Some brands out there are almost synonymous with the item they create. Hoover, Google, iPod to name just a few. As close as you’ll get in the outdoors world is probably Teva, who produced the first and best known sport sandals. So we were intrigued when we were given the opportunity to review a pair of Tevas with socks.
You’ll be glad to know that I’m not going to perform one of the ultimate social faux pas, but that thankfully Teva have released a line in top end walking boot, though you probably worked that out from either the post title or the link taken to get here.
The Riva Peak Mid eVent walking boots are sturdily manufactured from a coloured full grain leather, and the toe is boxed in by one of the sturdiest rands we’ve seen on a boot of this type. You could go about your business kicking large pebbles with impunity in these boots, if that’s your thing, or walk the rocky trails knowing that your tootsies are well protected. While we’re on the subject of the toes, it’s really wide as well, perfectly suiting my foot, and probably wider too. So this boot seems to be based on a wide Northern European last, rather than those narrow Mediterranean ones. This means I’ll keep my little toe intact on longer multi-day walks. My heels managed to stay put for once, whereas they tend to rise and fall in half the boots I wear causing hot spots.
The boots sport a comfortable insole, due to what’s called a Mush® infused insole and a Shoc Pad™ in the heel. Whatever they’re called, the end result is a boot that immediately feels comfortable, though of course that’s no guarantee it’ll be comfortable 500km down the line.
The outer, as mentioned already, is leather with an eVent® liner to maximise both waterproofness and breath-ability. I for one am glad to see eVent® being used, as there seems to be far too much emphasis on Gore-TEX® in the industry to the detriment of other manufacturers and ultimately choice to us, the consumer. I’ve found it performs perfectly well, and just as good as the competitor, though I lack the scientific lab required here to provide definitive proof of this.
I know that having a liner on a boot isn’t everyone’s cup of coffee, complaining that it causes the feet to get hot and that’s it’s not really necessary if you proof the leather properly. Personally, I think it’s essential for the kind of walking that I do. Sometimes, it feels like you’re walking through a puddle for eight hours straight and you need all the help you can get. Neither would I wear the same leather lined boots in the height of summer and then complain about hot feet. I’d wear something lighter. The conditions these were tested in was typical Snowdonian Spring/Autumnal weather and my feet felt fine with just the usual pair of winter socks. The weather was soggy and wet, with temperatures somewhere in that sweet miserable spot above freezing but below 10ºC. The only thing that wasn’t typical is that it was during January and February.
Possibly the wettest January and February on record, which the boots coped with faultlessly. We did notice initially that the tongue wasn’t sewn up as high as we’d have liked, but in practice you’re talking about maybe 0.5cm less protection from the depth of water you’re crossing. That’s hardly here nor there, and as they’re mids – they’re a tad shorter anyway. In my experience it’s those knee deep puddles and bogs that really get your feet wet.
This leads me to the one thing about footwear that I can get obsessive about.
It matters naught that these boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable, if your feet are up in the air as you’ve just slipped half way down the PYG track. With the weather being as it has been this winter, grip is something that’s very difficult to find let alone give a pair of boots a fair test under these conditions. They sport a Vibram sole, which isn’t always a guarantee, as well as Teva’s own T.I.D.E. grip that claims to provide an aggressive lug design for grip on loose terrain. But it was with trepidation that I took to serious trails under these conditions with untested boots, walking with the utmost care as the rocks were slimy from constant rain and the turf itself so loose that you can slip at any footfall.
It was only after crossing all the bogs, scrambling over the wet rocks and on reaching the first summit of the day that I remembered that I was wearing these new boots and that the grip had been as good as I could expect. The only slippage was due to the turf being so sodden that it no longer had any integrity, something no boots can protect you from. I actually look forward to crossing the Rhinogydd later next month with these on my feet.
Finally, these are the top of the range Teva Boots, but at a price I’d call premium budget. £140 is a real bargain for a good pair of walking boots these days, where you can expect an RRP nearer £200 for a goretex lined leather pair.
Summary – if you’re looking for a pair of waterproof leather boots for the Spring/Autumn and wetter bits of the summer, then not only are the Teva Riva Peak eVent boots ideally suited to this but they’ve also got the most attractive price tag of £140.
They’re available in a Men’s style (tested ) in Insignia Blue and a Women’s in Rhubarb. More details and stockists on www.teva.co.uk