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Teva Universal Trail Review

This sandal keeps the classic style Teva is known for, while adding in terrain tackling tread to the mix
Teva Universal Trail
Photo: teva
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Price:  $100 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Plush footbed, great traction, classic style, solid value
Cons:  Average adjustability and stability
Manufacturer:   Teva
By Jacob Clark ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Traction - 25% 7
  • Stability - 20% 5
  • Adjustability - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Teva Universal Trail is a sandal that combines a classic style with a plush, comfortable footbed and the capability to handle nearly any terrain thanks to its aggressive tread pattern. Simple adjustability with padded straps and an EVA foam footbed makes for one comfy ride. The only place this sandal falls short is in the footbed's strength and durability and the lack of an adjustable heel strap. This sandal, while not ideal for big, long days on the trail, will provide excellent daily use across most terrain. This is a simple, lightweight, comfortable, and value-filled sandal with retro aesthetics.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Teva Universal Trail
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$105 List
$105.00 at REI
$65 List
$64.95 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$79.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Plush footbed, great traction, classic style, solid valueLightweight, versatile, excellent tractionVery affordable, light, comfortableGreat wet traction, comfortable and stable, quick-dryingMinimalist, flexible, featherweight, eco friendly
Cons Average adjustability and stabilityNot best for high archesLess supportive than others, loses some traction when wetLack of adjustability, doesn't slip onThin, lack of support, durability
Bottom Line This sandal keeps the classic style Teva is known for, while adding in terrain tackling tread to the mixThis lightweight sandal is comfortable, durable, and capable of handling anything out on the trailImpressive comfort and solid all-around performance in a lightweight and affordable packageWith solid coverage and water friendly materials, this is our favorite closed-toe sandal for water sportsAn amazingly lightweight sandal with superb comfort, flexibility, and a compact design
Rating Categories Teva Universal Trail Bedrock Cairn Adven... Teva Katavi 2 Keen Newport H2 Xero Z-Trail EV
Comfort (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Traction (25%)
7.0
10.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
Stability (20%)
5.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
Adjustability (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Teva Universal Trail Bedrock Cairn Adven... Teva Katavi 2 Keen Newport H2 Xero Z-Trail EV
Weight per Pair (pounds) 1.29 lbs (size 10) 1.10 lbs (size 10) 1.36 lbs (size 9) 2.01 lbs (size 12) 0.76 lbs (size 10)
Width Options Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Footbed Material Ariaprene Granite Grip rubber Contoured EVA EVA BareFoam
Midsole Material EVA Rubber EVA Compression molded EVA TrailFoam
Sole Material Vibram Mega Grip Vibram XS Trek Regolith Durabrasion rubber Rubber FeelLite rubber
Upper Material Repreve polyester webbing Premium webbing Suede Washable polyester webbing Polyester

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Teva Universal Trail provides excellent value and solid performance across most of our rating metrics. This sandal offers plenty of comfort, versatility, and all-around performance for the average user. While not as stable or technically-minded as some competitors, this sandal should be a hit among Teva-loving fans thanks to its simple design and reasonable weight of 1.29 lbs (20.6 oz) for the pair.

Performance Comparison


Classic Teva style with trail-ready traction, this sandal can tackle...
Classic Teva style with trail-ready traction, this sandal can tackle it all.
Photo: Jacob Clark

Comfort


The simple design of Teva sandals is why many users love them, and the Teva Universal Trail is no exception. The footbed features multi-layer foam construction and provides excellent plush comfort. From your foot to the ground, you start with a lower density, plush EVA foam footbed, followed by a slightly denser mid-layer, and ultimately a full Vibram tread on the outsole. This sandal needs no break-in time and is comfortable from the very first step.

