Are Tevas Good For Hiking? (Helpful Tips)

So, are Tevas good for hiking?  The bottom line is: that Tevas can be appropriate hiking shoes for short trails that don’t involve rocky terrain, but there are better shoes for harder hikes or long distances. 

Kendall and I hike year-round, and I’ve done a fair share of hiking in my pair of Teva sandals. 

Tevas have the advantages of being lightweight and quick-drying.  However, they do not protect your toes or offer any kind of ankle or heel support.

This article will do a deep dive into the pros and cons of wearing Tevas on the trail, and other alternatives you might want to consider. 

Pros of Hiking in Teva Sandals

Whether it’s a hike or a walk, the biggest upsides of Teva Sandals are that they are lightweight, quick-drying, and dry quickly after water crossings.

Lightweight

My Teva sandals are lighter than just about any other pair of shoes I own, weighing in at only 7.83 oz. 

If your focus is to save on weight or are looking for a lightweight camp shoe to strap onto your backpack, Tevas are great for this. 

teva sandals on a scale | Are Tevas good for hiking?
My Tevas are some of the lightest shoes I own.

Water Resistant

Teva Sandals are made from a combination of a rubber outsole and synthetic straps. This means that the shoe’s material is very water resistant and dries quickly.  

Note: this doesn’t mean that your feet won’t get wet during river crossings (Tevas are sandals, so, of course, your feet will get wet), but the rubber outsoles will dry quickly afterward and won’t soak up and retain water.  This can be a big plus for easy hikes with a lot of river crossings. 

overhead view of wet Teva sandals
My Tevas dry quickly, making them good for short hikes with river crossings

The rubber-based materials also make Tevas incredibly easy to clean. You can wash them with soap and water or spray them down with disinfectant without worrying about ruining more liquid-absorbing fabrics.

Comfortable

While comfort is very user-dependent, I find my Tevas to be incredibly comfortable.  They do have arch support (although not as much as my hiking boots or a good hiking shoe), and the straps are made of comfortable materials that don’t cause abrasion or blisters. 

close-up picture of the arch portion of a Teva sandal
Tevas do have decent arch support, although you don’t have the option to add a custom orthotic.

Tevas are definitely designed for walking longer distances while supporting your feet. Unlike cheap flip-flops, the Velcro straps are designed not to rub on your toes, and the strap behind your heel provides extra support. 

Adjustable Straps

One good thing about Tevas compared to other hiking sandals like the Keen Newport H series is that they are adjustable.  You can cinch both straps on the top of your foot as tightly as you would like to get your perfect fit.  While other hiking shoes are somewhat adjustable as well (depending on how tightly you tie the laces), you can’t change the fit of the shoe as much as you can with Tevas. 

close-up picture of the top strap of Teva sandals.
The top straps of Tevas are adjustable, one upside over other hiking boots or shoes.

Great For Hot Weather

Nothing feels better than a breathable pair of sandals in hot weather. Tevas are a great option for those wanting an open shoe that lets their feet breathe. NOTE: If you plan on hiking in hot sand dunes, you’ll want to wear socks to protect your feet from the hot sand.

Lots of Color/Style Options

The Teva Universal line of Sandals has over ten different color options, while the Teva Hurricanes have eight. So you’ve got tons to choose from. 

No Toe Loop

This can be a pro or a con, depending on your preferences. I’ve found that a toe strap (common in many outdoor sandals like Chacos) irritates my toe and causes blisters. Some people argue that these toe loops help the sandal stay in place, but I’ve found that a good-fitting pair of Tevas that are adjusted well stay in place just fine. 

Cons of Teva Sandals for Hiking

The biggest downsides of hiking in Tevas are that it offers no ankle support, no toe protection, and minimal heel support. This makes it less than ideal for long or strenuous hikes, especially those on a rocky trail. 

No Toe Protection

Tevas don’t protect your toes, which can be a big deal on rough trails.  Most regular hiking boots come with a reinforced toe box.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve jammed my foot hard against a rock while on the trail, and having worn closed-toe shoes has been a lifesaver. 

pair of Teva sandals showing exposed toes.
Tevas don’t offer any kind of protection for your toes.

No Removable Insole 

Compared to many casual shoes, Tevas sandals offer a decent amount of arch support, but they (of course) don’t come with a removable insole. For me, who’s had long-standing issues with Plantar Fasciitis, Tevas don’t offer enough support for long hikes, and I’m unable to add my own custom insole.    

No Ankle Support

Tevas, just like any other sandals, don’t offer any kind of ankle support.  While this is okay for shorter hikes or more mild trails with less incline, you really need to have good ankle support when ascending anything steep.  Twisting your ankle from a bad landing on a rock can ruin your hike, so it’s always better to have ankle protection on any steep or rocky trail.  

Exposed Heels

While I don’t tend to jam my heels against rocks as often as I do my toes, there are times when I’ve slipped hard backward and been grateful for the heel protection.  Again, if you’re on a trail with rocks or lots of plants, you’ll want to have your heels covered. 

