TevaSphere by Teva is said to be the most stable running shoe available. You’ll notice straight away in the photos the two features that lead to this – the support pods (I like to call them “wings”!) on either side of the shoe, and the rounded off heel – they are one of the strangest looking pair of trainers I’ve reviewed so far!
Much research has gone into this design – four years’ worth, in fact. Teva say that this all-terrain running shoe is built for moving quickly, and for moving quickly wherever you want to be.
The TevaSphere sole begins with a spherical heel. This means your foot moves smoothly from touching down to taking off again, with minimum impact and braking. It also means that whatever the surface beneath you, you can place your foot with confidence: because it’s shaped like your own heel, with each pace you have a real feel for the trail.
To make sure this natural freedom of movement doesn’t allow your foot to twist around too much on uneven ground, support pods [those “wings”] are built into the side of the shoe, so support is provided but only where you need it. Rather than restricting movement, it allows you the confidence to enjoy it!
The first two or three times I wore these I found them quite unusual to move in. The combination of the rounded heel and winged support felt strange under my feet, like I was walking with my toes up in the air and landing completely flat on the ground every step. It wasn’t an unpleasant feeling, and I didn’t ache anywhere as a result, but it was not normal and it made me very aware of my feet.
A few weeks into wearing them quite regularly for walking, cycling and jogging, I’m used to the shape of the sole and actually find them very comfortable. They have a narrow fit (actually very narrow, I wonder if anyone with wide feet would find these too small), and seem to support my foot well when laced up properly. The mesh upper keeps my feet cool (which has been no mean feat the last month!), and the quick drying material meant I didn’t suffer when the heavens opened. Actually it makes complete sense that the heel is rounded – that is the natural shape of my food, after all.
My one niggle on the fit is that the sides of the tongue very easily fold under and I have to adjust them while wearing them. I’m not sure why they do that – it’s not a massive problem but if I don’t sort it out when it starts it gets annoying.
If you prefer running on the road rather than the trail these aren’t for you. The support pods (wings!) force you to land fairly flat which is absolutely brilliant for rocky, muddy or other uneven ground where traction and stability are important. But after a few heavy strides on tarmac my ankles didn’t like my choice of footwear at all – and while I know I am incredibly heavy footed, it wasn’t all bad technique! They are fine for walking on compacted ground of course, as that has much less impact, but if you’re running keep these on uneven ground. They absolutely come into their own when on really uneven ground, especially where you can’t tell the angle of what you’re about to land on – which in turn helps you keep your speed up for a faster run.
I do like these, they look great, are breathable and quick drying, comfortable and just a little bit different. But they do seem to have a very specific purpose which limits their use as a general trainer.
For more information about the TevaSphere visit the Teva website.