Teva Sandals Are So Comfortable, I Feel Barefoot Wearing Them

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When you’re born in New York City to an immigrant family, there are just some things that never cross your mind. One of those things, I’m convinced, is hiking. The concept was so foreign to my parents, I’d never even heard them use the word. And then one winter, a couple years ago, my boyfriend and I went to upstate New York for the weekend. For the first time in what felt like forever, I found myself in a place with no sidewalks and many stores that closed before 5 p.m., so I suggested we hike. I’ll never forget the way my boyfriend repeated the word back to me: “Hike?!?” He was so shocked he asked me if I knew what the word “hike” meant.

Funny enough, he didn’t really know how to describe it either, because he is from Tribeca and refers to a trip on the Q train from the last stop in Manhattan to the last stop in Queens as a “hike”. He also mostly wears Converse, which is exactly what we both put on to walk to what I was certain would be my death. About 30 minutes into the hike I started to cry and slip and cry some more, while watching onlooking hikers ask us if we understood what a hike was when they saw our footwear of choice. The second we made it back to the hotel, I kissed the floor, and bought a pair of classic Tevas.  

Tevas are the kind of practical sandal I never owned before. In college, when I met kids who didn’t grow up in the city for the first time, I noticed the shoes were everpresent on their Instagram feed, in photos of them at sleepaway camp or on family “hikes.” They are the kind of sandals you do things in, whereas Converse are better suited for the sidewalks and subways I was raised on.

In the years since I cried on the side of a hill somewhere in upstate New York, Tevas have not just become part of my vocabulary, but have undoubtedly had a major glow up. Actually, within months of buying my first pair back in 2018, I started to see them all over the runway at NYFW that September. Sandy Liang and Collina Strada both had models wearing simple black Hurricane Tevas with their looks, and Anna Sui even collaborated with the brand on a collection featuring colorful, patterned flatforms. At street style summits like Copenhagen Fashion Week, you’re just as likely to see a pair of Tevas paired with a Cecilie Bahnsen dress as you are a pair of Margiela Tabis. I even saw them while walking around Dimes Square in New York last weekend, paired with archival Cavalli, naturally. 

The Teva velcro sandal, famous for fast drying, has clearly come a long way since its river rafting days. Story has it, the shoes were originally made by a river rafting guide who didn’t want his flip-flops flying off his feet, and now, decades later, the sandals are flying down the runway. While on a trip with the brand in Joshua Tree this past May, I was able to get the full Teva experience for myself, wearing the famous sandals  to go on many a hike during the day and then dressing them up with sheer Réalisation Par dresses at night for dinner in the desert. 

I’m fully convinced that few shoes right now have as much range as the Zymic, Teva’s most recent launch and the pair by the brand I’ve worn the most in the last couple of weeks. While in Joshua Tree, I wore the Zymic to go hiking, do yoga, and ride pink, glittery dune buggies (my new preferred mode of transportation). They were so supportive and comfortable, I actually had to look down and confirm I wasn’t barefoot. But of course, as intended, once I strapped them onto my feet, they truly stayed on all day. 

As one might assume from my decision to wear Converse sneakers on the hike, practical footwear is not at all my speciality. If a shoe is uncomfortable, has a platform, or features some confusing criss-cross strap in a questionable texture that’ll likely cause a blister, I’ll wear it for hours until I bleed. Beauty is pain, sure, but finding a comfortable sandal like the Zymic that I actually want to wear has been a godsend. I truly love the way they look styled with long sheer dresses for summer, and there’s something about the unexpected juxtaposition that makes them extremely cool in the not-trying-to-be-cool way. And the next time you invite me on a hike, I’ll absolutely know what to wear there — and to dinner after. 

Shop the comfortable, famous sandals for summer, below. 

Teva Zymic Sandal

Teva Hurricane Drift Sandal

Teva Midform Universal Canvas Sandal

Teva Hurricane XLT 2 Ampsole Sandal

Teva ‘Original Universal’ Slide

Teva Midform Universal Sandal

Teva Zymic Sandal in Light Multi 

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