Published on: 08/04/2023The Tenaya Tanta is a comfortable and sturdy climbing shoe with a moderate downturn for beginner climbers venturing into higher grades.
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!
- 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
- Minimal heel padding for heel hooks
- Can get sweaty
An In-Depth Look at the Tenaya Tanta
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.
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.)
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
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Weight||6 oz/170 g|
|Sole thickness||4 mm|
|Midsole||2D PLT 10|
|Lining||TXT treated cotton|
Reference: Tenaya‘s official website
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