One of the more “interesting” outdoor footwear to arrive in the Philippines fairly recently is the TevaSphere Speed. It is a trainer and it’s also all-terrain. Here’s my review of this pair from Teva.
Trainers simply means shoes that you use for training thus offering more protection for your feet, leading to some added weight. Making it all-terrain simply means that it is designed to provide maximum traction in as many surfaces and terrains possible.
The most prominent feature of the TevaSphere Speed are the protrusion on the sides of the shoe around the midfoot area. The widest part of any typical shoe is normally placed on the heel area, but Teva moved this part in the middle for balance as they made the heels rounded.
The first impressions I got from those who wore the TevaSphere Speed for the first time were it was “different.” Having the widest part of the shoe in the middle section of the shoe takes some getting used to for many, but I think I wore so many types of “special” shoes that I didn’t really felt any different with the TevaSphere Speed.
Since TevaSphere Speed is an all-terrain trainer I decided to test it in two totally different surfaces: on asphalt and hard pavements of a road race, and on slippery and muddy trails. Let’s start with the road.
Road Test: adidas King of the Road (16.8K)
This year’s KOTR was the perfect venue for me to test the TevaSphere Speed as the distance (16.8K) isn’t very long and not too short. It also covers concrete and asphalt roads, and it has flats, down and up hills.
The first thing I noticed about the TevaSphere Speed is that it isn’t as flexible as the usual running shoe. I could easily forgive that being a trainer but I was concerned that the material was a bit stiff. Less than 5K into the race, my concern was realized as the toe part where the shoe bends when you run was pushing hard against my toes leading to some blisters. The good part though was that the shoe material doesn’t absorb much water so my feet weren’t swimming inside the shoe and there weren’t much added weight.
Trail Test: Teva Trail Challenge (5K)
You may argue that 5K is a bit too short to evaluate a shoe, but on trails that’s not necessarily accurate. Teva Trail Challenge’s 5K trail route was one of the most difficult trail races I’ve ever done, and the slippery and muddy trails were the prefect trails to test the TevaSphere Speed’s all-terrain soles.
I had no doubt of the TevaSphere Speed’s traction when it comes to trails and it did so with flying colors running over various types of mud. But of course there’s a limit to what traction any trail-related shoes can offer, and TevaSphere Speed was no different. It’s quite good though that the TevaSphere Speed’s soles were quite simple so removing excess mud was fairly easy. A simple dip in the water could remove most of the mud.
Speaking of dipping in the water, TevaSphere Speed is not designed for river crossings, but since the material doesn’t absorb much water, it doesn’t get too heavy even if you do. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to exert too much effort to rinse it off. I’m not sure if it’s because of the quality of the mud around the trails of San Mateo, Rizal or the material just doesn’t let mud cling.
And whereas TevaSphere Speed gave me blisters on flat roads, it was totally the opposite when it comes to trails. I had no problems with the TevaSphere Speed whatsoever.
In summary, here are my thoughts on the TevaSphere Speed:
- Good traction in both concrete and trails
- Doesn’t retain water
- Easy to wash
- Relatively lightweight for a trainer
- Unique design
- Not recommended for running long on hard, flat surfaces (e.g. concrete roads)
TevaSphere Speed is a good all-terrain trainers in the sense that it provides good traction in many surfaces, but you may want to keep it on trails where the ground is much softer. I think it works best for surfaces that are anything but flat as you get to maximize its sole’s tracks from all angles and you minimize bending the front of the shoe that could lead to blisters. And as a shoe best for trails, the fact that I was able to wash away most of the mud from it with just running water is great news.
Overall, if you’re looking for trainers that you can use for trails that you can soak in water and not get heavy, can be easily washed, and also provide good traction, TevaSphere Speed is a good option. It also comes in various color options and specific men and women designs so you also have that fit and form factor.