The Teva Original Universal sandal is Teva’s flagship, most popular sandal sporting over 1000 positive reviews on their website. It’s been around since 1984 and is “a testament to timeless comfort and utilitarian style.”
I agree with that statement. The Original Universal sandals (shop men’s | shop women’s) are very comfortable to wear all day and definitely have a charming utility to them. Not quite minimalistic, but simple and streamlined for sure.
We bought our first Teva sandals in early 2023 while preparing for trips to Mexico and Puerto Rico. If you don’t want to read this whole article, here’s my too long, didn’t read: Teva Original Universal Sandals are great for travel, the beach, hiking, exploring cities and towns, and getting wet. I swam in my Tevas in the Caribbean, plunged into rapids in El Yunque, explored Mexican pueblos, and I wear them for long walks on warm North Carolina mornings. I use them for everything, and my wife does, too. There’s not one thing I’d change about these great walking, exploring, comfortable sandals. Even the price is great!
When you’re considering buying Teva sandals, you’ll see lots of options. My first instinct is to always purchase a company’s OG product, the one they started with before expanding their line. That’s definitely the Original Universal Sandal, but they’ve also got a hiking specific sandal: the all gender, highly rated Hurricane XLT2.
My recommendation? If you’ll be wearing your sandals just for hiking, you might like the more rugged Hurricane better. If you’ll be wearing your sandals everywhere (like we do), stick with the Original Universal.
Table of Contents: Jump Ahead!
Overall Teva Original Universal Sandal Review
Here’s where I’ll sum up all the sections that follow. We hiked, swam, explored, and traveled in our Teva Original Universal sandals. I wore my snorkeling at Playa Buye, my wife put on some socks and wore them on our flights, and we both had zero complaints while hiking in Puerto Rico’s rainforest. They’re equally comfortable on slippery rocks and cobblestone streets, and they’re sleek enough to pack in a carry-on (though I’d just wear them on the flight with some socks).
For Traveling ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Whether you’re on a long car ride, traveling by train, or flying on a plane, Teva’s Original Universal sandals are the way to go. Wear them with socks for a cozy, breathable fit. Now, I wouldn’t travel somewhere very cold with these sandals as my primary footwear option. But if you’re going somewhere warm, you may not even need to bring another pair of shoes!
When we visited Puerto Rico, my wife brought three other pairs of shoes in addition to her Tevas (which she wore on the plane): a hiking shoe, a comfortable running shoe for exploring urban areas, and a nicer shoe for Cathedrals and classy restaurants. Guess what? She only wore her Teva sandals.
She has all black sandals, and they really do look good everywhere, with any outfit. They’re low profile and sleek so you don’t really notice them. If you looked closely, however, you’d be impressed with how comfortable and functional they appear.
Neither of us really needed footwear other than our Tevas in Puerto Rico, and they were our favorite option in rural Mexico, too.
If you have travels coming up where you’ll be doing lots of different activities and the weather will be nice, get yourself a pair of Teva sandals.
It’s bad to have more
clothes than you need
and great to have
than you can remember
For Hiking ⭐⭐⭐⭐
We hiked most of tropical El Yunque wearing our Teva sandals, including exploring waterfalls and rapids in the National Forest. I also spend lots of sunny afternoons in Raleigh hiking at local parks in my Tevas.
Here are the pros and cons of wearing Teva Original Universal sandals while hiking:
- Comfortable all over
- Your toes can breathe
- Rugged underneath for grip and traction
- Thick enough to provide cushion, but thin enough to feel connected and grounded
- Textured foot bed so your foot doesn’t slide around too much
- Can get wet and stay comfortable
- Can easily be removed for hammocking, swimming, or taking a break
- Grit, sand, and stones can get in between your feet and the sandals. Ow!
- If the sandals do get wet, they become a little slippery when walking uphill. It’s manageable, but I notice it.
- Your feet aren’t protected from the sun. When visiting Mexico, I found out why everyone there wears boots and jeans: the sun! If you’re staying in the same place too long and the weather is hot, your feet might get sunburned.
- No protection from rough terrain. Over a long hike, you’re bound to trip or slip or slide on something. Tevas won’t protect your feet like a pair of boots or trail shoes will.
- Having worn trail shoes plenty in my life, I can say that Tevas don’t have the same deep lugs of a good trail running shoe. So going uphill and downhill you will not get the same traction, if you’re used to a trail running shoe or hiking boot.
