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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Teva Dalea eVent Shoes > Test Report by Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Teva Dalea
Teva Dalea Mid eVent Boots
Test Series by Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
Initial Report: October 1, 2009
Field Report: January 5, 2010
Long Term Report: March 3, 2010


Tester Information


Name: Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Age: 31

Gender: Female

Height: 5'5" (1.65 m)

Weight: 135 lb (61 kg)

Email: rebecca@backpackgeartest.org

Location: Sunnyvale, California


Backpacking Background

I spend most weekends, and many full weeks a year, exploring the variety of scenery and terrain that California has to offer. My favorite area is the Sierra Nevada, and I spend several weeks backpacking there each summer. I follow lightweight, but not ultralight, backpacking techniques and am known to carry a few luxury items from time to time. In addition to traditional backpacking I enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, and snowcamping, as well as long day hikes, geocaching, peak bagging, and running. 



Product Information


Manufacturer:  Teva

Item:  Dalea Mid eVent Boots

Size:  9.5 (womens)

Listed weight:  none

Measured weight:  2 lb 0.5 oz (pair)

Year:  2009

MSRP:  $140



Initial Report: October 1, 2009



The Teva Dalea Mid is a waterproof leather mid-height women's boot.  Specifically, it features Scotchguarded suede and nubuck outer, eVent waterproof membrane, and a Vibram sole for traction. The pair I received came in the color 'Chocolate Chip' which is a combination of standard leathery neutral shades of brown.  A close inspection of the shoe reveals clean seams and stitching.

Dalea  Dalea  Dalea

I want to expand on my bio above to include some information about my feet. One of my most troublesome parts, I've spent years trying to dial in the perfect foot solution for the trail. To me, a holistic foot solution is made of up the trio of insoles, shoes, and socks.  


Dalea and footMy feet suffer from three problems - overpronation (flat feet), wide ball and narrow heel (duck feet), and toes that tilt funny.  These problems all result in their own issues and I've had to deal with them all. My flat feet cause medial tibial stress ("shin splints") along with foot and hip pain. My wide forefoot and narrow heel cause terrible fit problems (usually resulting in blisters from heel slippage), and I often get blisters between my toes.


I've been able to solve the flat foot issue with several visits to a sports podiatrist and custom orthotics. I've solved the toe blister problem with socks.  And until recently, I had solved the fit problem with a light hiker style shoe that fit my duck feet perfectly. Unfortunately, that shoe has recently been redesigned and no longer fits my foot like a dream, so I have been on the lookout for a hiker that will fit my poor feet. I recently purchased a pair of lightweight Teva hikers that fit quite well, but wanted to try something more robust for the wet winter months.  Enter the Dalea.


With that background, I hope it's understandable that I was quite nervous upon trying these on for the first time, sight unseen.  Miraculously, my feet slid into the Dalea perfectly. I typically wear a size 9.5 womens for athletic footwear (hiking and running), even though my standard measured size is closer to an 8.5-9. I usually stick to a regular width and suffer from some pinching in the ball of my foot (wide shoes tend to cause my heel to slip, resulting in painful blisters).  All of my hiking and running shoes are size 9.5 regular, so that is what I chose when ordering the Dalea. They fit just like I would expect - my foot feels very comfortable in them, but I can feel some extra room. Room that I want so my feet can swell. They feel slightly narrow in the forefoot (like almost every regular width shoe I wear), but nothing too tight or pinchy.

The only thing that was out of sorts with the Daleas were the laces. The  left boot has a lace that is plenty long to tie, but the right boot came with a  shorter lace that is just barely long enough to tie. Odd, but workable.


I don't normally wear a mid height hiker or waterproof boots - I'm more of a lightweight trailrunner style girl. However, I often regret my choice of footwear when hiking in the Bay Area in the winter (due to mud and heavy rain), and I am also unable to use my typical footwear when I head up to the mountains to snowshoe.  I am very excited to try out this well-fitting boot in the conditions where I hope it will excel.


My testing plans include a lot of muddy dayhiking over the next several months. The rainy season will be upon us soon here in Northern California, and the local trails will change from their dusty, gravely terrain to slippery mud bogs. On these hikes, I'll be testing out the Dalea's traction, waterproofness, and ability to keep clean.  


On other weekends we'll be heading up to the mountains to play in the snow. I'll be trying out the Daleas with my Atlas snowshoes, and maybe even strap on some Kahtoola crampons if I have the chance. Lastly, I'll be taking the Daleas down to Death Valley for some cross-country peak bagging, exploration, and canyon hiking. The traction and durability of the Daleas will certainly be tested well under these conditions. 


These boots have already passed an enormous hurdle simply by fitting my picky and hard-to-please feet. I'm really looking forward to getting them out on the trail!



Field Report: January 5, 2010


During the Field Testing period I put 112 miles (180 km) of hiking on the Teva Dalea eVent boots. These miles were put on the boots over the course of about 17 different hikes over a wide variety of terrain. The boots experienced everything from flat groomed pavement-style hiking to ankle-deep mud in a downpour. About 40 of the miles (64 km) involved cross-country desert travel combined with class 3 rock scrambling.  The majority of the miles were split between hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area (generally well-groomed trail or fire road hiking) and Sierra travel (rocky, large steps, switchbacks).

The shortest mileage I spent in the Daleas in a single day was 5 miles (8 km) and the longest in a single day was 13 miles (21 km). 

The Daleas after 112 miles (180 km):

Boots after 112 miles

Fit and Comfort

The Teva Daleas fit incredibly well. Whether heading up or down a steep trail, I've never encountered serious rubbing or hotspots. I have not had a single blister with the Daleas. As mentioned in the Initial Report I wear these with a custom insole prescribed by a sports podiatrist. This insole has more volume than the standard insole that comes with the boot, so my fit is a bit different than the out-of-the-box fit. The best part is that these haven't required any breaking in - they fit and felt great from the first step.

The only minor problem I've noticed is something that happens with a lot of footwear for me, and that is some pinching in the ball of the foot. I expected this (see the Initial Report) due to the shape of my foot and given the other option (a wide shoe that will likely slip in the heel), this is a compromise I'm willing to make. The pinching rarely leads to worse problems (like blisters) so I don't mind it too much. The only time I actually noticed it bothering me with the Daleas was when I was hiking on steep terrain in a downpour.

I've found the boots to be a bit warm in some conditions. As someone who is used to mesh trailrunners this is expected, but they surprisingly weren't *too* warm, even when out on a warm and sunny fall day in California. That said, if this were a summer test I don't think I would have used them as much as I was able to at this time of year. I expect these to primarily be a 'winter' boot for me (winter = cool and rainy in this part of the country).

Waterproofness

This brings me to my next point - the waterproofness of the Daleas. The eVent liner promises waterproof breathable boots. On two occasions I accidentally dunked my boot in ~3 inch (8 cm) deep water. Both times I was fishing and working my way down a river on a fishermans trail, paying more attention to the overgrown bushes than the feeder streams. Each time the water rolled right off the boot and I didn't get any water in the boot. 

The first 'rain hike' was in mid-November at Almaden Quicksilver County Park. I went out for some photography of the fall colors and old mining ruins in the drizzly fog. My hike was about 6 miles (9.7 km) long with a couple thousand feet of gain (610 m), and I was taking it rather slowly due to the photography. I was on both fire road and single-track trail. The light drizzle was constant, and I was bundled up in my waterproof gear. Probably the most comfortable part of me was my feet. They stayed warm and dry the entire day. The traction was also quite good on the muddy stretches of single-track.

In early December some friends and I decided to go hiking, and of course the only day we could all get together was the one day of downpour in the forecast. No worries - we're tough and experienced, and a little bit of rain won't stop us. We decided to hike Mt Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco. The hike would be short - about six miles (9.7 km) round trip with 2000 feet (610 m) of elevation gain. We packed for the weather and I was really looking forward to pushing the Daleas to their limits.

For the first half of the hike my feet were dry and warm much like the previous rainy hike. Even though the rain was coming down in torrents my feet stayed dry. Unfortunately, I was not wearing waterproof pants and as the hike went on my legs got soaked. About 3 miles in, I noticed that my socks were squishing in the Daleas. My feet were soaked too. I was not able to determine if this was due to a failure on the part of the boot, or if water was getting in via my soaked legs. I am leaning strongly towards the latter since it would have been very easy for the water to soak the top of the socks, which in turn would wick the water into the boot. During the Long Term testing phase I hope to get the boots out on another rainy hike where I will wear waterproof pants and gaiters. 

Durability

The Daleas have withstood some incredibly rough conditions with only minor wear and tear. I'd consider the damage to the boots to be perfectly normal, even better than expected, for 100+ miles. I've included some pictures below to show some of the basic wear to the boots - some chunks our of the tread, gouges in the leather, and some pieces missing and peeling of the rubber around the toe. 

Peeling toe Tread Leather  Toe Leather damage

I put these boots through quite a workout in the desert over Thanksgiving week, bagging 5 cross-country peaks with rocky scrambles. They withstood cactus pokes and dragging through pokey bushes, getting caught on sharp rocks and other hazards. I've never brought a shoe or boot back from the desert in as good condition as these are still in. I even enjoyed wearing them while rock hopping and scrambling up steep hillsides. The traction was great and the high sides helped keep out desert detritus when I forgot my gaiters.

Overall Impressions

The Teva Dalea has been a delight to test. I do not usually like ankle-height boots but that hasn't bothered me in the least with these boots. They are light and flexible enough that they required no breaking in and felt closer to a trail runner style than a boot style of hiking footwear. They've performed very well in a wide range of conditions and I will continue to investigate the waterproofness in the Long Term report. Please check back in about 2 months for the results.



Long Term Report: March 3, 2010


Due to a house purchase and move, the Long Term Testing period has included fewer miles than the Field Testing period, but I put the Daleas through their hardest test yet on two long day hikes after sustained rain storms. In my Field Report I said that I wanted to test out the waterproofness of these shoes a bit more, and I certainly had that opportunity during the past two months!

The first hike was in the East Bay Foothills outside of Oakland, California. I was hiking a segment of the Bay Area Ridge trail that took me from exposed fire road ridge trails to dark and muddy shaded single track. Although the sun tried to peek through from time to time, the hike was interrupted by several brief squalls and I found myself adding and removing waterproof layers over and over again as conditions changed. It was a cold day for central California and I do not think temperatures got much above 50 F (10 C). It had rained continuously during the previous week and although the fire roads were well-drained, the single track trails were muddy and saturated. The hike was 13 miles (~21 km) long with about 3000 feet (914 m) of elevation gain.

Rather than describe the trail conditions in detail, following are some pictures to show what I was dealing with that day.


On the fire road, conditions were generally easy-going, but along a few steep stretches the mud got slick. Here are my tracks after hiking down a steep grade. Although I slid a bit, the traction was remarkably good - especially compared to several other tracks I saw through here!

Muddy Trail


Once I got off of the fire road and onto single track, the real mud started. In fact, I saw some barefoot tracks - probably not a bad idea in these conditions! I was sinking up to my ankles in the Daleas, yet my feet stayed dry. Amazing!

Barefoot hiker]  Buried in the mud

 

As stated in my Field Report, I am very happy with these boots, but it was this hike that sealed the deal. I confirmed that my wet feet on a prior hike were indeed due to wicking and not due to leaking of the boots. On this hike my feet stayed completely dry and warm. I was blown away at the end of the hike when I got back to my car and had dry feet.  They were perfectly comfortable, and the only reason I felt the need to change footwear was because of the mud. 

The next week, some friends and I decided to hike a 12 mile (~19 km) loop at Big Basin State Park. There are some beautiful waterfalls that are always stunning after a big rain. Of course, this means we were hiking on yet another long stretch of muddy trail, and this time we had a lot of redwood deadfall to hop over.  Although it did not rain on this hike, I had plenty of opportunity to get wet. I was constantly hopping the creek to take photos and splashed my feet in the shallow water on more than one occasion. Yet, my feet stayed completely dry and warm.

Wear and Tear

The Daleas are in a very similar condition to their state at the end of the Field Report period, just a bit muddier. I've experienced no additional significant deterioration, and they look exactly as I would expect a pair of lightweight boots to look after about 150 miles (242 km) of heavy use in a variety of rough conditions.

Summary

I am extremely pleased with the Teva Dalea boots and am certain that they have many more miles left in them. Although winter will soon be over here in California and I won't have a use for a waterproof hiker, I will keep these at a place of prominence in my gear closet, knowing that I have a durable, reliable, and sturdy boot available whenever conditions call for it. Thanks very much to Teva for testing these boots with BackpackGearTest - it opened my eyes to a different style than I usually wear and helped me discover another boot that fits my strange feet comfortably.








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