Besides covering up your heels, hiking boots have the advantage of a good heel cup that cushions the heel and provides stability.  I’ve also had issues with Achilles Tendinopathy, and a well-designed heel cup has done wonders for keeping my heel and ankle in alignment and preventing any twisting of my Achilles Tendon. 

side-by-side comparison of the heel of a hiking boot vs a Teva sandal.
Standard hiking boots offer much better heel support and protection.

Not Great For Cold Weather

Trekking through the snow-covered trails is one of my favorite things to do in our hometown of Spokane in the winter.  Tevas, of course, are not built for cold-weather hiking of any kind.  This is one thing to keep in mind when thinking about a shoe purchase: can I use it for all seasons of the year?

While Tevas seem like the more comfortable choice for hot-weather hiking, I’ve found that a good pair of breathable boots or trail runners doesn’t make me feel any more overheated on the trail. 

Tevas Can Get Slippery When Wet

Any kind of sandals, Tevas included, can get slippery when wet.  Most people gravitate towards wearing sandals for hikes in wet conditions or with river crossings, but I’ve found that my feet slip and slide around in my sandals after they get wet, making the sandals ineffective for continuing to hike after the river crossing.

I will generally choose to use sandals for deeper river crossings where I can’t avoid submerging my feet.  However, in these situations I will usually strap my sandals to my backpack and use them only for the river crossing.  After crossing, I’ll change back into my boots or trail runners and clip my sandals to my backpack to let them dry out. 

The Straps Can Cause Blisters

Although Teva straps are made with materials designed to be comfortable and not cause blisters, I’ve found that prolonged use eventually causes blisters on my feet underneath the strap area.  

Most hiking boots have specially designed cushioned inner linings to help prevent blisters. You can also choose a fantastic hiking sock. While you can also wear socks with Tevas, I’ve found that my feet tend to slip around more. 

close-up of top strap of Teva sandals where blisters can form.
I will get blisters under the top strap after hiking long distances in my Tevas.

Are Tevas Good Camp Shoes?

Yes, Tevas make fantastic camp shoes.  This is where Tevas and other lightweight sandals really stand out.  Nothing feels better after a long day hike than taking off your boots and damp socks and letting your feet cool off and air out.  

Tevas are great because they are lightweight and won’t add a ton of weight to your pack.  The straps are easy to use as a hook point if you want to attach them with a carabiner to the outside of your pack.  And finally, Teva straps make them more secure than flip-flops.  This gives your feet just a little more support for walking around camp.  

Hiker with Teva sandals on a mild trail.
Tevas are great shoes for walking around camp.

Best Teva Sandals for Hiking

The best Teva Sandals are the Teva Universal Trail sandals, the Teva Hurricane XLT2, and the Teva Universal.  We’ll give a brief rundown of the differences of each variation so you can choose the sandal that best meets your needs. 

Teva Original Universal

For those looking for a great pair of camp shoes or everyday wear shoes, look no further than the Teva Original Universal sandal. The original style is the cheapest of our three favorites and is great for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money.

The Teva Original Universal has quick-dry straps made from recycled plastic and polyester yarn.  These straps are comfortable even with a lot of walking.   The top two straps are adjustable, making it easy to find a secure fit, and the shoe has an EVA midsole with an ‘arch cookie’ to support your foot.  

close-up photo of Teva Universal Original sandal.
Image Source: Teva.com

Teva Hurricane XLT2 

The Teva Hurricane XLT line is a great budget-friendly trail shoe for light day hikes. It is slightly cheaper than the Teva Universal Trail (our top pic) but offers almost all of the same benefits.

This shoe has all the upsides of the Teva Universal Original (quick-dry straps, arch support, and EVA midsole) but has a thicker outsole with better traction and a nylon shank.  This offers more support for your foot, and the traction helps with grip on slippery trails. 

The Teva Hurricane XLT2 still comes in eight different colors, and the heel strap has more cushioning than the Teva Originals.  Another similar runner-up is the Teva Terra Fi, which has many of the same features. 

close-up photo of Teva Universal Hurricane XLT2 sandal.
Image Source: Teva.com

Teva Universal Trail 

Our top pic Teva Sandals for day hikes and river crossings are the Teva Universal Trail line, and these are some of the best hiking sandals out there.  These sandals have all the same features as the Teva Originals but have a more elevated footbed and better traction.

Compared to the Teva Hurricanes, the Teva Universal Trail shoes have better-reinforced and better-padded straps, especially the heel strap, while still being very lightweight.

These Tevas are more expensive and come in fewer colors, but we think the added cushioning and lightweight traction make up for it. 

close-up photo of Teva Universal Trail sandal.
Image Source: Teva.com

Are Tevas Good For Hiking FAQ: 

Are Tevas Waterproof?

Yes, Tevas are made of water-resistant materials such as recycled plastic, nylon, and rubber.  However, because Tevas are sandals, your feet will get wet with any type of river crossing.  Tevas do tend to be quick-drying and are a good choice for mild day hikes with river crossings or water sports.

Is it Okay to Wear Socks With Tevas?

Yes, you can wear socks with Tevas, although some complain that this makes your foot slide around more in the shoe.  Socks can help prevent blisters or protect your feet from hot sand.

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