a breathable cotton lining with a TXT treatment for smooth comfort. Tenaya equipped the Iati with a Draxtor fastener for a snug fit from heel-to-toe. The multi-layer stretch flex footbed, GI midsole, and additional TST 150 midsole provide resilient stiffness to keep the Iati aggressively downturned for life. Tenaya turned to Vibram's ever-reliable XS Grip rubber to give the sole the same grip that the most popular climbing shoes have.

  • RB Range X Technology
  • SXRDynamics
  • Leather upper with microfiber mesh panel
  • Cotton lining with TXT treatment
  • Draxtor fastener with Lycra tongue
  • Multi-layer stretch flex footbed
  • Stiff dual-layer midsole
  • Vibram XS Grip sole
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

They (mostly) fit!!!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

It's hard for me to find wall-shredding tires for these long, narrow, flat, size 14 (48 - 48.5) feet. I've been rocking La Sportiva Mythos (size 46.5) since I started climbing 1.5yrs ago, and I love them, but they're not the most technical shoes on the planet. I looked for more aggressive, technical, bouldering/sport climbing shoes but there aren't many that are made in my size. First I tried the Scarpa Instinct size 48 - just the right length, but way too much room in the forefoot. There was nothing to be done about that. Then the Butora Acro Blue (low-volume, last season) size 14 - pretty good volume wise, but waaaaay too short for my tootsies. They're sized really small. So I gave these Iati a shot in size 13.5 (I tried 13 but they were too short length wise). These are just the right length to not cause cramps, have a bit too much room in the forefoot but the lacing system keeps everything tight, and have a bit of room on either side under my ankle but the heel cup still stays put thanks to those laces. Speaking of those lacing straps, they do take a bit of finagling to get right, but once you do you're in good shape. You can crank down on the forefoot and arch separately, and there's a big enough velcro patch to allow for micro adjustments as your feet swell throughout the day. They even give you a pair of individual velcro straps if you'd rather ditch the single strap and customize it some more. If I remember correctly, Tenaya says that their unlined leather shoes can stretch up to 1/2 size, and they've definitely broken in nicely after a few sessions without becoming sloppy. My edging ability has increased related to the Mythos, but while you can smear in the Iatis, it's not particularly comfortable. For everything else you're good to go!

Serious comfort and performance

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

My first pair of gym/sport climbing shoes were the Tenaya Inti. I basically went to a climbing store and found the shoe that fit my feet the best and didn't pay attention to the purpose of each shoe.
After a couple of years it was time to upgrade to something more aggressive. La Sportiva seems to be the shoe of choice for many of my climbing partners, but they just feel too stiff, uncomfortable and don't really fit my feet.
I have a small heel, high arch and decent sized toe box. These fit like a glove and felt amazing out of the box.
I will add that the sizing chart on the backcountry site, is different to the one Tenaya provides (how mens, women and EU match). The one Tenaya provides is accurate.
I purchased them in a 1/2 size smaller than my street size.

One of my best edging shoes.

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm that climber that has a quiver of shoes for different purposes, however the Tenaya Iati are the best edging shoes (for me) that I've ever worn. I edge best when I can really power down into my toes....therefore, I don't squeeze my precious babies into undersized shoes. Ever. The Iatis have a full last underneath which provides a bit more support underfoot for front pointing and edging. However, these are not your stiff-lasted Muira, TC Pro, or whatever, they will flex. That's how you generate power into the toe box to actually stand on the dime edges!

I have a smaller foot and a no narrow and these fit really well and the sock liner is extra comfortable.
These are high performance shoes. Learn how to use them and they'll respond amazingly.

Best place to use: New River Gorge for lots of technical face climbing, some burly moves, high stepping, lockouts, and, some fancy footwork.

For my other favorite place: Red River Gorge, I put these back in the quiver and use a shoe that I don't care as much about saving the precious rubber and rand.

Great Shoes

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Used these for quite some time now. I'm not particularly hard on shoes, so there has barely been any wear and tear for 9 months of 3x/week use in and outside.
There hasn't been much stretch at all. Only a little bit to kind of conform to the foot.
I found that at street size, there was room in the toe box to wiggle all but my big toe up and down. 1/2 size down from street shoe size was ideal.
They work well on little granite micro-edges but maybe aren't the best for smears. So far I haven't felt limited by the shoe at all.

Try hard comfort

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Just ordered my second pair while my others are getting resoled. When it comes to leading in the gym, these are all I really need. I find that no shoes fit my foot very well, but these are indefinitely comfortable from warm up to harder routes. They're soft, comfy, and have more than enough edge to feel confident trying hard. I have some Scarpa Boostics for bouldering, or if I'm really trying to push grades, but use these 85% of the time.