While hiking, I like wearing sandals for the breathability and connection to the Earth I feel. Teva’s Original Universal sandals get the job done, so well that I’ve not yet been tempted to try their hiking-specific sandals.
Check out my wife’s Teva sandals easily handling waterfall exploration in El Yunque National Forest.
Teva Original Universal Sandals for Urban Adventures ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We’ve had plenty of time to test our Teva Original Universal sandals around Raleigh, North Carolina, but our first experience wearing these sandals for long walks was in rural Mexico, visiting family. Just a couple months later we put tons of city miles on our sandals in Puerto Rico, visiting places like Old San Juan, Ponce, and Rincón.
Packing lists for Puerto Rico always tell you to bring good walking shoes for places like Old San Juan (there’s so much to see and do, all within walking distance), but we’ll stick with our Tevas. Even spending hours strolling the rough cobblestone roads of the old city, we were super comfortable and had happy feet.
I really didn’t expect that our sandals would work well in restaurants and cathedrals, but my wife’s black sandals (especially) blended in perfectly in formal environments. Seriously! They look so good.
We love that we can bring our Teva sandals anywhere, reducing the bulk of our clutter by however many pairs of shoes we’re willing to leave behind. Spending hours on paved surfaces (museums, restaurants, and tours) is no problem in Teva’s best walking sandals.
We walked for hours and hours this day, including exploring Castillo San Cristobal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our Teva sandals were awesome.
For Water Activities ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Teva Original Universal sandals are not technically water shoes, but they perform well and stay comfortable around water nonetheless. In fact, on their website they list the Universal sandal under the water category. I guess they really mean “universal.”
At Charco El Hippie, we plunged into rapids and caves below the main falls, wearing our Tevas to protect our feet from rocks. I jumped into the Caribbean at Playa Buye wearing my Tevas, snorkeling to a nearby reef.
Tevas are my beach shoes, waterfall shoes, and cliff jumping shoes. I’ll always take them along for an adventure that involves getting wet.
Now, there are places where true water shoes (protecting the whole foot) might come in handy. True water shoes will be more streamlined, tighter fitting, and lighter weight than Tevas. Tevas Original sandals tend to weigh down my feet while swimming or frolicking for long periods of time with my feet submerged in water. However, having Tevas with me already most places I go, I choose them over water shoes. They get the job done comfortably and allow me the freedom to carry less footwear when I go on adventures.
Are Tevas Waterproof?
Teva sandals are great water shoes, and I’d call them waterproof. Why? Because you can get them very wet and even swim in them without damaging them, or beating them up too bad. I’ve worn mine in salt water, the rivers and streams of Puerto Rico, and hiking along lakes. All the straps and velcro of my sandals still work great. I trust my Teva sandals around water 100%.
Are Teva Sandals Comfortable?
Teva sandals are comfortable in all situations. We hike, walk, and explore cities in our Tevas. They’re thick enough to protect your feet from rocks, roots, and uneven footing, but you’ll still feel grounded and stable while wearing them. There is an anti slip surface to keep your foot on the sandal and the straps aren’t abrasive.
Teva sandals dry quickly, have excellent traction, and will last a long time. And they’ll stay comfortable through all your adventures and daily wear ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
Are Teva Sandals Sustainable?
Teva Sandals are built with sustainability at the forefront. For example, Teva uses verified REPREVE® polyester and a peppermint-based antimicrobial to fight odor. The sandals are also free from animal products (they’re vegan), saving the resources required to raise animals for materials like glue.
Teva’s corporate responsibility page gives an insight into how this adventure brand handles their impact on the future of this plant. They get a thumbs up from me.
Finally, I always consider the ability to buy something and not need to replace it often. Teva sandals are durable and built to last, and you shouldn’t need to replace them often. Also, they can handily replace multiple pairs of shoes in your closet, and cut down on the weight of your luggage. These are small benefits to wearing Teva sandals, but the small things add up.
Teva sandals are a sustainable product that I trust and recommend to anyone who values eco-friendly gear ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
Are Teva Sandals Affordable?
Teva sandals are very affordable and recommended for their durability and longevity. The materials are high quality, so you won’t have to spend tons of money replacing your sandals. Teva sandals can also replace other types of footwear, like hiking shoes. I’m not sure when I’ll buy another pair of hiking shoes, now that I’ve got my hands on some Tevas!
Also worth mentioning is how light Teva sandals travel. If you’re heading somewhere tropical, you may only need your Tevas, cutting down on luggage cost (or just space).
Teva sandals are an affordable footwear option for outdoor enthusiasts ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.