Look ma, no headlamp! Yeah, my mother really was there as I stomped up and down a rocky crag near Fruita, Colo., in the dark, my path illuminated by nothing but my sandals. It was a family trip, and as silly as the concept may seem, the new Teva Illum 2 sandals really do work.
Each sandal contains an LED that’s mounted front and center on the strap that runs between the big and second toes. Powered by small, replaceable watch batteries, the light can be switched on and off with a simple button on the side of the sole.
The $65 sandals kick out a lot of light. It takes a little getting used to, but the light is very useable for walking at night, even in rugged terrain. The light shines about 20 feet ahead as you hike, but the placement of the beam (on your foot) creates strange shadows by illuminating everything at low angles.
No, the Illums won’t replace a headlamp. But they still serve the purpose of letting you hike in the dark without banging toes. For easy hikes or for stumbling around a campground, these guys have you covered.
While I’ve only used the sandals for a week or so, they are comfortable and seem well made. Teva claims the light is waterproof. If they continue to shine as long as I expect they will, these likely will become my favorite summer sandal, nighttime or during the day.
—Sean McCoy is based in Denver.