The Tenaya Indalo is a high-performance all-arounder best suited for steep terrain. It has microfiber uppers; a Velcro closure with length-adjustable straps; a breathable, elasticated tongue; and 3.5 millimeters of Vibram’s versatile XS Grip rubber (split sole).
Extremely comfortable for a high-performance shoe // The “Draxtor” closure system is more adjustable than your typical strap // Chiselled toe is precise on small edges and shallow pockets alike // Lightweight and airy for stuffy gyms and hot summer days
Its narrow forefoot and toe box alienates the wide-footed among us (me)
The Tenaya Indalo is a justifiably expensive shoe that will perform admirably across various rock types and angles. As an all-arounder, the Indalo isn’t the best edging shoe we’ve ever tried, nor does it glom onto smears like some super-soft slippers. It will, however, tackle pockets, edges, slopers, and hooks with A-grade precision, and for long, varied sport pitches you’d be hard pressed to find a more capable shoe.
12 oz (340g) per shoe
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Three years ago Tenaya announced the release of two high-end climbing shoes: the Indalo and the Mastia. The Mastia hit shelves just months later and, as a true performance all-rounder, received rave reviews—so long as its wide last fit your foot. The narrower Indalo, however, has just recently made it into public hands (and onto our feet). It was worth the wait.
I tested the Indalo and newly updated Mastia side by side this fall, on steep quartzite faces, limestone slabs, compression boulders, thinly pocketed faces, and various gyms and systems boards. Out of box, both shoes felt surprisingly comfortable and suspiciously similar, both in climbing performance and overall fit. So, before getting started, I asked Tenaya to lay out their key differences:
- Toe box is stiffer and slightly narrower than Mastia
- Split sole is slightly more flexible than Mastia
- Midsole thickness is the same on both Indalo and Mastia
- Heel cup is shallower than the Mastia
- Indalo has more rubber coverage on the toe, and will excel at toe hooks and bicycling
As I’ve already moaned, the Indalo wasn’t an ideal fit for my wide, high-volume foot. Thankfully, the size 40 I tested (I’m a 42 approach shoe) wasn’t a super-tight fit and the extra overall space made the Indalo comfortable enough for long pitches and four-hour gym sessions (when you visit the incredible gyms in Montreal for just a weekend, it’s hard to control yourself). For first-time Tenaya shoppers, be warned: the stated sizing is likely two full sizes larger than the comparable Scarpa size (I’d have to wear a 39 Indalo/Mastia to achieve my size 41 Mago’s painted-on fit).
Indoor and outdoor performance
The Indalo is equally at home on steep, edge-based faces, hook-intensive caves, and slabby volume boulders. The combination of butter-soft midsole and supportive toe box create a versatile product that adequately conforms to slick slopers and powers up micro nubbins. One of my favorite features was the Indalo’s narrow, chiseled toe, which, while not the most comfortable for my foot shape, provided maximum purchase in mono pockets and thin cracks.
Large commercial gyms are perhaps the best places to learn whether a shoe really is an “all-arounder.” Where else can you find desperately thin slabs, horizontal caves, compression aretes, crimp ladders, double-dynos, and hand cracks? At Montreal’s Bloc Shop, for instance, I found all this terrain and more—and the Indalo tackled each medium with confidence.
The shoe is fantastic for onsighting difficult sport routes, too, where a variety of hold types and angles may be experienced—not to mention a softer shoe facilitates intuitive movement and is more lenient with quick, imprecise footwork. But the Indalo is a high-end jack of all trades. (That is, a master of none.) When you don’t know what type of terrain you’ll be facing, it pays to have a versatile shoe. However redpointing, by definition, brings with it a knowledge of exactly what hold types are coming. It’s here that the Indalo becomes less useful: it’s not stiff enough to be a micro-edging beast, nor soft enough to be a first-choice “grabbing” shoe.
As you’d hope from a shoe with a $210 price tag, the Indalo is packed with useful, gimmick-free features. The relatively high-volume heel cup is deep, supportive, and finished with Tenaya’s “Friction Lock technology” (similar to Sportiva’s “S Heel”), which is a subtle vertical rib that provides a smidge more purchase on technical heel hooks. The Draxtor lace system has two separate Velcro straps whose length can be individually adjusted. I often played with their respective lengths when trying boulders with crux heel hooks (tighten the back strap) or intensive edging (front strap) and found this system to take from the best of the Velcro and lace-up worlds. At a glance the Draxtor system is responsible for about the same area as, say, the Solution’s strap system, but it is far more versatile. The Indalo’s frighteningly thin tongue is also worth mentioning; I honestly thought I’d rip the tongue from the uppers when I first tried the shoe on, but it’s svelte and stretchy and, thankfully, quite robust. In my two months of testing I had no further concerns while yarding on it at the start of a session, and when the day warms up it sheds heat as fast as you can make it.
Too often I hear from would-be shoe buyers: This shoe has everything I want—if only it fit my heel/forefoot/toe box better. I certainly thought the same when I got to testing the Indalo. And that’s why Tenaya has uniquely positioned itself with the Indalo and Mastia, two near-identical shoes whose greatest differences are related to fit rather than features or intended terrain. Do you have a wide foot? Pick up the Mastia for all your high-end all-arounder needs. Narrow? The Indalo won’t leave you hanging, with even some bonus features like the Draxtor system. Regardless of which model you go with, it’ll be hard to lose.
Anthony Walsh is a digital editor at Climbing.