Teva Zilch: 'Most Minimal Sport Sandal'


Designed to be one of the most minimal sport sandals ever made, the Zilch from Teva is flexible enough to fold in half. A thin sole, a footbed, and Velcro straps are the totality of the design, which is new this summer and made for travelers and backpackers looking to shave weight.

The sandals come in men’s and women’s models and are built for all-around outdoors use. Light hiking, water activities, or wear-around-camp applications are all candidate for the strap-on sandal.

teva zilch sandal.jpg

The Zilch

For travelers, its small size saves space. Backpackers or campers can stow away a pair for a trip into the woods and almost forget they are there. I tested the Zilch model this month and was mostly happy with the sandal on my foot. With the adjustable straps and a cradling footbed, the sandals’ fit is solid enough for casual activity.

The sole is thin and so flexible that it arches when you step on a stick. There is almost no shock absorption or cushioning, a minimalist feel that you might either love or hate. There is a slight tread and sticky rubber on the sole to provide adequate grip on wet and dry terrain. All materials are synthetic, and nothing on the sandal can soak up water.

The sandals are light weight, though nothing out of the ordinary. In my size 12.5, each sandal weighs about 8 ounces, making a pair an even 1 pound. This is heavier than flip-flops but a few ounces less than sport-oriented sandals with toe protection, beefy straps or stout soles.

teva zilch sandal flex.jpg

Contortions of the Zilch: Flexible sandal bends in half for packing

Comfort is not the first priority with the Zilch. The straps are thin and un-padded, and the strap edges are not rounded off. Take care to adjust them right or they can rub the wrong way. Another drawback: The loop of fabric made for the big toe does not hold tight. On a hike, when I would catch the front of the sandal, my big toe would come out of this little strap. It was annoying to stop and re-adjust.

Teva sells the Zilch for $80. It’s a significant step up from a flip-flop, though as a replacement to a protective sport sandal for hikes or river activities, the Zilch does not measure the same. With the Zilch, Teva offers a middle-weight compromise between the two sandal extremes.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Posted by Bobby Gill - 07/05/2011 11:01 AM

Most minimal sports sandal? Hardly. The Unshoes Wokova is much less sandal, it just doesn’t look as flashy.

Can’t forget the Luna Sandals either:

Posted by Editor - 07/05/2011 11:51 AM

Cool finds. Those “minimalist Chacos,” as the writer calls them, look neat. (These:

Posted by Geoff Sams - 07/06/2011 09:13 AM

@Bobby Gill, those aren’t “sport” sandals.

Posted by J.R. - 07/06/2011 11:47 AM

eww.. too FAGGY looking

Posted by Josh - 07/06/2011 01:58 PM

Is that a new acronym, J.R., or do you just like to show everyone how ignorant you are?

Posted by andy - 07/06/2011 04:59 PM

whats wrong with looking FAGGY anyway?

Posted by abid - 05/15/2012 12:58 PM

i want to buy this plz send me rate and how can i get this product

Posted by alvin - 08/02/2012 12:18 AM

this one actually worked for me. I love running with it. i did get blisters on my left foot. but i’ll tape it on my skin next time. i did a short video review of it

Posted by RobotMagik - 09/20/2012 12:20 PM

@Stephen Regenold – Thanks for the review of this sandal. It has been a staple in my conversion from bulky shoes to minimalist. I even run a few miles in these sandals without a problem.

Regarding your issue with you toe slipping out – I had the same problem and turns out I had to go .5 size down. Once I was wearing the proper size it has not been an issue since. I almost think I need to go down another size to be sure.

The only issue I have(which you referred to) is the friction with the middle strap on the top of my foot. It is not necessarily substantial as long as you account for it and adjust the strap as you suggested.

Thanks again!

Posted by Jess - 04/10/2013 03:26 PM

Does anyone know if these come in women’s sizes? I have been thinking of going with something more minimal and liked these.
I currently have some Teva hiking sandals similar to the link but wanted to give these a try.

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