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Tenaya Tanta Review (2024) : Great Comfort Pick?

Tenaya Tanta review
The Tenaya Tanta is a comfortable and sturdy climbing shoe with a moderate downturn for beginner climbers venturing into higher grades.

Bottom Line

9Expert Score
A Comfortable Entry-Level Pick with a Performance Twist.
More than any other piece of gear, climbing shoes impact performance. No matter the level of climber, the right shoes can make climbing feel easier. For this reason, beginners should be wearing the best gear they can afford. This is where models like the Tenaya Tanta come in.

Most beginner shoes under $100 aren’t particularly exciting. Tenaya Tanta climbing shoes are a beginner-friendly choice with many qualities from performance models. Their fit also makes them an excellent choice for anyone looking for all-day comfort.

With a moderately downturned toe box, soft midsole, and velcro closure system, the Tenaya Tanta fits in a natural and precise way. Sure, they might lack the sensitivity of the highest-performance shoes. But for the exceptional comfort they offer, the Tenaya Tanta performs well at the gym and crag. Recommended at the price point!
Comfort
9.5
Performance
8
Durability
9.5
Value for Money
9
PROS
  • M4 technology toe boxes and heel cups balance comfort with performance
  • Padded, two-piece tongue and velcro straps for a perfect fit
  • Synthetic upper won’t stretch and get baggy
  • Good for gym climbing, outdoor climbing, and bouldering
CONS
  • Minimal heel padding for heel hooks
  • Can get sweaty

An In-Depth Look at the Tenaya Tanta

Tenaya Tanta upper

Tenaya offers 3 lines of shoes with increasing performance features at each level. The Tenaya Tanta climbing shoes are in the lowest-performance Step Up category. This line of shoes is designed for intuitive climbing, multiple terrain types, and all-day comfort.

The Tanta has a slightly asymmetrical rand and is slightly curved. This helps to transfer power to your toes. The gentle downturn is offset by a soft midsole which helps to keep the feeling neutral. This climbing shoe is neither too stiff nor too soft. They aim to allow climbers of all levels to flow in a natural and precise without pinching or crushing the feet.

Comfort

As part of Tenaya’s Step Up range, the Tanta is designed with comfort in mind. The shoes’ advertising copy mentions both comfort and performance. To achieve this, the shoes use Tenaya’s M4 technology in the toe box and heel cup. This allows for a comfortable and surprisingly roomy toe and heel while still offering a snug fit in the right spots.

The split tongue, adjustable velcro straps, soft midsole, and cotton-lined footbed all contribute to the Tanta’s glove-like fit. The downturned sole is less aggressive here than in a high-performance climbing shoe like the Tenaya Oasi or Evolv Phantom. However, it has more arch than a flat shoe like the Evolv Defy, one of its main competitors.

Overall, the Tanta is one of the most comfortable moderate rock shoes on the market. All-day wear is a possibility here, especially if you only go a half size down from your street shoes. (Tenaya recommends going a full-size down for an aggressive fit.)

beginner shoes unboxing

Materials

The Tenaya Tanta uses a synthetic microfiber upper. The benefits here are OK breathability and a material that won’t loosen out over time. The breathability factor comes with a caveat. Like most synthetic materials, the upper here gets sweaty when hot. The material wicks the moisture away quickly. But it’s still a factor to consider. The cotton-lined footbed helps you to avoid swamp foot though.

At 6 oz/170 g per shoe, the Tanta is on the lighter side for climbing shoes in general. And very light for a beginner-targeted climbing shoe. At their price point, the Tanta is a lightweight shoe.

Men’s vs. Women’s version

Tenaya’s range of shoes is unisex. The site lists the Tenaya range in male and female sizes. The Tanta are a somewhat wide-fitting shoe and they don’t come in a low-volume variant.

Foot Shape, and Sizing

Tenaya Tanta climbing shoe

The Tanta is a slightly wider-than-average moderate-volume climbing shoe and doesn’t come in different widths. Climbers with narrow feet may have to look elsewhere for their budget performance choice.

Tenaya recommend climbers go a full size down from their street size to get an aggressive fit in the Tanta model. They suggest half a size down from street size for a balanced fit. They also recommend wearing your regular street size for a comfort fit. This seems like overkill. At this size, the shoe would lack any precision and impact technique. The Tanta Lace model follows the same guidelines.

