Sometimes the thinner you go, the better it feels. Hey get your head out of the gutter… we’re talking about shoes here. The Zilch is the thinnest, most minimalistic sport sandal we’ve ever made. Minimalist construction means that the Zilch will bend and flex naturally with your foot, giving you an amazing feel and connection to the earth, but also giving you traction and protection that a bare foot doesn’t. The Zilch is so flexible that it can actually be completely rolled up, making it the perfect travel shoe for anyone that likes to pack light. With the Zilch, you can use your feet like Mother Nature intended.
- Nylon straps with an adjustable closure around ankle and forefoot.
- Contoured footbed for all-day support.
- Non-marking Spider rubber outsole offers exceptional durability and optimal wet/dry traction.
- Available in 4 colors
- Measured size 9.5
- Weight – 206 g (7.3 oz)
- Stack Height – Heel (10.6 mm), Toe(10.6 mm), Drop(0 mm)
- Forefoot width – 109.1 mm (4.3 in)
- Retail – $80
The Teva Zilch Sandals were very intriguing to me. I have seen runners that run in Huarache Sandals and had no idea how that could be comfortable. While I know the Teva’s are not made for running, I wanted to test them on a run or two as well as for their intended purpose of being a low profile sandal. Teva sent me a pair earlier in the summer so I could play around.
The Teva Zilch Sandals are a very simple design. In essence there is a low profile contoured footbed for support with a spider rubber outsole for traction and durability. The sole is very flexible. You can roll it up into a little ball or twist it around. For the upper there are four main sections to keep the sandal attached to your foot. In the back there are support features that come up just below the ankle bone on both side with a strap that goes around the back heel and adjustable strap around the front of the ankle. There is another adjustable strap that is from the inside instep to outside of the foot at roughly the widest point. This middle strap also has some support from rubber material continuing up slightly above the sole height. Finally in the front there is a big toe strap with an elastic strap on the inside to secure your big toe to the sandal footbed. Remember, simple is not bad especially for minimalist footwear. They take a little to get used to and I wish the color I have was not so flashy but I have received a fair amount of comments on them when wearing around.
The fit of the Teva Zilch Sandals are close to what I expected. I was originally told that they run about a ½ size small so I opted for the size 9 ½. I would say they run slightly small but maybe not a full ½ size, if you are on the smaller side for your size you should be okay but everyone else should size up. The straps while simple are adequate and hold your foot in place well. For me the big toe strap took some getting used to but once I did the sandals were comfortable to wear around. The sole has a micro suede feel to it which is really comfortable to the foot. There are also some grippy dots on the underside of the ankle strap and foot strap for a more secure grip on your foot. I have read some reviews where people have had issues with the seams on the inside of the foot. I did not have such an issues. I did have a bit of an issue with the rubber straps from time to time being tough on the top of my foot.
I have been happy with the way these have performed thus far. I have used my Zilch sandals for white water rafting, while backpacking, around town, and running. The soles grip well and since they are so flexible they can contour around rocks giving even more traction. They dry well when wet and obviously breathe. Since they are so light and flexible they can be packed away for hiking or traveling trips. While running there was enough of a sole to protect my feet while allowing some ground feel. My only issues with these are that the straps can be a little rough on your feet. Some of that might be that I have not built up tough enough feet for the straps but it did rub me a bit the wrong way during my runs. I felt more comfortable when I wore the straps on the looser side except when in the water. The other drawback to these sandals is that since the sole is so thin and close to the ground, rocks and debris get into the sandals really easy. When wearing on dirt or other dirty surfaces I had to knock stuff out of them every so often.
Overall the Teva Zilch Sandals were a little better than expected. I think you could easily run in these sandals with some strategic athletic tape or tough feet. They excelled in the water and are really light weight and flexible. I really like them as a summer option around the house and town when the temperature heats up and shoes are not an option. They truly are minimalist as you can feel the ground but not so minimalist that the rocks hurt. Going forward I am not sure if I will be running much in them but they will definitely be a go to sandal for most other summer activities. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
- Good ground feel
- Rocks get in easily due to low sole height
- Tough straps especially if running