UKC

Tenaya Mastia Review

Tenaya are famous for a range of things, not least their illustrious team of sponsored climbers: Alex Megos, Chris Sharma, Jimmy Webb and Alize Duraisse; however, which living legends wear the shoes is of little relevance to people like me who just want to know how it fits and what it's capable of.

Functionality

The Mastia is a performance all-rounder, suitable for sport climbing and bouldering, both indoors and out. Fresh from the box it's got quite a stiff and supportive forefoot, with ample edging ability. In the short term this is to the detriment of its sensitivity on more smooth, friction based rock types, but things soon soften up with a bit of use to give a good balance. When it comes to trad it's probably not the first shoe I'd reach for, but that isn't to say it's entirely unsuitable - it's more just a case of personal taste and what you want to use it for (i.e. specific routes and projects).

So where do we see this being used? The answer: quite a lot of places. Brand new they'd work at crags such as Malham, Lower Pen Trwyn or Portland; however, once they soften up you might find you want something a little more supportive, unless you've got particularly strong feet. On steeper ground this would be less of a problem and when we can travel again post COVID they'd be perfect for Spanish caves and Greek grottoes. For bouldering they'd work well across the board, blending that balance between a respectable edge and a good level of sensitivity. Once worn in they work particularly on rock types which require a little more sensitivity - gritstone, sandstone and granite.

The Tenaya Mastia in use on John Allen's micro-classic 'Fidget' (6C) at Curbar   © Rob Greenwood - UKC
The Tenaya Mastia in use on John Allen's micro-classic 'Fidget' (6C) at Curbar
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

Fit

When it comes to fit, the Tenaya range is predominantly narrow, which - for people who have wider feet (like me) - isn't so good. The Mastia provides something a little different, with a wider last that has fit me perfectly (whereas other models in the range such as the Oasi and Iati don't). When it comes to sizing it's worth mentioning that you have to go down a LOT of sizes to get the right fit. To put this into context I'm an 8.5 in my normal shoe size and a minuscule 6 in the Mastia; however, this is for a comfortable - not excruciating - fit. Being synthetic they don't stretch a lot, so don't buy them too tight as they're just going to be unpleasant. It's also worth mentioning that they're vegan. As always we recommend trying before buying to ensure that they fit, so get down to your local shop (when that's permitted) to try a pair on and see for yourself.

The Mastia itself fits like a slipper, but with the added benefit of a single strap to help provide an additional boost to fit for when it's most needed. The combination of the two gives a simple and secure fit, but is also quick to get on and off, which is ideal in between goes on circuits and projects alike.

Forefoot

The Mastia features a 3.5mm Vibram XS Grip sole, which is the softer of the various Vibram compounds, and is the one particularly favoured by boulderers. The thickness is spot on too, as any thicker or thinner and they'd lose what is arguably the shoe's greatest asset, which is that it can do a bit of everything.

Uppers

On the top side there's ample rubber to benefit from even the most marginal of scums or the most maximal of toe-hooks. On some shoes we've reviewed this can lead to a longer time to wear in, as the addition of rubber along the top of the shoe can make them a little harsher to break in across the knuckle, but I've found that's not the case with the Mastia.

Dartmoor granite is a rough rock type that benefits both from an ability to edge on the feldspar and smear on the faces  © UKC Gear
Dartmoor granite is a rough rock type that benefits both from an ability to edge on the feldspar and smear on the faces
© UKC Gear

Heel

At the back end the Mastia features a thermo-moulded heel cup. The construction helps it to retain shape and stops it from shifting too much on more tenuous heel hooks; however, it is at the broader end of the spectrum. For me this hasn't been a problem, but for those with particularly narrow heels you might find it leads to dead space or slippage, which will be detrimental to its performance. As always, try before you buy just to make sure.

The Mastia is just as well suited to climbed indoors as it is outdoors  © UKC Gear
The Mastia is just as well suited to climbed indoors as it is outdoors
© UKC Gear

Whilst the Mastia isn't designed with trad this isn't to say that it's entirely unsuitable for certain things  © Rob Greenwood - UKC
Whilst the Mastia isn't designed with trad this isn't to say that it's entirely unsuitable for certain things
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

Summary

The Mastia is a good all-rounder with a varied focus, ranging from overhanging sport to bouldering on rock types which require that little bit of extra sensitivity. Out of the box the forefoot feels quite stiff, but given a bit of use the shoes soon soften up and enter their prime, which is perfect for smearing, albeit with a bit of support left over for edging. Their synthetic uppers mean that whilst they give a little, they don't give much, so don't buy them too small, and be aware that they are at the wider end of the spectrum. Whilst their price tag is undoubtedly premium, and the build quality is good, they perhaps lack that same level of finesse as the Italian boot brands. Overall though they're shoes that we like and will continue to keep wearing after this review has been written.

Tenaya say:

When we conceived the new Mastia we wanted not only to create an aggressively curved shoe that delivered maximum power for standing on tiny holds, but also one which provided unrivalled responsiveness in all situations. More powerful, more responsive, this is the essence of the Mastia and one which required us to focus on every aspect of the process, designing and redesigning each element until we achieved the perfect balance.

  • Sizes: 2-12 UK with half sizes
  • Uppers: Microfibre
  • Closure System: Velcro
  • Tongue: Highly breathable
  • Lining: Without lining
  • Insole: 2D multi-layer Stretchtex
  • Midsole: Double midsole GI 1.8 y TST 150
  • Sole: Vibram XS Grip 3.5 mm
  • Weight: 330g

For more info see tenaya.net



For more information visit Tenaya

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15 Jan

As a long term Iati wearer I tried the Mastias and really like them. I'd concur in that you need to size them down a fair bit. For me I've tried a half and a full size down from my Iati, and they're still 'comfy'. I find aggressive shoes (like solutions, ninjas, instincts etc) excruciating and prefer comfort over absolute performance, but have found these Mastias to split the difference of being a very high-performing shoe, without the pain. I think the heel is great on them. They made all the difference on something like this boulder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JoQVjdV6D0

p.s. nice review vid - love The Trench.

15 Jan

Anybody else misread the name as Tenaya Mastitis?

Hi Chris, good to hear we're on the same page.

You were looking super smooth on Electrical Storm too. I remember finding those first few moves the living end! The most memorable 'game-changer heel' move I've ever done was on Lay-By Arete at Slipstones, where it went from feeling absolutely impossible to unbelievably easy within the space of a single pair of shoes.

As for The Trench, I could have spent the whole video raving about how good it is :-)

15 Jan

Yes, it's a great, quiet little spot with perplexing, slopey delights: "how is this 6B?!?"....until you unlock it.

Thanks. In my comment on the video I wrote: 'swapped to my new Mastias and the heel is so good it felt like cheating' :)

I'll check out that Slipstones problem.

15 Jan

When I did some of the problem in the Trench, I was thinking how is this 4+?!? :) I think I managed to just about wobble my way up one of the 5s, but that was it!

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