Favorite shoe thus far

    Fairly new to climbing and had been playing around with some less aggressive shoes that were ok. Took it to the next step with the Iati and it's been hitting the spot

    Great all around shoe.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 45

    I've had these shoes for about 6 months. I climb 2-3 days a week. After 25 years stuffing my feet into uncomfortable climbing shoes. I was determined to find a shoe that actually fit my foot. I tried on over a dozen different shoes before these. They fit my feet like a glove. Fit is true to size same as my street shoes. They haven't stretched much at all. They are still nice and snug.
    The closure is easy to use and adjust. It's solid and provides a secure fit.
    I can usually climb for an hour or so before needing to take them off.
    I use them mostly at the gym. I climb mostly steep boulders and sport. Not much slab. They toe and heel very well. Edging is good but not great. They aren't the stiffest shoe. The rubber is really good. Not 5/10 good but damned close. My feet are finally happy, and I'm climbing harder than ever before.

    Really oddly shaped toebox

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: Runs large
    • Size Bought: 8.5

    I ordered these because I wanted a stiff and aggressive outdoor bouldering shoe. The marketing materials say that it has a really stiff midsole and provides a lot of support for edging, but neither of those are true. These shoes are pretty sensitive and flexible. I compared them to my scarpa booster S and they are pretty much exactly the same stiffness, and the scarpas don't even have a continuous sole. Also compared to the scarpa boostic, which is an actual stiff and aggressive shoe with a supportive midsole, it doesn't fit that description at all.

    On top of it not really turning our to be what I was looking for, the toe box is extremely oddly shaped. The rest of the shoe is pretty good, the sock is really comfortable and I had very little dead space in the heel or under my arch, but the toe box had space over my toe knuckles. It's weird, the space lets my toes move up and down inside the shoe even though the rest of it felt secure. All of the other shoes I have tried from other brands if they are miss-sized (or don't fit the shape of my foot very well) have space on the sides of my toes, or my toes don't reach the end of the toe box. I couldn't figure out what a foot that fits securely into that space would look like.

    The last personal note is that I found the draxor lacing system thing to be extremely tedious. It was really hard to get each shoe to feel the same on both feet. I kept having to adjust and adjust so that one shoe wouldn't feel too tight compared to the other. I can also only imagine how annoying this would be if I were outside hiking to the boulders and my feet swelled up to a size that I had to readjust the lacing all over again. It seems dumb to overcomplicate a velcro closure system when they already work perfectly fine.

    All in all the shoes seem well made, just mismarketed as stiff and supportive. If you have feet that somehow fit securely into the toebox I can imagine them being well suited for bouldering and sport climbing, but I personally think that scarpa, fiveten, and la sportiva all have shoes that fit that niche a lot better.

    I'm surprised you left a poor review about climbing shoes that didn't fit your feet. Climbing shoes across the genre are marketed for different shaped feet. Not one size fits all.

    Large toe box

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs large
    • Size Bought: 11

    I am a Tenaya fanatic. I owned Masai, Inti, Iati (2 pairs), and Tatanka. The Iati fits quite differently from the others. The toe box is large and the shoe fits large too (I am 11 in Iati, 11.5 in everything else. If I really want I can probably do 10.5 in Iati). As a result, Iati is not as good at edging. It is worth keeping in mind this shoe is probably designed for pockets, toeing, and hooking.

    I want to provide an update to my original review. I grew to love the flexibility of Iati over the last 1 1/2 years. It is now my favorite bouldering shoes. On tiny foot holds is where the Iati shines. The soft sole allows the texture of the hold to bite into the rubber. Some problems with particularly bad foot holds I can only do with my Iati. It also smears very well since it is so flexible. To revise my old review, the Iati is actually great at edging, despite the roomy toe box.

    Definitely my go to shoe!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs large
    • Size Bought: 5

    These shoes are fantastic. I use them on pretty much everything except slab. The most comfortable aggressive shoe I've ever had. For gym sessions I can even leave them on in between boulder problems. They edge really well and the heel is a perfect fit.

    Awesome, Versatile, High Performance.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 8.5

    Great shoe. It fits well and climbs extremely well. I use these for just about every route I climb or problem I boulder. They stick great and edge well. I especially like them for technical face climbing, though they also climb well on steep and slab. The heel fits great and I never worry about heel hooking. They're also really comfortable.

    Iati and I don't regret it

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: 7.5/40

    After 11 months of gym climbing about 3-4 days a week, I finally wore a hole in my beloved Masai. Instead of re-soling, I thought I'd try something more aggressive. I've owned and destroyed the TC Pro, the Futura, and the Masai. I've tried many brands, and based upon my narrow feet, elongated arch, and Morton's toe, the Masai fit the best. However, they are not very downturned (in fact, they're oddly upturned). I want the happy medium between the comfort of the Masai and the toehookability of the Futuras (which were my go-to shoe until I had my eyes opened to Tenaya by the best gearhead in the business, Emily Jenson).

