The recent crunchy outdoor revival has sparked countless unforeseen comebacks for heritage brands that had never before found themselves on the cutting edge of style. Yet, few reintroductions have been more surprising than that of Teva, the Velcrofied sandal company whose open-toed designs are so tied to the outdoor sporting world, that they might as well toss in a box of granola with each pair. And yet, for all the hippie-centric jokes that Teva’s might inspire, the nearly three-decade-old company has done a remarkable job as of late in transforming their image from hiker to hashtag menswear.
To chart the resurgence of Teva, we have to start back in ’84, when a Grand Canyon River Guide was inspired by the lack of “sporting sandals” to invent a pair of his own. Dubbed “Teva,” which is Hebrew for nature, these hook and loop sandals became an integral part of the eighties outdoor scene. When that style was rediscovered years later, first by Daikanyama-dwelling Japanese mountaineering aficionados, and subsequently by the menswear obsessed here in America, Teva’s resurfaced not only on the trails, but in the city as well. Now, I’m not so sure I’d recommend parading around the urban muck in a pair of open toed sandals, but Teva does prove that when it comes to informal (and we mean really, really informal) footwear, all you really need is a sole and some straps. —JG