For $50, we cannot think of a better summer option than the Teva Original Universal! This no-frills sandal delivers all-day comfort while feeling non-existent on the foot. With its stylish and versatile appeal, you can wear this sandal from the trail to the beach or from a paddleboard to a coffee shop without worrying about fitting in.
- Versatile in use
- Comfortable strap system
- Cushioned for short hikes
- Over 20 colorways and designs
- Lacks traction
- Texture is felt underfoot
- Back strap is not adjustable
Who should buy
The Original Universal lives up to its name by being a multi-use outdoor piece. We think that you will enjoy this Teva offering if:
- you need all-around versatile athleisure footwear for the following:
- light hikes
- walking on the beach
- paddle boarding
- casual wear with a summer dress or a pair of shorts
- you prefer extra lightweight hiking sandals
- you want a very affordable pair (at $50, it is way cheaper than the average $90 sandal)
Who should NOT buy
Using a caliper to measure the sandal's heel height, we found it to be 15.9 mm. This is a more minimal and grounded type of sandal.
But we still felt like there was enough cushioning and support in the sole to keep us comfortable for shorter distances of up to 6 miles (minus the heavy bag, of course).
We haven't experienced any discomfort or pain in our feet throughout the wear test.
|Original Universal||15.9 mm|
In the forefoot, we measured the stack height at 13.8 mm, which is also expectedly lower than the average.
|Original Universal||13.8 mm|
The Teva Original Universal also comes with a really low heel-to-toe drop. Based on our stack measurements, it is only 2.1 mm. The foot is nearly parallel to the ground in this sandal.
That means less impact protection in the heel but you do get a very natural, almost barefoot-like underfoot experience.
|Original Universal||2.1 mm|
This Teva sandal feels more on the firm side. This was confirmed in our durometer measurement which gave a reading of 35.1 HA, about 10% firmer than average.
This is the primary cushioning layer which is meant to be firm to protect the foot from rocks and debris.
|Original Universal||35.1 HA|
Secondary foam softness
The upper layer of cushioning which comes in direct contact with the foot is a softer one.
Our durometer shows 26.5 HA which is about the same as the average.
The only gripe we have about this sandal's sole is the textured cross-hatch pattern on top of it. This semi-rough surface made us feel as if we were walking on sand. But on the bright side, it does flatten out over time.
This Teva sandal is so light it's easy to forget that you are wearing it in the first place!
Tipping the scales at 6.3 oz (179g), this sandal is light like a feather. Given that most sandals weigh around 9-10 oz, the Original Universal is practically non-existent on the foot.
|Original Universal||6.70 oz (190g)|
For its price range and lightweight build, the Original Universal shows some promising outsole durability.
We measured the hardness of its outsole at 84.8 HC which is about as hard as some of the premium hiking sandals. Thus, we expect a reasonable shelf life from this Teva.
|Original Universal||84.0 HC|
The thickness of the outsole is also impressive. At 3.6 mm, it is even a little thicker than average.
More rubber means that you won't wear it out as quickly.
|Original Universal||3.6 mm|
Lateral stability test
The Original Universal is NOT a sandal for serious hiking. It has nearly zero support and is going to be a disaster if you attempt to hike in it. Especially with a backpack. Especially on rough terrain.
A better sandal for that purpose is the Teva Hurricane.
This sandal bends like nobody's business. Twisting it in our manual test confirmed that support is not this Teva's forte.
But if you expect easy-going summer footwear that mimics being barefoot, this is the perfect option.
On a 1 to 5 scale where 5 is the stiffest, we rated this sandal's torsional rigidity as 1.
Midsole width in the forefoot
The Original Universal also has a fairly average landing surface. We measured the widest part of its forefoot at 112.6 mm.
|Original Universal||112.6 mm|
Midsole width in the heel
Back in the heel, our caliper shows 81.6 mm in the widest part. It's not narrow by any means but it is not as wide as some of the performance-oriented sandals either.
|Original Universal||81.6 mm|
The Teva Original Universal is unbelievably flexible. It must be among the most flexible sandals on the market.
It took as little as 7.0N of force to bend it to a 90-degree angle. That is... (wait for it) 213% more flexible than the average! Insanely bendy sandal.
Grip / Traction
Don't expect the Original Universal to be a reliable partner for wet rocks and inclines. Its rather smooth outsole barely has any treading to keep you confident and surefooted in slippery conditions.
|Original Universal||0.0 mm|
Size and fit
Toebox width at the widest part
Using a caliper, we measured the widest part of this sandal's forefoot at 89.6 mm.
But do take this measurement with a grain of salt because of the adjustable strap. There is plenty of wiggle room in the Teva Original Universal to welcome all kinds of foot shapes.
|Original Universal||89.6 mm|
Upper material thickness
We measured the upper strap thickness at 5.3 mm. This is enough material to prevent the strap from digging into the instep.
Even though there is no strap padding in this Teva model, it still feels plush all around. This is due to the soft nature of the straps used in the Original Universal.
|Original Universal||5.3 mm|
Style...style is everything
Teva Original Universal seems to have outperformed many of the hiking sandals on the market when it comes to style. This model proves that a sandal can be a nice-looking and even trendy piece of footwear.
Someone mentioned that it looks more attractive than many other Teva models because "it is slimmer." This sandal is also offered in loads of different colors and patterns which makes it much easier to style with all sorts of outfits.
How to keep the Original Universal odor-free
Here are a few quick tips:
- Soak the sandal in a mixture of two cups of water and a cup of antimicrobial mouthwash for 15 minutes.
- Scrub it with a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse it with clean water (preferably warm) then air-dry.
If you want to help the sandal dry faster, wipe it with a towel or another moisture-absorbing piece of cloth before putting it out to dry.