Tenaya Ra rock climbing shoe – Climbing Gear Review

CGR review the performance velcro rock climbing shoe from Tenaya.

Performance ****


Value ****

Earlier in the year we reviewed the Tenaya Masia rock climbing shoe and the conclusion then was they were a great all round climbing shoe, that were comfortable, performed well and were a great price. Not a bad combination in todays economic climate.

I was sent a pair of the Tenaya Ra climbing shoes to review over the autumn season. The Ra is a velcro performance shoe, it was developed with Ramón Julián Puigblanque “top Spanish climber and former world champion” . Tenaya have been around for a while and were known for their cheaper, bottom end products. The new range of 6 models has been redesigned to take on all the big players in both performance and materials. The Tenaya Ra is the top of the range, a high performance shoe.

Tenaya Ra - great on anything steep.

The construction is similar to the Masai in that the main shoe material is microfiber with a TXT coated cotton lining. When I saw the microfibre material, red lights started blinking and klaxtons started sounding very loudly. For years I was a major fan of 5.10 Anastasi velcros – but the stench was truly horrifying. I could never keep them in the house and could barely tolerate them in the car. The Tenaya Ra shoe doesn’t smell yet, but I haven’t been using them in warm weather so I am still unsure as to what will happen. I’ll have to keep you updated through the comments section on this one, so keep an eye out. The good news is; if you’re a vegetarian, you can climb conscious free. My normal climbing shoe size in a 7½ but I got into a 6½ and found them surprisingly comfortable. They took about a month or so to become comfortable enough to wear for periods of time.

The toe and arch profile is aggressive and the performance very good, I found the toe profile performed in all climbing situations tested from Grit bouldering through to Lakes trad with some Limestone sport thrown in for good measure. The midsole is stiff which is just how I like it for Limestone sport and I really enjoyed using them in places like Horseshoe Quarry where footwork is essential. They weren’t as comfortable on slabby Grit routes as the toe profile was too aggressive and a softer shoe is preferable.

Tenaya Ra - good for hooking

The toe area was reinforced with extra rubber, there was plenty of rubber over the toe area  and with the extra reinforcement this meant there was plenty of area for toe hooking and ‘scumming’ on marginal hooks; the rand continued around into the heel area. Talking of the heel area, I thought the arrangement was a little messy. I’ve been reviewing climbing shoes for some time now and have discovered that the heel area poses quite a technical challenge for manufacturers. The Tenaya Ra’s heel area felt a little messy, although the fit was good I felt it was an area that could be further developed as the model evolves.

So, in conclusion, a great shoe. I definitely felt a boost in foot performance when I put these on; indeed when footwork became an issue I reached for these and invariable sent the problem or route.  They have a good use of materials and are comfortable to wear.

UK RRP £90.00

Stockists www.tenaya.net

For UK enquiries: www.atdesigns.co.uk


  1. reseaching the best Vertical all around(edging, smearing, toeing, cracking and multi pitch for months, went from 5.4 to 5.7+ last summer…. need the best Vertical climbing shoe, also have wide feet…mostly at pinkie toe??? Tried on 5.10 anasazi V2(Blanco 10 1/2) way to tight in toe width and to deep in heel pocket(fit a golf ball in heel pocket), but super tight on back of ankle! I’m trying to stepup my Vertical Climbing(edging, smearing/sticking, toeing and still bear multi-pitch climbs)… been reseaching for months…look at 1 of the 4 Tenaya’s and the Mad Rock Flash??? Please help if you can, thanks….Need a great all around Vertical Shoe, that will take a wider front foot and give Solid Preformance, without extreame pain for Multi-Pitch??? Hope for some Good Advise, Thanks!

    1. The tenaya shoe is very tight fitting for high end sport climbing and bouldering. We can suggest other shoe types for big wall climbing and would advise that you look at comfort first then performance next as nothing will ruin your day as much as ill fitting shoes! The shoe should be perhaps a half size smaller than your normal shoe size as should leave room for foot expansion in the afternoon and hot weather. I personally find the Boreal shoes fit me best. HOpe that helps, Dave.

    1. Good point, I’d ask Katie but she’d probably be seriously offended 🙂
      I have used and reviewed Tenaya shoes before (see my review of the Tenaya Ra) and didn’t find them overly smelly – but then I don’t suffer from smelly feet anyway. Hope that helps, Dave.

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