Teva Winsted Solid
There are those who go for an afternoon-hike in the local forest in cat.C mountain boots. There are those who go trailrunning in a rough desert full of prickly shrubs and sharp rocks… on Tevas. (and of course there are those who walk the Cretan E4 barefoot, but those are heroes and mythical figures.)
I live in that second category. I used to walk, run and hike everything on trailrunners and I still think they are great, or even the best, shoes for anything off-road, including hikes in the mountains. But my feet always felt locked up. Unfree. I couldn’t wiggle my toes as I could barefoot, and things like crossing a stream were always a hassle. Shoes out, socks out, socks on, shoes on, etc.. I then tried my girlfriends sandals and they were great! Freedom at last! I wanted a pair but I was unsure how well they would hold up against the rough South-Cretan desert. It couldn’t possibly be worse than my Salomon SpeedCross, so I gave a pair of Teva ‘off-road’ sandals a try.
So far I walked uncountable kilometers on them. I walked shorelines with sharp rocks, mountains, desert, snow, used them on the bicycle, for running and as my daily shoe. Only for work I wore boots; they wouldn’t let me work on my sandals, which was understandable: I work for a movers-company :).
Everything I’ve thrown at them they handled with ease, with one exception: when they get wet they become extremely slippery on the inside, causing me to slip out of the sandal. Of course they often get wet when doing things like trailrunning in the rain or rockhopping on the shore, two areas where a sudden unexpected going-barefoot can easily result in injury, but as I don’t bring multiple pairs of shoes on a long distance bicycle tour I don’t get the choice of wearing something else in these scenarios. But then again, shoes are supposed to handle a bit of wet, especially when they are advertised as ‘off-road, rugged or all-terrain’. So I wondered if it was just my pair (as they were the cheapest Tevas available), but Elsbeth confirmed this to be the case with both pairs she has, which are ‘advanced’ models.
Now doing everything on sandals you might ask: “Don’t your feet get cold?” The answer to that is ‘yes, they do’. But it’s something you get used to. Of course when it’s really cold, like when I was back in the Netherlands during winter, I just wore nice thick woolen socks in them. A nice conversation-starter too!
Recently they started breaking down. When working in the fields during the olive harvest, a piece of barbed wire pierced through the sole. This happened on both shoes during the work. These holes degraded into small rips, which allowed sand to enter between the outer and inner sole, which in turn started grinding the straps away on the inside. You could argue that I was wearing the wrong shoes for the job, but I’m not cycling to the other side of the continent with a pair of work boots for just-in-case. :) The upside from them being sandals is that it’s easy to do some repairs (which I should’ve done right after damaging the soles), with just some webbing, thread and glue.
- Sole gives adequate grip on rough surfaces.
- No need to take off shoes when crossing steams or ging for a swim in sea-urchin-infested waters.
- Affordable, yet still feels expensive for what is generally a sole and some webbing.
- Easy to repair.
- The inside of the sandal gets extremly slippery when wet, causing unexpected slips, making them untrustable in the rain or any wet or damp environment.
These Teva sandals have opened my eyes when it comes to how much support we really need for our feet, or better said, how little we need. Walking in something that gets quite close to walking barefoot made my feet stronger and improved my balance. The step towards barefoot-running and hiking now actually feels possible.
So many great things can be said about these sandals, but them getting unusable and even dangerous when wet prevents me from recommending them to anyone.