Sandals are my favourite walking footwear – as long as it’s warm enough. This summer has proved ideal for sandals with several long hot spells and generally warm weather. Many years ago Teva invented the sports sandal – that is, one specifically designed for active pursuits – and is still at the forefront of design.
The Terra sandal has been the mainstay of the Teva range over the years. The latest version, the Terra Fi 4, is tough and comfortable with a more supportive and cushioning sole than earlier versions.
The webbing straps, which can be adjusted over the forefoot and round the instep and ankle, are easy to use, flexible and soft on the skin. The sole is chunky and thick. The deeply cleated tread is made from Teva’s Spider rubber, which is designed to grip on wet ground. The cushioning midsole is made from moulded polyurethane and there’s a soft insert in the heel called a Shoc Pad for extra shock absorption. The sole is quite flexible at the forefoot but has a nylon shank built in to give some torsional stiffness.
People sometimes worry about their toes or heels hitting rocks when wearing sandals. However with the Terra Fi 4 the sole is curved so your toes don’t slide off the end and there’s a small rise at the rear to protect the heel. The foot platform is shaped like a supportive footbed too, which helps keep your foot in place, and has a soft patterned surface plus an anti-microbial treatment.
With three adjustable straps I found it easy to get a firm fit that didn’t allow any rubbing. Initially I wore the sandals for some low level walks over a variety of terrain – stony tracks, muddy paths, wet grass – and was impressed with the comfort and security. To give them a real test I then wore them on an overnight trip on Creag Meagaidh which included a steep ascent up rocky ground, boggy terrain, a long descent down stones, heather and grass and even some small snow patches. The sandals were fine and my feet felt secure and stayed cool in the hot weather. The sandals did get wet on boggy terrain but, being synthetic and virtually non-absorbent, they dried very quickly. Grip was fine on all types of terrain.
If you like the freedom of sandals the Terra Fi 4s are excellent. I think they’re ideal for warm weather hillwalking and backpacking. They’re not the lightest sandals around and I wouldn’t choose them for carrying in the pack as back-up or camp footwear but if you’re going to walk in them all day then the extra weight, which lies in the thickness of the sole, will be welcome.