The Iati is the latest high-performance shoe from the Spanish brand Tenaya. It hit the shelves in the fall of 2015 which gave us just enough time to get them out on the rock and see how they stack up against Tenaya’s other high-performance models: the Oasi and the Tarifa.
We’ve already run the Oasi and Tarifa through some thorough testing and it’s worth reading these other two reviews because, looking at the big picture, these three shoes are quite similar. I thought the Oasi and the Tarifa were grade-A shoes and my first impression of the Iati was no different. The challenge was in looking, and feeling, closely to identify what sets the Iati apart.
I believe the Iati combines the best attributes of both the Oasi and Tarifa, while adding some subtle design changes, to be the best all-around performer and best overall performer of the bunch. How’d they do it?
The most obvious difference is the closure system. The Iati utilizes the same Draxtor Velcro closure system as the Oasi, but it’s much improved. On the Oasi, the two strap closure had two independent Velcro tabs that weren’t always adequate for staying put. The Iati brings those two straps to a single point with a large, circular tab that provides much more coverage and staying power. Both straps are still independently adjustable.
The Iati is slightly more downturned in the toe box than its counterparts. It’s still what I consider “moderately downturned” by today’s standards but you can really feel the Iati suck up underneath the bend in your toes and snug into the arch of your foot.
One easy thing to look for when you’re determining how a shoe will perform is to flip it over and look at the sole. Climbing shoes will generally have either a one part, or a two part sole. A one part sole will run the full length from the tip of the toe to the heel. With a two part sole, the rubber is split and beneath the arch of the foot you’ll just see rand rubber. This plays a part in how flexible the shoe will be. Grab the toe in one hand and the heel in the other and twist the shoe back and forth like you’re screwing the lid on and off a jar to get a feel for the shoe’s flexibility. One piece soles will offer more support and are generally better for face climbing while two piece soles are generally better for climbing really steep terrain.
On the Oasi and Tarifa, Tenaya went with a hybrid system of a one part sole, but with the two ends connected by just a thin (maybe one inch) strip of sole rubber. The Iati has a more traditional one part sole with about twice as much sole rubber beneath the arch of the foot. The result—more support that’s especially noticeable when face climbing.
The shape of the heel cup on the Iati seems to be borrowed from the Tarifa. The Oasi has a dramatically deep heel cup while the Tarifa and the Iati utilize a less drastic and more ergonomic design.
Like the other high-performance Tenaya’s the Iati is built on a narrow last. If you have an abnormally wide forefoot, you’ll definitely want to try these on before committing to a pair. But the narrow width is what makes the Iati such an exceptional face climber. The power point of the front edge is beneath the big toe instead of off to the side which directs the weight of the climber directly onto the edge. Like the Oasi, the Iati is fantastic for front-pointing in pockets but I found that the additional stiffness of the Iati made it even better.
On steep terrain, the Iati gets a solid A-. There’s enough flexibility in the foot, and enough downturn, to really dig into edges at the extent of your foot’s reach. For steep bouldering, I found the Iati to be just a hair on the too stiff side, but that’s only comparing it to specialized modern “rubber sock” models that let your foot bend backwards like an elf shoe and smear on overhangs.
But the Iati is not intended to be a specialized shoe that does just one thing really well. It’s a solid all-around high performer that can handle any hard climbing you throw at it. It excels at technical edging and steep face climbing and can hold its own when the terrain gets steep. It’s also extremely durable and so far has held its shape well. For sport climbing and gym climbing the Iati is one of the best shoes on the market.
The Tenaya Iati is available here at Sender Gear: