Much like death and taxes, owning a pair of Teva sandals is inevitable. Since the brand’s founding in 1984 by geophysicist and avid rafter Mark Thatcher, the Velcro-strapped sandal has been worn by fashion designers, CEOs, outdoors people, and more. The chief allure for all of them is that Tevas are practical.
But thanks to the jolie laide shoe phenomenon (kick-started back in 2013 with Phoebe Philo’s Celine “furkenstocks”), Tevas have become more than just a functional shoe in 2019. Not only are Teva sandals now trendy—a fact that recent collaborations with Anna Sui and Outdoor Voices prove—but according to Lyst, Tevas are the trendiest shoes of the year so far. The shopping website’s just-released Lyst Index, which determines the “hotness” of a product via a proprietary metric that takes into account the habits of the site’s 5 million monthly users as well as social media stats, ranks Teva’s Hurricane XLT2 sandals as the hottest women’s shoe and the second hottest women’s product for the second quarter of 2019. The website estimates that searches for the shoe increased 350 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2018, making it more popular than any stiletto or sneaker in the market. The only item to outpace the Teva on Lyst’s report comes from—who else?—Virgil Abloh, whose Off-White Jitney bag ranks as the site’s “hottest” item.
Surprised that the Teva is more covetable than a bodysuit worn by Beyoncé or Gigi Hadid’s favorite tee? It’s remarkable that without much fanfare, advertising, or influencer marketing, Tevas have risen to become the shoes of the summer, but if we learned anything from summer 2018’s omnipresent flip-flop or summer 2017’s love affair with the Birkenstock, no-nonsense shoes make a big impact. “The Originals collection is on fire right now! We’re seeing significant increases in sales in this collection and had some retailers selling out of their inventory before the summer even hit. The iconic styling resonates with the casual outdoor girl while our new platforms and heights allow for the urban fashion-driven consumer to be represented as well,” says Mark Magruder, a senior product line manager of Teva. As for the sandal style that outperformed other fashionable shoes, Magruder explains the appeal thus, “The Hurricane XLT2 is a style that has been in our line for a long time and was designed to be a functional sport sandal. It’s an authentic, quick-drying, trail-ready sandal that is also hitting on a lot of utilitarian fashion trends at the moment. It really took off in Japan a few years ago and we have been pleased to see it resonate with so many consumers across the globe.”
What’s more, other brands’ interpretations of Teva sandals might actually be boosting sales of the original product. Look back through Vogue Runway’s galleries of the Spring 2019 season, and you’ll find a lot of sandals that imitate the look of Tevas. On Instagram, women are not only posting shoefies in their Tevas, but some have gone so far as to create their own footwear brands inspired by the originals. The Trekky, designed by the brand Arizona Love, is a bandana-covered take on the Teva that has been sold out on MatchesFashion.com for weeks.
Maybe it’s our collective obsession with getting away and escaping it all that’s making the Teva the coolest shoe of the summer. “They were always my favorite warm-weather vacation shoe, great for walking on the beach or visiting local artisan bazaars,” Anna Sui told Footwear News. “I’ve worn them to beach vacations in Tahiti, Thailand, and Mexico. I usually accessorize them with anklet socks.” Scroll through the 265,245 Instagram posts that are hashtagged #teva, and you’ll see that plenty of shoppers seem to agree that nothing pairs with a little wanderlust like a functional shoe.
Originally Appeared on Vogue