TevaSphere Speed Review
In the fitness world, we see and hear about all kinds of different footwear. From barefoot technology to laceless shoes, the search for the perfect shoe is never ending.
Teva have invented the TevaSphere Speed, a shoe they claim is perfectly designed to meet the needs of the outdoor athlete. The claim is that the spherical heel and pod-arch system delivers a more natural point of impact, efficient transition and superior stability on varied terrain.
Most runners are heel strikers, so the shoe has been designed to work with the runners biomechanics, an approach rather different to the barefoot technology which makes runners alter their gait to run in a more efficient manner. The TevaSphere Speed combines the rounded heel with a pod-arch system, designed to provide additional stability against over-pronation and supination of the ankle. The Teva argument is that it is better to change the running shoe rather than the stride.
So we know the claims, but do they work?
When you first put the TevaSphere Speed on, you are really aware that they feel different to ordinary trainers. The stability afforded through the mid foot is remarkable, I even tried to supinate and pronate to see how the shoes reacted. They offer far more support than normal trainers. The shoes are also slim-fitting which makes them glove-like and extra supportive.
When you start to walk, the difference in the heel is apparent – we are almost all heel strikers whilst walking, regardless of the shoes we wear. In the TevaSphere there is a distinct lack of impact through the heel, but at the slow speed we walk at that can also feel like a lack of support. I didn’t let this put me off though, as they are designed for running, not walking!
During a run, this is where the TevaSphere Speed shoes come into their own. The lack of heel strike impact is a good thing at speed, making them feel more comfortable. On a flat surface you can get more from the pod arch support as the whole sole of the shoe hits the floor.
The shoe is particularly comfortable during running as the unique design features come to life and do the job they were designed for. Having been a trainer-wearer all of my life, I have never had the level of support during road running that these shoes provide.
I tested the TevaSphere Speed across a few different terrains – the treadmill, the road and eventually the rugged paths across the edge at Alderley Edge. I wanted to give the shoes the workout they required to provide a thorough review! The TevaSphere Speed have taken me across paths, roads, mud, puddles. They survived, and more importantly, so did I!
The TevaSphere Speed shoes are designed for the outdoor athlete and in particular, rugged terrain running. Perhaps rather controversially though, I don’t think they suit this need as well as they suit running on a road.
On uneven terrain I found that the pod arch didn’t quite hit the floor square-on, meaning much of the benefit you get from it on a flat surface disappears. I am not saying the TevaSphere Speed are a bad choice for uneven terrain running, but they aren’t any better than a normal running shoe on uneven ground in my opinion.
There is a limitation is for the general exerciser. The TevaSphere Speed aren’t ideal for weight lifting and general gym work due to the rounded heel. In the gym it is important to sit your weight over your heels on most of the lifts, so a shoe that purposely removes the heel isn’t a good idea for balance when weight training. Stick to running only in them is my advice.
My only real concern around the design comes from a proprioceptive viewpoint. When we move, our bodies make thousands of minute adjustments every second to keep us balanced and stable. The TevaSphere Speed offers so much support in the mid foot that it just wouldn’t suit everyone – if you have a neutral biomechanic action for example, I could imagine the lateral support of the sole would force your foot into too much pronation, potentially causing ankle, knee, hip or lower back problems.
That’s not to say these things are certain, but amongst a percentage of runners with specific requirements these shoes may be a step too far.
Aesthetically, a quick straw poll among my clients said they didn’t like the look. Personally I don’t really pick my training wear on looks – it’s equipment, not fashion. The TevaSphere’s however need some work. There is a definite question mark over the quality of the materials. The mesh upper isn’t bad, but the material at the toes feels pretty plastic-like. Small details really, but if you are after kit that looks decent alongside performing well maybe have a good look at them before buying.
Putting these details aside, if you are a runner I would seriously consider the TevaSphere Speed. The support offered from the unique sole design make them a fantastic shoe for runners. They really are unique and if you are serious about running, my advice would absolutely be to give them a try.
For more information on the TevaShpere Speed, check their website.