Tenaya Tarifa Shoe Review


The Tarifa is a high performance shoe that excels on technical terrain, while offering the usual comfort we’ve come to expect from Tenaya.

Like all Tenaya shoes, they were fairly comfortable out of the box, though at first the fit felt funky, like my toes were being squashed together in the narrow toebox, but not in a way that was providing any power, just discomfort. I didn’t love how they climbed at first, as the point of the shoe is more centered between the big toe and one next to it, rather than directly under the big toe as you’ll find in many shoes. (These would probably be a good choice for folks with Morton’s toe.)  This took some getting used to, as the sweet spot is noticeably different than with other models. Over the course of several sessions, however, they broke in nicely and really excelled on a week-long trip to the pocketed dolomite of Lander, Wyoming.

I would put these shoes in the same league as the Scarpa Boostic and Miura VS, in that they are on the stiffer side of performance shoes. I found they were best on vertical to just past vert climbs with small footholds. The toe is very precise, once I got used to it, with enough sensitivity to know I was standing on the best part of the hold, but supportive enough my feet didn’t tire quickly standing on small nubbins.

On the above-mentioned trip to Lander, I was surprised by how technical the footwork is there. When I wasn’t standing on a pocket, usually it was little bumps and divots in the dolomite. The Tarifa’s were more than up to the task, confidently allowing my passage up the walls of pocketed stone.


The Tarifas at home in their natural environment on the pocketed dolomite of Wild Iris.

The XSGrip rubber is a favorite of mine, though it definitely wears out quickly. The price to pay for stickiness, I suppose, and you can always resole them with something firmer when they become your second tier shoes.

If technical face climbing is your thing, these shoes are absolutely worth checking out.

Fit: They run pretty big, so you’ll want to downsize, even if that’s not something you usually do. I wear a 12 street shoe and got these in a 10, which is very comfortable.

Retail: $165
Sole: 3.5mm Vibram XS Grip
Upper: Microfiber
Ideal use: Technical face climbing
Sizes: 2-14

More info and tcch specs available on the Trango website.

Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!

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