The plush footbed and denser midsole and outsole make these...
The plush footbed and denser midsole and outsole make these comfortable, even on sharp rocks.
Photo: Jacob Clark

The straps have padding to protect your feet from the webbing, where velcro adjustments allow for a snug fit. The lack of an adjustable heel strap is one of the few comfort-related drawbacks with the Universal Trail. Other sandals with an adjustable heel strap allow for better customization. When paired with water, the footbed gets slippery, resulting in some foot slippage inside the shoe. Some very mild hot spots developed after a long day in wet conditions.

Traction


Traction is a critical factor for any piece of outdoor footwear. The Universal Trail put up a solid effort in this category. When considering outsole to ground contact, the traction performed well in various environments. The plush footbed, once wet, gets to be slippery and limits foot-to-footbed traction.

The directional tread featured on the sole helps you move uphill or...
The directional tread featured on the sole helps you move uphill or downhill with comfort, confidence, and ease.
Photo: Jacob Clark

Despite the poor footbed traction, this sandal still did well on wet logs and smooth, wet rocks, thanks to its Vibram outsole. It provides ideal performance for shorter wet adventures such as climbing approaches or backpacking creek crossings. It makes for a great all-around performer but may be a bit limited when it comes to longer, wetter technical pursuits.

Even uphill on slippery grass, the confidence in traction doesn't...
Even uphill on slippery grass, the confidence in traction doesn't fade.
Photo: Jacob Clark

Stability


The classic and simple design of the Teva Universal Trail struggles a bit with stability. The soft footbed that makes these shoes so comfortable comes at the expense of some stability. The softer show felt "loose" on steep slopes and uneven terrain. In particular, the plush padding on the straps and footbed gave room for the foot to move around when pressed. The balance of padding and stiffness in the sandals favors plush padding at the cost of stiffness.

Underwater, the closed-cell foam doesn't absorb any water.
Underwater, the closed-cell foam doesn't absorb any water.
Photo: Jacob Clark

While the Teva style is often known for its simplicity, it has its limits. The strap systems on other performance-driven sandals dial-in the fit for better foot support and stability. The precision present in the Universal Trail, or lack thereof, doesn't quite offer the same level of stability.

Adjustability


When it comes to adjustability, these sandals fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. While the Universal Trail is especially easy to adjust with the velcro design, fine-tuning them is a bit limited. The lack of fine-tuning is offset by the plushness of the whole sandals, from straps to footbeds. The style lends itself well to on-the-go adjustments as needed but doesn't provide the customization offered by other models.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The fixed heel strap leaves only two ways to adjust the sandal; a velcro strap over the forefoot and one across the front of the ankle. Unfortunately, if these straps don't work to make these sandals fit for you, there isn't anything else that can be done. This model has very user-friendly adjustments, but they aren't the most comprehensive.

Versatility


The Universal Trail also scores mid-pack in the versatility ratings. This sandal was not particularly favored over rugged terrain or in wet conditions, but it still has plenty of other features to offer. We have noted the comfort and tread of these sandals and their overall simplicity. These qualities make it a great all-around option from town to beach to trail to even snow if you are you are an all-year-round user. Only under more technical or extreme conditions does the sandal start to fall short. Keep it casual, and these sandals will serve you well.

The tread and comfort let these sandals take you over any terrain...
The tread and comfort let these sandals take you over any terrain you may encounter.
Photo: Jacob Clark

If your goal is to move over particularly rugged terrain, it might be worth looking into other sandals, given some of the weaknesses mentioned above.

Value


With solid all-around performance and an average price tag, the Universal Trail provides a solid value. Other models will be better suited for your more rugged and extreme adventures, but for the price, this model is quite capable.

Classic style, trail-ready tread, and plush comfortable footbedsmake...
Classic style, trail-ready tread, and plush comfortable footbedsmake this a simple sandal loved by many.
Photo: Jacob Clark

Conclusion


The Teva Universal Trail has a recognizable style, paired with a lightweight design, comfortable performance, and excellent trail traction. If you're looking for a high-performance sandal with better support and stability, perhaps look elsewhere, but if you want a well-rounded, comfortable, and lightweight shoe with classic style, look no further.

Jacob Clark

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