Teva. If you are like me, the name invokes fond memories of those Velcro strappy sandals, and even fonder memories of informing your dad that it was totally uncool to wear crew socks with his shorts and Teva sandals. I loved my Teva sandals back in the late 90’s, but unfortunately, I haven’t thought about them, or the brand, in quite some time.
(And FYI, it is pronounced “Teh-vah”, not “tee-vah”. I asked!)
About a month ago, however, I was contacted by Teva, asking if I would be interested in reviewing their new outdoor cross-training shoe, the TevaSphere. I love when a company who truly has their roots in the outdoors (no pun intended) takes their adventures in a new direction. I was not only happy to review the shoe, but even HAPPIER when the introduction letter that came in the review package mentioned that the inspiration behind this shoe came with the increase in participation in non-traditional outdoor sports, such as adventure racing, obstacle courses, and mud runs.
You had me at adventure, Teva, and sealed the deal with mud runs.
A little background info: The TevaSphere, designed for non-traditional outdoor sports, was created to be a compromise between barefoot/minimalist footwear, which according to Teva is unsupportive, and built-up athletic shoes that are stiff and unnatural. TevaSphere technology provides a solution by offering users the benefits of natural movement, without sacrificing stability.
I was sent the TevaSphere Trail eVent®model to review.
These are big claims, and I won’t lie, I was skeptical of this funny looking shoe. So I took them to the trails.
Specs for the women’s Trail eVent:
FIT: The most immediate concern I had was that the upper of the TevaSphere was stiff, and caused a significant amount of discomfort around my ankles. This would have absolutely turned me away from purchasing them in-store; however what is most important in buying running sneakers is not immediate comfort, but actual performance. I was very pleased that on my second run in the TevaSphere’s, the upper had become significantly more flexible and completely comfortable. I have not had an issue with any discomfort since. The TevaSphere fits very snugly, and has a much smaller toe box than I am used to running in more minimal sneakers.
RUN: I truly believed the spherical heel and pod-arch system would be cumbersome, however, it wasn’t that bad. I was concerned I would feel the pod system below my arch. While walking, the arch is somewhat apparent, but while running I could not detect it at all. I tested the TevaSphere on a variety of terrain, including flat, hard packed trail, heavily rooted and rocky trail, shale riverbed, and even mud. Without some sort of way to accurately measure stability, it is hard to give an exact statement on the effectiveness of the stabilization of this shoe. Admittedly, 90% of my running is currently done on trails, and as a result my agility and lower leg/ankle strength is far greater than it used to be. That said, I did feel as though there was far less ankle inversion and eversion as I navigated the uneven terrain, due to the shape of the pods. And a bonus measurement: I didn’t fall. A rare feat for my clumsy self. I’m not sure if the shoes are to thank or if I just had a lucky day, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
|photo: GoPro Hero 3|
WATERPROOF? The TevaSphere Trail eVent® features eVent® breathable waterproof membrane. Waterproof sneakers, in my opinion, are a horrible idea. As anyone who has done an ultra-marathon knows, you are more than likely going to run through a deep puddle that will without a doubt fill your sneaker with water. And mud runs? Chances are you will be either waist deep or completely swimming in water. On my first run in the TevaSpheres, I ran through a riverbed with maybe an inch of water, and the waterproof feature was great, as it kept my feet completely dry. However, on the next run, I took them out on a rainy day and hit every mud puddle I could find. The water that entered my sneaker did NOT escape, due to the waterproof membrane, and thus I spent the rest of the run with a significant amount of water in my shoes. (It should be noted that the TevaSphere Speed and TevaSphere trail do not use the waterproof materials.). I think it is a far better idea to utilize quick drying (and fast draining) materials, rather than waterproof, which ends up being more of a hindrance than helpful.
|photo: GoPro Hero 3|
TRACTION: The outsole is composed of Spider365 Rubber that according to Teva, provides supreme traction on various terrains. Again, I was skeptical, as the tread doesn’t appear as aggressive as many other trail shoes do. That said, I had absolutely no issues with traction on various (and even wet) terrain. A notable feature to mention is the toe bumper for added protection. I kicked a few smaller rocks on purpose, and it didn’t hurt.
|Note, in the top left photo, you can see how the pod is actually concave, and not flat as it appears in the bottom photo.|
I think Teva is on the right path. I genuinely appreciate that someone has stepped up and created a shoe that addresses the needs of athletes who stray FAR off the beaten path…much further than simply “trail running”. I love the general concept, however, the TevaSphere Trail eVent’s aren’t quite what I am looking for in an obstacle course racing or trail shoe. While I know that my preferences are not the same as the average runner, I personally like a slightly more minimal shoe. The TevaSphere Trail eVent was just slightly more stiff and built up than what I typically prefer. While they were sufficient for trail running, I feel as though they might be a little too burly for racing, especially when faced with obstacles such as wall or rope climbs. I hope to see this line evolve to include something with a bit more flexibility, allowing better proprioception and feel with ground contact.
On that note, I do think this would be a great shoe for someone who needs that extra stability and support when it comes to trail running.
In addition to the TevaSphere Trail eVent, the line includes the TevaSphere Speed, TevaSphere Trail, and TevaSphere Trail Mid eVent. Check out the line at the Teva website, or the entire TevaSpherecollection available on Amazon.
*UPDATE: My boyfriends mother is a kick butt woman who, at the age of 60, tackles trails and outdoor training with us. Conveniently, she and I share the same shoe size, so I can often not only pass shoes on to her, but get her feedback as well! “Jimmy” (as we like to call her) has run a few trails in the TevaSphere Trail eVent’s now, and has a differing opinion than mine. She LOVES the stability of this shoe, and the design of the sole helps her to traverse the trails without too much leverage in the ankle. So if stability is your thing, these shoes are highly recommended by Jimmy!
Teva has been kind enough to provide a 15% discount off of a pair of shoes from the TevaSphere line (valid through July 31st). Enter code TSBLOG-BV6D-2TTP-PYAM-5XHD at checkout for your discount!
GIVEAWAY: The Teva Tribe has been kind enough to offer one of my readers a pair of TevaSphere’s to try out for themselves. To enter the giveaway, please comment below. Anything from WHY you would like to try a pair of TevaSpheres, what you like the most about the line, or which model you would like to try. Then please use the rafflecopter to enter, as well as gain more entries. a Rafflecopter giveaway Contest ends June 26th, and winner will be announced shortly after. Good luck!
*disclaimer, I was provided with a pair of TevaSphere Trail eVent sneakers at no charge, however,all opinions expressed in this review are my own.