We've All Been Pronouncing 'Teva' Wrong This Entire Time

They're some of our favorite travel shoes — so it's time to set this straight.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Cruise Fashion
Photo: Lucas Visser

Teva: it's a household name for any nature-lover, synonymous with sturdy, weather-proof hiking sandals. Nothing ambiguous about it, right?

Wrong. We're here to tell you that, contrary to the common vernacular, this well-known brand name is pronounced teh-vah. TEH-vah. Not tee-vah. Sorry.

Those who know Hebrew will recognize the origins of the name: טבע, the word for "nature" or "the outdoors." A fitting moniker for a shoe that's been a favorite of hikers, campers, and explorers for decades.

The classic Teva sandals were invented in the early '80s by a Grand Canyon river rafting guide who was frustrated by flip-flops that could easily fall off and be carried away with the current. His solution? Rigging a sturdier sandal using velcro watch bands and a little ingenuity.

Men's Walking Shoes
Courtesy of Zappos

In the 1980s, the first Teva sandal was born when a Grand Canyon river guide rigged two watchbands to an old pair of flip-flops with Velcro to reduce their risk of being swept off in the current. This utilitarian style and adventurous spirit still informs the brand today, making them a great pick for the heat of summer vacation season.

He started selling his invention out of the back of his car, eventually patenting the model and expanding Teva into the footwear giant it is today. Somehow, though, the true pronunciation of the name was lost to the ages.

We've recommended models of their hiking sandals, winter boots, casual booties, and more — so we figured we'd do our part to set the record straight. Mostly because it blew our minds, too.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles