Your Next Hiking Shoe Will Be a Sandal

Letting go of awkward childhood memories with the iconic Teva sandal began and a hike.
IMAGE Kris Villano

The thing about maintaining a pair of hiking shoes when you are not a hiker is that by the time you’re geared up for your next climb—probably four years after your first—the glue in between the soles has already dried up. Even environmentalists at the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal, who subscribe to a #LeaveNoTrace code, will urge you not to leave your trash behind, including debris from old rubber shoes whose toe caps or outer soles they often find strewn about the conservation area. 

It's precisely the fear I felt when, offered the opportunity to climb Masungi Georeserve’s Legacy Trail, I sifted through my shoe closet and peered at a pair of aquamarine rubber shoes probably about six years old. As I dusted off the cobwebs from its neon soles, I honestly wondered, will it hold up during the five-hour hike, quizzically observing the shoe up and down. But with a departure time of 5:30 a.m. the next day, I figured, I would just let nature decide.

Photo by Kris Villano.

Photo by Kris Villano.

And then the option of something better came along: a hiking sandal. With the resurgence of the ’90s trend and the sudden admiration for fashion statements jolie laide, I had already considered stocking my closet with a pair of strap-on sandals myself. The only thing stopping me was flashbacks of myself at the height of puberty—a desolate, confusing, emo time for anyone’s life—dressed in brown strap-on sandals, baggy cargo pants, and my brother’s T-shirt. It was too traumatic, to say the least, to revisit those days.  

But it’s hard to ignore the call of fashion when lookalikes of the renowned sports sandal brand Teva, with its iconic chunky straps, is walking the runways of high fashion brands or are spotted on the feet of very influential people. Perhaps we all just needed a reason to wear these sandals again. And why not? The practical shoes were made in 1984 by the founder Mark Thatcher who was traversing the Grand Canyon when he DIY-ed the first pair from flip flops and Velcro straps. 

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So, inching my way back to this sport sandal that I wore during such an awkward time of my life is something I was hesitant to do. I just needed a reason. And hiking was it. 

Photo by Kris Villano.

Photo by Kris Villano.

The all-weather, all-terrain Teva sandals are durable, comfortable, and quick to dry. They're perfect for more straightforward hikes like that of Masungi, whose trail and weather are ideal for the lightweight sandal. During our climb, the weather was so erratic that it was rainy and sunny every five minutes. This posed no problem for the shoe, whose traction was secure on the stones that lined the trail. The problem with sturdier hiking boots is the soles are so thick that it’s hard to feel your way around rough terrain. I remember a grueling hike up the mountains of Kalinga, watching the locals hop about so easily through tiring terrain in rubber tsinelas. It’s easier to grip the stones when the soles are flexible, they told me. And with my Tevas on the trail, I could finally see why.


The best part is that when the climb was over, the sandals are even easier to clean. I didn't keep them shoved in the corner of my closet to grow moldy. The next day, I wore the same pair on my way to a yoga class. 

Teva is available at Toby’s Sports. 


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Kara Ortiga
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