Proper footwear is a critical component of summer success, and nothing is more apropos for dominating the dog days of August than sandals. Enter the Teva Zilch, a minimalist performance sandal. Simply put, the Zilch is a 1/8” thick composite slab that lashes onto your foot via a pair of straps and a toe loop. Surprisingly, the sandal is significantly more comfortable than its Spartan construction belies. Thoughtful features like a hidden spandex wrap under the toe loop and a soft hand on the underside of the straps make for a pleasurable phalangeal (that’s a hip word for toe bones) experience, yet they also provide enough security to confidently run, swim, or hike through most summer conditions.
The footbed has plenty of flex to bend with the natural motion of your foot, as demonstrated by the fact that you can literally roll this sandal up for easy packing. However, there’s still enough protection underfoot to keep you safe on most trails or while crossing rocky riverbeds. I sported the Zilchs on a couple of waterfall dayhikes in San Diego county, and they excelled in the amphibious conditions. The patented Spider Rubber sole gripped well on slick or dry rocks, and even though the soles are thin, my feet still felt good after a full day of pounding up and down the trail. Like any minimalist footwear, I wouldn’t want to carry too much of a load for fear of straining my ankles, but daypacks and even lightweight overnighters are well within the realm of possibility. In the photo above, the shoe is shown folded up to its packable size on the left.