(Last edited Feb 5th, 2021)
When I first heard of Tenaya climbing shoes, they seemed to be a rather small company. Not that I honestly know how small or large their company really is, but it was the first impression that I got. When trying to ask around about Tenaya shoes, none of my climbing buddies knew anything.
What first caught my eye, was an ad in Climbing magazine. There was a cool picture of Wizz-Kid Alexander Megos doing the world’s first 9a onsight wearing The Tenaya Oasi. I saw the ad and thought ”Damn, what shoes are those?!” Good add. Did the job for me anyways. And the shoe looks pretty aggressive too. Just the way I like them.
After some research on the topic, I was quite impressed. Not merely about Mr. Megos wearing them on the world’s first 9a onsight, but about the raving internet reviews about how comfortable the Oasi is. Aggressive AND comfortable. Got to find out for myself.
After pulling into the Tenaya Oasi for the first time, I was amazed. The shoe REALLY is comfortable. And not only for an aggressive shoe. It was comfortable compared to almost any climbing shoe. Sure, the climbing shoes you have worn for a year straight, that are nice and soft and slightly on the larger side of things, are more likely to be even comfier. But these feel pretty comfortable straight out of the box.
Normally when pulling on an aggressive climbing shoe for the first time it’s like trying to squeeze into your prom suite from fifteen years ago. It kinda fits, but if you move it’ll rip.
Have you ever seen someone walk around the gym doing a funny ”chicken walk” with an expression of discomfort on their faces? Yep. I have too. Too tight and/or uncomfortable shoes. Not at all the deal with the Tenaya Oasi.
I would categorize the Tenaya Oasi as an aggressive lasted shoe. Besides being remarkably comfortable for an aggressive shoe, it is still very precise. The toes are shoved to the front of the shoe for employing the power to small footholds. But not in a bad way.
The Oasi is a narrow shoe. Much narrower than the typical La Sportiva or Scarpa that I have used lately. It is not a problem because of the softness of the shoe. If you have really wide feet, the Oasi might not be for you. But narrow to medium wide is ok.
The midsole is almost non-existent, so we are talking about a sensitive shoe here. The foot is doing most of the work and not the shoe. This also means that the sensitivity is top-notch. You have a really nice sense of what is happening under your foot. Soft shoes tend to work better on slabs and such, but the Oasi excels in everything you throw at them. I climbed with these inside and outside, boulders and sport, overhangs to slabs, and the shoe performed nicely every time.
The sole uses Vibram Xs Grip at a thickness of 3,5mm. Nothing bad to say about this either. Sticky and sturdy. Nice edging power that one can rely on.
I read a few reviews online before ordering and some of the writers were criticizing the velcro fastening system.
There are two separate velcros that fasten on the same side of the shoe. One tightens the top part of the shoe and the other the lower part towards the toes. I had no problems dialing a perfect fit for my foot. The tightening system is slightly different on the Oasi than on any other shoe I have worn. I got used to it really fast and it works nicely. No problems here.
The Tenaya Oasi is made of microfiber with a cotton lining. The tongue of the shoe is made of two perforated layers of lycra, whatever that means. But I do know this: there is some kind of ”sock” inside the Oasi that grabs the foot nicely. With this sock, the shoe fits perfectly to a wide range of feet. Some say that the lycra helps the foot breathe and helps feet stay drier, but I haven’t noticed anything different. My foot sweats in every climbing shoe, regardless of the material they are made out of.
The Oasi is essentially a slipper, which most soft shoes tend to be. The two velcro straps help the shoe stay on perfectly in even the gnarliest of heel hooks. Talking of hooking, the back of the shoe comes up pretty high up towards the Achilles tendon. Some may have a problem with this but I only find this to be a positive thing. For my foot, it helps the shoe stay on better and makes it a bit more comfortable.
One of the two things I don’t like about the Oasi is the construction of the heel. Don’t get me wrong, I really like how the heel fits and feels. I just don’t like the strip of rubber at the back that forms a ”spine” at the back. I prefer heels that are a ”one-piece” construction. Sometimes when I’m hooking directly on the ”seam” or ”spine” of the heel, the heel might pop off unexpectedly. This is mostly a matter of preference, though. And maybe heel hooking technique. But it’s easier to blame the shoe than my skills as a climber 😉
The size runs kind of small. I wear the Oasi in size EU 38/ US 6/ UK 5.
For comparison, here are some climbing shoes and sizes I have previously tested: Scarpa Booster, Booster S, Instinct, and Instinct VS in EU 39 / US 6,5/ UK 5,5, Five Ten Hiangle 2020 model in a size UK 7/ US 7,5 (EU 40 2/3), Five Ten Aleon in size EU 40/ US 7/ UK 6,5, Tenaya Mastia in size EU 38/ US 6/ UK 5 and La Sportiva Solution in EU 38,5/ US 6,5/ UK 5,5.
On a tightness scale of 1-5, with 5 being excruciatingly tight and 1 an all-day comfortable shoe, I tend to size my shoes at about 3,5; appropriately tight but not painful. My street shoe size is about EU 41/ US 8/ UK 7.
After using the Oasi for over two months I’m really impressed. It is aggressive but comfortable, precise, and edges really nice. It works great on anything you throw at it. Tenaya did a nice job with the Oasi. They designed and tweaked it for over two years and I do have to say it was worth it. This is a high-end shoe with a moderate price tag.
Even if the Oasis performance wasn’t as good as it really is, I’d still recommend it because of the comfy fit.
When trying on the Oasi for the first time, pick a size that is good for you straight out of the box. After two months of use, the stretch of the shoe has been minimal.
The second thing that I dislike, is the stink that sets in. I climb without socks and that’s probably half of the reason my pair stinks. But still, some climbing shoes that I have had (and that is more or less 10 different models and different brands) stink less than the Oasi. Not that it is overwhelming and unbearable, but it’s still there. Just giving you a heads up here.
Try it out and let me know how you feel.
– Material: Microfibre
– Fastener: Velcro, Draxtor PAT system
– Tounge: Lycra with two perforated layers
– Lining: Cotton with TXT treatment
– Midsole: Double midsole GI 1.8 y TST 150
– Insole: TST multi-layer stretch tex
– Outsole: Vibram XS Grip 3.5mm