The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Teva Original Universal - Women's Review

A timeless classic that doesn't quite live up to its reputation on rugged terrain
Teva Original Universal
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, classic
Cons:  Very floppy sole
Manufacturer:   Teva
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 3, 2017
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

#9 of 12
  • Comfort - 20% 5
  • Stability - 20% 5
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 20% 7
  • Adaptability - 10% 7
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Teva Original Universal - Women's is a timeless classic, with a silhouette that many of us have known for years. But does the time-tested design hold up to today's standards? Our testers found the Original to be a solid choice for low activity days, but it wasn't a go-to for long trail days or rugged terrain. With a low score in the stability metric, many testers did not feel that the Original provided them the support they needed because of its relatively floppy sole.

Teva also offers the Tirra, which brings more performance to the table but costs more (while still being a fantastic value). For another lightweight option that gives more protection from the trail underneath, we recommend the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Although not the highest performer in our test, the Teva Original is a classic that is deserving of our attention. This model has been around for years, and many trust its wide straps and overall design. Our testers found fault in the Original's support, but it held its own in style. If you need a classic sandal for light walking, this is a good product for you.

Performance Comparison

The Original in its natural habitat.
The Original in its natural habitat.


Throughout testing, our experts' main complaint with the Teva Original was its floppy sole. This caused some serious comfort issues when walking on rocky or rooted terrain. Additionally, the Original's design made it easy for the user to catch the edge of the shoe's toe and bend it backward, which our testers felt was a tripping hazard. With that said, testers felt that the sole-to-foot interaction was comfortable, so for terrain that isn't rugged, the Orginal works well. For a more rugged option, consider the Bedrock Cairn or Chaco Z/Cloud 2.

This model tends to run big. If you're on the edge of a size, we recommend sizing down.


The Original was among the least stable contenders in our test. Many users felt that the sole of this shoe felt significantly underbuilt, and one tester noted that she could fold the shoe into a ball. This did not provide any benefits to the shoe. However, the Original does have minimal arch support and the EVA footbed is thicker than other models. If you're looking for a shoe with more stability, try the Chaco Z/Cloud 2.

The tread pattern of the Original.
The tread pattern of the Original.


During slip tests on sloping granite and trails with loose gravel, the Original proved to have average traction. Our testers felt that this model provided adequate security for most applications, but steep rock slopes were not its forte. However, it did handle loose gravel quite well. If you're looking for a model with superior traction, try the Bedrock Cairn or a Chaco model.

The floppy sole of the Original.
The floppy sole of the Original.


The Original provides two adjustment points, one on the ankle and one across the toe. Although these work well and keep the sandal hugged across the foot, some testers felt that the plastic buckles that connect the straps were unnecessarily bulky. Additionally, they were apt to pinch the user's skin when making quick movements. Models with better adjustment were the Teva Verra and the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.


The Original takes on a variety of activities well, handling water sports and around-town exploring with ease. However, its abilities in more rugged environments were not as high as other contenders, which lowered its adaptability score. If you're looking for a more versatile shoe, the KEEN Clearwater or Bedrock Cairn are good options.

This contender is adaptable and can be used for various adventures.
This contender is adaptable and can be used for various adventures.


One metric that our testers agreed on for the Original was its style points. This classic will earn you some serious street cred, and although it is not the sleekest model in our review, it lives up to its name, with an original silhouette that has a die-hard following.

Best Applications

The Original is best used for around-town wandering and light trail hikes with a day pack on well-groomed trails. It also excels on the beach, but we do not recommend this sandal for rugged use.


At $50, the Original is one of the cheapest models in our review. For a few dollars more, check out the Teva Tirra, our Best Buy winner.


The Teva Original is a cult classic, and although it lacks support, it will always have support from a loyal following who swear by its benefits. If you're looking for a shoe to walk around town with and kick it at summer BBQs, this is a good choice for you.

Shey Kiester