Since I first started at Bucknell I quickly realized that the majority of East Coast students were never really immersed in nature the way Colorado kids were. While East Coasters’ school trips were spent going to museums and plays in NYC or DC, our school trips were spent camping or camping. On really special school trips we would go camping in a different state. But with all this camping we were given the great opportunity to experience every outdoor activity ranging from rock climbing and mountain biking to skiing and white water rafting. Some days we would bike to a hiking trail that ended with us rafting back to camp. With all these activities there was really only one shoe of choice, the amazingly versatile Teva. Growing up in Colorado, you weren’t cool unless you owned Tevas. If you didn’t have a spectacular Teva tan by the end of the summer that meant you clearly were lame. Foolishly, I brought my Tevas to Bucknell where I wore them river jumping, everyone laughed at me. People at Bucknell clearly do not understand the magic of Tevas so I will attempt to explain it in this week’s blog.

Teva (Hebrew for nature) was started by Mark Thatcher, who while working as river guide on the Grand Canyon noticed the lack of rafting appropriate shoes. Wet sneakers are abysmal and flip flops fell off your feet. Thatcher created the nylon ankle strap, inventing not only Tevas but the first sports sandal. (10 years later, I had the chance to raft the Grand Canyon and I can’t imagine doing it in anything but Tevas!) That year, Thatcher patented his sports sandal and sold 200 pairs. People found the first Teva highly practical but often complained of blisters between toes where the sandal’s thong was. Soon America’s youth found this sports sandal fashionable and the demand for Tevas grew. Deckers Outdoor Corp. saw the opportunity in Tevas and began a partnership with Thatcher where the Teva was redesigned into the Teva we know and love today. By 2002, Decker bought the patents and rights to Teva.

Teva’s goal has been to create a show that helps you play but also protects your feet. They are striving to create a shoe that helps you “live better stories”. They don’t want your adventures to be inhibited because of your shoes. Since the shoes origins were created for water sports, Teva has made it their mission to improve water quality and availability as well as protect our fragile water supply.  Teva prides themselves on the fact that they have been socially conscious from their beginning. They don’t support the “it” cause, but rather, they have been supporting the same cause from the start, water. One of the charities they support is also one that I am very familiar with because I am friend’s with its founder, Brad Ludden. The charity is called First Decent and it is a camp for young adults with cancer in remission from cancer. This camp teaches young adults how to river kayak, in hopes of giving them some of their independence and confidence back. First Decent is just one of many examples of Teva making a difference and how their motto is deeply intertwined with their actions. I recently bought a new pair of Tevas to help me enjoy my last foreseeable summer in Colorado. My new Tevas are not only more advanced and innovative than my first, but my purchase of Tevas also went to protect one foot of global waterways. This year Teva has embarked on a Pair for a Foot campaign that pledges to protect one foot of waterway for every pair sold. They have the goal of protecting 4.3 million feet by the end of the year.

So to everyone out there, it’s Teva time. Buy a pair, support water, and go have an adventure.

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4 responses »

  1. hannahglos says:

    I like Teva’s “Pair for a Foot” campaign. It is similar to Tom’s Shoe’s business practice in that for every pair of shoes that Tom’s sells, they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need in a third world country (and they continue to give that same child new pairs of shoes as they grow out of their old ones). I may also be one of the only other Bucknellians to own a pair of Teva’s (but I leave mine at home), so I appreciate the quality of the shoe just as much as you do. When you’re doing some of the outdoors things that you mentioned, you really need a shoe that will stay on your feet and not let you down. I see a lot of similarities between Teva and Patagonia, and I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that two outdoor sports companies are both passionate about promoting causes for an eco-friendly environment? I don’t see many other companies out there than engage in campaigns to protect our water supply.

  2. KCasty says:

    Brooke, I completely agree that Tevas are great, and so practical! Even me, a East-coaster born and raised outside of Philadelphia, wore Tevas when I went to summer camp every summer growing up!

    On an unrelated note to your post, it is interesting that you should mention Toms, Hannah. While their intentions are definitely honorable, their actions are actually unhelpful to the countries where they send shoes… shoes are one of the few things these people actually have already, and Toms is merely taking business and jobs away from the country! This just goes to show that U.S. companies need to be careful when they are trying to be charitable that they are not actually harming the countries that they are trying to help.

  3. Zach says:

    Growing up in New York, I must concede that I was not exposed to the outdoor life you experienced as a kid growing up in Colorado. I would say my biggest wildlife thrill came from looking at the squirrels from the outfield during little league games. However your claim that us east coasters didn’t know about Tevas growing up is patently false! In fact, here too, Tevas were a must have item in order to be considered a cool kid. Again, we didn’t have acces to the mountain ranges you did, but they were most certainly a poolside staple for us. After about 4th grade though, they definitely faded in popularity. I personally haven’t thought about the company in quite some time. I’m glad to eat that they are still around and doing well. It seems to be the trend that companies that deal in outdoor apparel also care about the environment, and it seems that Tevas fit that mold. Overall, a good company that makes a functional product and supports a cause in which it’s employees and consumers believe.

  4. Jeff Galloway says:

    I personally don’t own Teva’s, but my mom does and she absolutely loves them. It’s definitely more of a West Coast thing, and I’m glad you brought them back east. I definitely agree with Hannah when she compares Teva to Patagonia. Patagonia is another company that my mom loves, and I think it’s for the same reason: they both provide great products to their fans, while simultaneously helping the community they live in. I feel like companies like those two are becoming more and more popular as the world gets greener.

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