What does mud, the forest floor, gravel and granite have in common? Everything if you’re an avid trail runner. When you’ve got a spring in your step and a passion for bipedalism (we also love big words) you need a shoe that meets the tastes of today’s modern adventurer. In an effort to meet the demands of this growing group of enthusiasts, Teva spent more than four years developing the TevaSphere technology that solves a real problem for outdoor athletes who face a diverse range of terrain and obstacles in their outdoor pursuits. No longer will you need to fumble through three pair of extra kicks in your closet but grab only the most versatile trail shoes on the planet.
From concept to execution, the lengthy process of trial, error and rigorous testing was a combined effort between our product design manager, Chris Hillyer and our in-house Dr. Geoffrey Gray. Hilyer shares some insightful details about one of our most ambitious projects to date.
Compared to other shoes, what’s different about TevaSphere technology? Why didn’t this exist before and what does it offer that other shoes don’t?
The story is really pretty simple. The heels of our feet are spherical which allow them to contact the ground in various angles. By mimicking this on the shoe we are able to create a more natural point of impact and in turn reduce deceleration forces on our body caused by shoes with conventional blocky heels. The stability comes from pods located directly under the arches in our feet to offer support when our feet begin to fatigue. It is a very new way of looking at how the foot interacts with not only shoes but with the ground. Many footwear manufacturers have been focusing on minimalistic footwear but by reducing the amount of integrity under the foot, many users have experienced lower leg injury. TevaSphere has been designed to allow for the freedom of a minimalistic shoe but provides a supportive platform.
What went into the process of creating the “perfect shoe” with the help of Dr. Gray?
It really came down to testing. There are tons of good ideas out there but unless you can substantiate your claims, they are only ideas. TevaSphere went through years of testing to accomplish the ability to stabilize the foot by orienting the pods only where they are necessary.
Where have your TevaSphere’s taken you? Where have you personally used yours and what activities are they intended for?
I have done a bunch of different things from walking around town to hiking but most of my time has been trail running. They have taken me on some pretty wild trails in Utah to the bike path next to the office.
Between trail running, obstacle races and mud runs the modern outdoor shoe demand a lot of performance. What makes Tevasphere such a dynamic piece of footwear?
It all boils down to support and stability. If you are looking for a minimalistic experience, the TevaSphere gives you a better platform.
What can’t you do in a TevaSphere?
Pretty awful for skiing—too cold.
Testing the technology in these shoes has to be a pretty involved process. Can you tell us about some of your conversations with Peak Performance Project?
We dug pretty deep into how little the foot needs to have support and stability without compromising a more natural motion. We also discussed moving laterally since so many activities outside of running and walking require that. TevaSphere is still the most stable shoe they have ever tested.