    I tried the Oasi, Ra, and Tarifas. The heel cup on those models were a little too deep for my dainty Asian feet. The slingshot heel rubber pushed too close to my ankle bones. The Masai do not do this; for me, the Masai have the perfect heel cup – not too deep, no deadspace, and fits like a sock. Also, the neoprene on the Oasi and Tarifa bunched up annoyingly. I did not try the Tatanka.

    Fit: Fits greats out of the box. Heel cup is slightly deeper than the Masai, and the slingshot rubber around the heel is a bit higher. The cup bubbles a little off my heel when I completely flex my feet downward, but my feet don’t bend like that when I climb. Also, after climbing/sweating in them for a week, the shoe conforms much better, and the neoprene keeps the slingshot rubber from rubbing on my ankle bone. The sole perfectly conforms to my feet without feeling the toe numbness I suffered with high-performance La Sportiva shoes (e.g., Solutions, Futura, and Genius).

    The toe box is more asymmetrical than the Masai, causing my right big toe and Morton's toe to get real intimate, but my Futura used to force these toes in a more abusive relationship. Now, as long as I trim my nails, I won't need podiatry counseling. Also, if my toes feel cramped on the first fitting of the day, then a quick loosening and wiggle gets everything in the right spot. I end up wearing them through belays, which I didn't even do with my Masai or TC Pro!

    Draxtor: I love this system. Although it took me about 15 minutes to micro-adjust them, once I had them dialed in, each shoe felt custom-made. The infinite options should be good for anyone's feet, as long as they can fit the narrow last. The shoes wrap around my feet very well now.

    Last (but not least): it is narrow, but that works for me. It's also a little stiff given the one-piece rubber sole, but I also like that. I'm not used to soft, two-piece soles because I need a bit of support, hence my preference for these over the Oasi. When the Mundaka come out, I might try them, but I probably need more foot strength to work with a softer shoe.

    Parting thoughts: Iati work great for edging, smearing, stemming, and silent feet. Tenaya shoes are designed to comfortably drive leverage and power to your toes. The Iati did improve my toe and heel hooking because of the additional rubber. Even though they're not technically for crack climbing, they feel a bit better than the Masai because of the padding on top. The Iati are much much better than the Masai for edging, especially when using the outside toes. They also perform as you should expect from a higher performance shoe. I no longer cut feet on overhangs like with the Masai, and that's all due to the downturn. I'm also happy in gym off-widths.

    So while my Masai had a slightly better fit due to its lower volume, flat sole, and lacing, the aggressive shape and the ease of removal are what make the Iati my new go-to shoe for everything in the gym. I'm not sure how they'd perform on real rock, but I wouldn't have any qualms about trying them out. It's nice that I'd be able to focus on my climbing ability and not my shoes.

    Sizing: I wear 41 in street shoes, 8.0 in Adidas Sambas, 41 in Scarpa Crux approach shoes, 40.5 in TC Pros, 39.5 in Futuras, and 8.0/40¾ in Masai. For the Iati, I wear 7.5/40. I would have tried on the 7.0, but they weren't in stock.


    Stellar review, Teddy, and a fun read. Thank you so much for the time you took to write this.

    I don't get it

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size

    I bought these shoes because of Instagram and Ethan Pringle and Alex Megos. I figured if these guys are wearing Tenaya then there must be something really awesome about them. But I'm pretty disappointed.

    The closure system is more trouble then it's worth. You have to adjust the straps on the velcro tab individually to tune it to the width of your foot. I guess freedom is nice but my solutions don't have to do this for a snug fit.

    The sole is really soft. Like softer than my Shamans. I originally bought these as a replacement shoe while I get my Katana Lace resoled, but there's no way they could edge like the Katana lace. They're as soft as my Shamans, but without the downturn.

    Basically I just don't get these shoes. I don't get where they fit in. In my mind if you have a soft shoe, it should be downturned. What's the point of a soft shoe that isn't aggressive? What's the point of a flat shoe that can't edge? Not to mention they just feel flimsy, like they weren't built well. Not a fan, I really wanted to love these shoes but I'm pretty disappointed.

    I think they kick the Katana laces butt like a real ninja. more comfortable and if you have good foot placement and epic style you will be good. The hardest thing I have climbed to date was in some shit Evolv defy's so shoe does not matter as much as one thinks.

    @Wes: I suppose it comes down to foot shape but these are in no way more comfortable than the katana lace ups. The katana lace ups have a padded upper so they're a lot more comfortable on the inside. If you're interested in a high performance all around shoe than go get the Katana Lace ups for a similar price and I'm sure you will be more satisfied. If you don't think shoes don't matter so much, get some $89 evolves and save your money for gas on your way to the crag.

    Unanswered Question

    Is this a men's size shoe?

    Unanswered Question

    How does the sizing compare to la sportiva?