Is there any more iconic hiking sandal than the classic Teva Original Universal sandals?
The Teva Original Universal sandals – puff style to mimic down jackets and sleeping bags.
I have lusted after a pair of these for years. And not just because I see them in every cool hiking instagram photo I see… it’s because they look so simple yet so comfortable, and that is basically I everything want in a sandal. Teva actually make all kinds of variants of their classic sandal, some offering more support than others, but I wanted a pair that offered the ageless silhouette that has become the standard. I chose the quilted version, in plain black, with the standard EVA foam footbed and very simple lines.
Apologies… this blogger forgot to take photos of these straight from the box, so my snaps are of my well worn pair instead!
Since they arrived I have worn these a lot; into town, around the shops, to the park, out for picnics, all over. The mostly plain black (with a hint of purple), simple looking sandal goes with pretty much anything (well, anything that I own for day wear). But despite that complete desire to own a pair, I was too afraid to wear them hiking. I guess I was worried that I’d been duped by the hundreds of photos of them on instagram; maybe they are just a fashion statement, and boy am I not the right blogger to be sent a pair of shoes that are supposed to be a fashion statement (proof of this is below…)!
You can see where the sole has indented to the shape of my foot.
In the recent and prolonged hot weather we’ve had here in the UK recently, the Teva Original Universal sandals have become an absolute staple for me. Over a few days of wear the soles shaped to my feet and they have become the most comfortable pair of sandals – or shoes, in fact – that I own. No exaggeration. It’s a total cliché, but thanks to the velcro strap adjustment across the toes and across the front of the ankle, which provides the “universal” bit of the name, these genuinely fit like a glove – a very airy and comfortable glove.
Stood atop Leckhampton Hill. Yes, catching my breath!
After many (many) full days wearing these for wandering around town and going about normal stuff, I overcame my fear of actually hiking in these. It was one particularly hot Sunday afternoon and we went for a jaunt up Leckhampton Hill, and it was at the end of that hike I knew I was ready to feature them here on Splodz Blogz and let you know what I thought. I have always said that anything and everything that I review on my blog I do so from personal experience and in my own words, which sometimes means that products I am very kindly sent take a few weeks or even months to appear. But it also means that when I say I like something, comment on niggles or annoyances, and especially when I recommend it, I am being honest and open and hopefully useful.
I digress. The hike was not particularly long but it did involve a very steep section, rooty woodland paths, some rocky steps, some undulating dusty tracks, a country lane, and running away from a very unhappy cow (my first experience of this… I get it now!). More hike than walk, for sure. Anyway, that hike confirmed to me two things. 1) You get very dirty feet when hiking in very open sandals on dusty woodland tracks. And 2), the Teva Original Universal are indeed pretty good for hiking. It is worth noting that you don’t get any ankle support from these, of course, and the sole is pretty well as flat as a pancake with no vibram style lugs or the like, but you get total freedom of movement with a decent sole that protects your foot, and your feet stay cool. I wouldn’t go anywhere near scree or even a scramble in these – I would cut my feet to shreds because I’m very good at not being careful – but for low level or light hiking, especially in town or on countryside trails, these are really rather good. Phew!
Very dirty feet. Apologies!
The next test was a day out with The Urban Wanderer. Have you guys seen how many miles she walks when she heads out exploring?! She puts me to shame with her morning and evening miles. We walked 13+ miles around Shrewsbury – which, considering the town is probably only a couple of miles across is quite some significant distance – and as it was (yet) another very hot and humid day I chose to wear my Tevas instead of any other shoe. My main concern was whether I would end the day with very sore feet and burning soles at the end of the day, through a combination of the constant friction of my hot bare feet on the footbed, and from the sheer number of steps that I walked. But as you may have guessed, I needn’t have worried. I certainly had very very dirty feet, but that’s just an excuse for a good wash!
A bit of grip but not a lot.
I have to say at this point that while I am totally and completely in love with my Teva Original Universal sandals, I do have one teeny niggle with them. It’s a small frustration, nothing major, but it does mean that I won’t wear them to work, or probably any kind of art gallery or museum. They squeak. All the time. I think the noise is coming from where the straps meet the sole as it moves just slightly, but there is a squeak every single time I take a step. I can’t walk through a quiet open plan office or a very serious and silent art gallery with these on – I’d annoy everyone including myself! I wonder if all Teva classic sandals are like this or if it’s just mine. Do you own some? Tell me!
Squeak creak squeak…
Squeak aside, and no squeak is going to stop me wearing these for their intended outdoors adventure, these are an absolute classic and for very good reason. The Teva Original Universal sandals have simple yet functional design, technology that provides comfort and stability without bulk, and make my feet (and therefore me) smile. Long may the sandal-wearing-summer-weather continue!
What colour should I get next?! I’m thinking orange…
You can find the full Teva Original Universal range over on the Teva website.
With huge thanks to Teva for sending me a pair of their Original Universal (mine have the “puff” straps, or there are these similar ones too) to wear. Already a fan of your work Teva (see my review of their cycling trainers), now even more so.