Teva Terra Fi 5 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, good traction, water-friendly
Cons: Spongy sole lacks stability, can cause chaffing
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While our testers are fond of the comfortable footbed and grippy sole material of the Terra Fi 5, we were a little disappointed in the bulky neoprene material on the straps that led to some rubbing and chafing during our testing. Otherwise, this is a solid product that scores respectably in every rating metric. Whether on dusty trails, slick rocks, or wading in the water, this is indeed a dependable choice.
We are very impressed at how comfortable the Terra Fi is right out of the box. Utilizing a comfortable and spongy footbed, this sandal conforms to your foot and also provides a good amount of cushion from rough trails and hard impacts. It even goes well with socks when additional comfort and warmth are necessary.
The Terra Fi 5 does lose some comfort points due to where the webbing straps land on top of the foot — some of our testers found this to be awkward. Also, the quick-drying neoprene material that protects the feet from the webbing straps is very bulky and has some uneven surfaces. This left the sides of our ankles blistered and bloody the first few times we wore these sandals.
Teva uses its proprietary Spider Rubber on the sole of the Terra Fi, which is engineered to be extra grippy and provide greater friction on tricky terrain. We found the Terra Fi's traction to be very dependable in all sorts of conditions, getting beaten out only by models with Vibram soles.
The Terra Fi provides adequate traction throughout a wide variety of surfaces, and even handles transitions from wet to dry with ease. The firm outsole material is supportive and also allows the tread to 'bite' on rough, angular rocks. Further, the cushioned footbed has a grippy rubber surface that helps keep your foot secure during high-performance outings, even when you get a little wet or dusty.
The Terra Fi 5 scores a little lower in the stability metric due to its spongy and flexible footbed. Although the outsole material is made of a very hard and durable rubber that is beefy enough to handle sustained abuse on the trail, the sole still feels very soft and flexible overall.
A unique feature that our testers enjoyed is the heel spoiler that helps cup the heel towards the rear of the sandal. Not found on many of the sandals we tested, this extra heel support helps your foot lock-in and prevents sliding backward while scaling steep inclines. However, if you're looking for uncompromised stiffness and durability in your sandals, the soft and flexible footbed is not as supportive or stable as some heavier-duty models.
The Terra Fi 5 scores well in this metric because of its highly adjustable and easy-to-use velcro straps. In the traditional Teva fashion, this sandal hugs your foot around the heel and in two places over the top of the foot. Once all three straps have been adjusted to a comfortable position, the user need only release one strap to slide in and out of the sandal. This adjustment style is very straightforward and has proven effective over a long time.
Though the Terra Fi is quick and easy to adjust, we wished that we were able to achieve a snugger fit overall. Sometimes, our testers found themselves wrenching down on the straps only to provide an uncomfortable fit. For the most part, we chose to wear the Terra Fi with just moderately tightened straps.
In true Teva fashion, the Terra Fi 5 is a highly adaptable all-terrain sandal that is comfortable both in and out of the water. The well-cushioned sole is comfortable enough over variable terrain but is also still light enough to travel with. This sandal is athletic enough to handle multi-sport adventures but also still stylish enough to be worn at the local watering hole.
The Terra Fi doesn't excel in any one particular area but managed to function well in most of our testing metrics. It is designed to perform in the water with its neoprene accents, but will also satisfy the needs of hikers, bikers, and other landlubbers. Plus, the ability to wear the Terra Fi with socks means you can get some extra mileage out of them when the temperature starts to drop.
The Terra Fi 5 is one of the more expensive sandals included in this review, but it has high-quality materials and construction that will last for years to come. While this sandal could be a good value for the right user, we think there are other offerings that are more comfortable and better performing for the same or lower list price.
It's hard to go wrong with Teva sandals — river rats and climbing dirtbags alike love them. While some of the performance upgrades of the Terra Fi 5 provide modern comforts and upgraded traction, some of our testers were disappointed with the bulky strap material that caused some rubbing and chafing. While these are certainly very versatile sandals that would be suitable for rafting, travel, or simply lounging around camp, they face a competitive market that makes it difficult for them to stand out.
— Nick Bruckbauer and Rob Woodworth