I must admit I was a little skeptical when first handed a pair of Teva X-1 running shoes. Was this a running shoe or a river shoe? Or would I be better off hiking in these? How could a shoe you could get sopping wet also function well as a running shoe?
The idea was intriguing: A shoe designed to handle going through puddles, rivers or heavy downpours without the annoying side effect of heavy, waterlogged shoes.
I thought back to some of the best -- and most fun -- runs I've had in my life and inevitably I was running through a warm rainstorm in my native Florida. Or how about the jungles in Central and South America I've hiked through, most of the time with soaking wet shoes or boots?
Seems the X-1s would have dialed me in nicely back then. What I was curious about, however, is if these things work as advertised.
A wet run in dry San Diego
So I set out to test these babies in dry and sunny San Diego. Unfortunately, except for a freak winter this year, San Diego doesn't see a lot of rain. I had to resort to hosing down my feet and shoes before heading on a run.
Nice thing is a size 9 shoe only weighs 9.8 ounces, which is very near racing flat weight. Even with the added water, including wet socks, the X-1s felt very light. The combination monofilament mesh and ripstop nylon upper literally allows water to drain right out the sides almost instantly.
So within minutes after drenching my feet, the only noticeable wetness was in my socks. The shoe felt light as can be. I would imagine you could run barefoot in these and probably feel dry right away.
The X-1 was surprisingly supportive as a running shoe. I can always tell when I start running in any shoe whether there's going to be any kind of support within the first few steps. The X-1s felt nearly as good as the Pearl Izumi running shoes that have become my favorites.
A great trail-running choice
I wouldn't recommend the X-1s as your main running shoe for asphalt, but for cruising through trails, especially where you might encounter mud and streams, the X-1s are totally the way to go. I ran through some of the trails near my home and, even though everything was dry, I felt just as good as if running in my regular running shoes.
A compression molded EVA and Drain-Tech molded EVA sockliner ensure the cushioning effect of the midsole. As I've stated in previous reviews, everybody has the latest trademarked name or term for their materials. I really don't pay attention to any of the names. The shoe either works for me or it doesn't.
In this case, the Teva X-1 performs -- surprisingly well. The design is based on a Wraptor Technology, which is a patent-pending 360-degree, continuous strapping system that simultaneously secures the instep and the arch shank to the foot. This creates a noticeable connection between shoe and foot that provides heel-to-forefoot stability and motion support.
Shock absorption is accomplished through a blended polyurethane/EVA unit in the heel cup that evenly transfers the energy of impact throughout the footbed.
I asked Lauren Guinn, an employee here at The Active Network, to try the X-1s on a wet and muddy hike in Utah's Zion National Park. Having been warned that the trails were wet and muddy by park rangers, Guinn took it as a challenge for her
"My X-1s drained water out almost instantly, stayed light and were incredibly comfortable the entire five-mile hike," she claimed. "I'd recommend these to anybody wanting to hike or run through trails."
Whether running or hiking through any kind of rugged or wet terrain, Teva's X-1s are surprisingly versatile and well-suited for a variety of conditions. Suggested retail is $90. Snag all the details at http://www.teva.com/ or call (800) 367-8382 for more info.