Because of its synthetic upper, the Tenaya Tanta won’t stretch much over time. You may need a few sessions to adjust to the softness of the Tanta. This is particularly true if your previous climbing footwear was on the stiffer side.

The triple layer bellows tongue of the Tanta allows for a wide opening. This makes them quick and easy to put on and take off.

Performance

The Tenaya Tanta is an all-around climbing shoe. The company’s website lists them as suitable for vertical to slightly overhanging routes. They hold up in most situations with a few minor caveats. The rubber can feel slightly slick out of the box, however. After a few sessions, the tackiness increases.

Edging

Edging might be the Tenaya Tanta climbing shoe’s weakest point. But that’s not to say they perform terribly in this category. The medium stiff midsole and TST multi-layer stretch tex insole provide a decent platform for edging maneuvers. But the 4mm rubber lacks the sensitivity of higher performance options.

Smearing

Smearing in the Tanta feels good once the rubber’s initial slickness has gone. Because the entire shoe is flexible and the sole grippy, you can twist down hard and generate a lot of force when smearing.

tenaya sport climbing shoes on a multi-pitch route

Hooking

The hooking performance in the Tanta is a mixed bag. There’s plenty of rubber in the toe box for toe hooks. But the back of the heel is lightly protected. You could certainly engage the back of the shoe somewhat. But you won’t be hanging from your heels in the Tenaya Tanta.

Jamming

Jamming performance is above average here for this kind of option. The 4mm M4 rubber toe box feels protective despite its flexibility. It’s not the lowest profile toe out there. Tiny cracks might present a problem. But overall, decent jamming. Also, you can get the Tenaya Tanta lace to avoid having the velcro opening in cracks.

Climbing Scenarios

Tenaya Tanta rubber outsole

The Tenaya Tanta is intended as an all-rounder. They’re comfortable enough for multi-pitch all-day wear. They’re also an adaptable option that makes for great, inexpensive gym climbing shoes.

Best use

As an all-rounder, the Tanta are at home almost anywhere. The brand’s proprietary rubber is designed for indoor and outdoor surfaces and all kinds of rock. Longer routes while sport climbing or trad climbing won’t be a problem here. Many climbers report wearing them for 2-3 hour sessions at a time.

As a climbing shoe designed for vertical to slightly overhanging routes, the Tanta is not intended for hardcore bouldering problems or routes. They’re designed to encourage movement and footwork in average conditions.

Other uses

Climbing guides are always on the lookout for something they can wear all day while tackling routes that are easy for their level. The Tenaya Tanta makes a good candidate for this type of climber. With their softness and flex properties, a pair of these a half size down from your street shoe could make a great option.

tanta's synthetic 100% vegan upper

Durability, Resoling, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare

The Tanta is a sturdy shoe. Many climbers buy them to beat up at the gym because of their reasonable price point and durability. They can also be resoled, extending their lifespan.

The Tanta is vegan, and Tenaya’s website mentions recycled materials, but it doesn’t tell us exactly what proportion of the shoe is recycled.

The Spanish brand manufactures all its shoes in Spain, which limits their carbon-footprint compared to models made in Asia.

Conclusion

The Tenaya Tanta makes sense for beginner climbers or veterans looking for an inexpensive climbing shoe to beat up at the gym. Footsore guides (or anyone who values comfort) will also find a place for these shoes in their collection.

The perfect climbing shoes don’t exist (and no shoe can magically improve your climbing skills), but the Tenaya Tanta finds a sweet spot between performance and comfort. If you have your aggressive performance shoes dialed in and are looking for a different pair, check these out.

Facts

Technical Specs

Weight6 oz/170 g
FitComfort
DownturnModerate
ShapeMedium asymmetry
VolumeMedium, High
StiffnessBalanced
Sole thickness4 mm
ClosureVelcro
ResoleableYes
VeganYes

Use

ActivitiesIndoor, Outdoor
Experience levelBeginner

Technologies

Outsole4mm rubber­
Midsole2D PLT 10
UpperMicrofibre
LastArched
LiningTXT treated cotton

Where to Buy It?

We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is great, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.

Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/climbers going!

2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the detailed review. I love my Tanta’s and I am a beginner. Once I am at intermediate level, which Tenaya shoes would you recommend I look into and upgrade to?

    1. Hey Robson, if you want to stay with Tenaya, the Tarifa is terrific. The toe is supportive and precise, and there’s a slight downturn, but not too much that it gets uncomfortable. My wife and I both have a pair, and we use them for pretty much anything. -Kevin

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