Super comfortable sports sandals from the company that invented the concept – great for relaxing but also capable of a lot more.
I’ve been a Teva wearer and fan for over 23 years now. I still fondly remember the first pair which resembled a flip flop (toe post and all) with an ankle strap arrangement. I must have worn them daily during the summer (and Easter bolt clipping in France) in the late 80s early 90s. Sadly the sole eventually cracked walking up on Kinder (probably a bit beyond their design remit) and they had to be replaced after serving me well for over three years. Their replacements were what is now termed ‘The Original’ (the old flip flop toe post version seems to have disappeared looking on the website). These had a ankle strap linked to an open toe strap and though still fabulously tough and comfy the little triangular buckle that enabled the fore and aft strap linkage could dig in if I really flexed the forefoot. I’ve had three pairs of ‘Original’ pattern Tevas over the intervening 20years and they have been on every easter/summer European trip whether climbing or otherwise.
As my last pair were looking pretty tired it was serendipitous that the new Terra Float Universal should turn up for review. Out of the box a number of changes were apparent compared to my old Universals. The Terra Floats have lost the stability strap linking front and rear and in the process the at times aggravating triangular buckle. Weight wise they are nearly 130grams a pair lighter and the straps are now lined with a cushioned material faced with leather where it contacts your skin. The ‘Float-Lite’ sole unit seems lighter and more cushioned too and although the tread is fairly minimal they remained grippy in dry lose conditions in France but would be outfaced by wet grass/mud.
In use the Terra Floats proved luxurious, rugged and reliable. They have kept all the benefits of the Universals but lost some weight and improved the comfort. The lack of stability strap buckle means there is nothing to dig in on the forefoot when the sandal is extremely flexed (such as walking up very steep slopes) and the leather strap lining improves hot weather comfort. The leather comfort lining does increase drying time after stream crossings or paddling but its pretty marginal. The only other thing I’ve noticed is the length of the fore foot strap – now I’m in the E- EE range of foot width and I can comfortably leave the strap fully fastened. For narrow footed folk you may end up having to trim the strap end somewhat.
I’ve been wearing them for walks in the hills of Provençe (personally I’m happy to walk up to 20km or so if it’s going to be dry), around Fontainebleau and general sightseeing and chilling out in camp. After cramming your toes into rock shoes the relief of a sandal is a joy – added to which your feet will stay fresher too rather than sweating away in trainers. If you’re the type of climber whose rock shoes need to be hermetically sealed away in the car (Johnny, Matt?) for the sake of other passengers then the Terra Floats could be a wise investment. You may be surprised at just how much you can do in them – look at the Romans 😉
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!