Tenaya Mundaka ReviewMay 11, 2018
- Excellent closure system
- Great edging ability
- Surprising sensitivity for stiffness
- High comfort
- Downturn greatly diminished with use
- Difficult to use in cracks
- Less traction than others on smooth surfaces
- High price
The Tenaya Mundaka’s edging ability is excellent for a shoe that has high sensitivity and features directed at steeper routes and problems. The midsole under the toe box is stiff, but soft elsewhere, making for good edging and sensitivity for overhangs possible in a single shoe. The highly asymmetrical shape also adds to edging ability on the steeps, as does the snug fit compared to others in this testing category. The best-in-class Draxtor PAT closure system also lends confidence when relying on tiny edges, the shoe quickly and strongly tensioned to the foot for maximum security. The Mundaka was the second-best edging shoe in aggressive category.
The Mundaka’s stiff forefoot midsole and cotton lining might signal a lack of sensitivity, but Tenaya somehow managed to maintain a high level of feel. The Vibram XS Grip outer sole is on the thinner side at 3.5 mm and the split midsole design allows flexibility and conformity behind the forefoot; these may be adding to the sensitivity that seems to defy traditional edging vs. sensitivity logic. The shoe provided ample feedback to all features other than those found in pure smearing via the bulk of the forefoot. The sensation was lacking there, and the Vibram XS Grip didn’t give the traction of the other rubber compounds on smooth limestone or low texture plastic, degrading confidence on such moves.
The Mundaka provided some of the best sensitivity while toe and heel hooking; the toe box covered by a thin rubber patch, and the heel relying on the rand, outer sole, and thin rubber cap. Only small areas of the microfiber upper show at either end of the shoe. The rubber and the tiny regions of exposed microfiber upper provided decent traction on all surfaces outside of smooth limestone, where they seemed to have less bite than other shoes.
The Mundaka was one of the better pocket shoes of the test category. The pointy shape and highly asymmetrical last made for low-effort pocket stuffing. The high flexibility behind the toe box allowed pulling on pockets when the climbing got steep while the high edging power under the toes made powering off of small, shallow pockets productive. The only ding in the pocket climbing criteria was the Vibram XS Grip outsole, which seemed to struggle more than others with smooth limestone and plastic. Otherwise, the Mundaka shined when routes and boulder problems featured plenty of pockets.
The Mundaka’s high asymmetry and aggressive downturn restrict the shoe from being a top choice for cracks. The Mundaka has the correct overall stiffness for attacking cracks, but the last of the shoe prevents comfortable jamming. Using the shoe on sport routes that occasionally have crack features is the limit of the Mundaka’s crack climbing competence.
The Tenaya Mundaka has a slim and slender fit so it is an excellent choice for those with narrower feet. The Draxtor PAT’s adjustability and holding power were second to none in this test category. The shoe has low heel rand tension, but the high arch combined with the closure system kept toes planted and powerful without feeling forced into the front of the shoe. The high asymmetry of the last, although visible, didn’t seem to detract from comfort. The amount of downturn in the shoe was high at the beginning of the test, but the shoe lost much of this as the test days accumulated. The cotton lining and microfiber upper limited stretch after the initial break-in, and afterward, the fit of the shoe was one of the most consistent in the test. The padded, stretchy tongue slid easily over the foot, making entry super comfortable, and it protected well against strap pressure from the closure system. I had no problem wearing the shoe for back to back boulder sessions in the gym, and appreciated the comfort on longer sport routes and lengthy hang dogging sessions. Downsizing is mandatory for this shoe; I wear a 10, street shoe, and an 8.5 was the correct size in the Mundaka.Continue Reading
Seiji Ishii's interests span a wide range of outdoor pursuits and his professional involvement has ranged from guiding, coaching, training and designing gear for these activities.