Flip flops are a controversial subject for many shooters, in fact, I have taken a talking to in the comments section before for doing gun reviews in such. But what if I told you a combat grade sandal really does exist? Because it does, and today I’m gonna tell you why you might need it.
Reaching way back into my early military career as a Reconnaissance Marine, two pieces of footwear were universal. Green jungle boots, and Teva sandals. The Teva sandal, despite being a bit of a hippie corporation, was the gold standard for amphibious commandos of the USMC. Why you may ask? Because we spent an ungodly amount of time in the water, both the ocean and the swamp. The proper name of the school for Recon Marines is actually Amphibious Reconnaissance School (on the East Coast at least), and they mean it.
When you spend perhaps a week plus with wet or semi-wet feet, taking your boots off only to change socks once in a while, you gotta air them dogs out. The same goes for hours and hours in the ocean. An over the horizon zodiac ride, 3-4 hours doing a landing beach survey, and back again takes its toll.
But, for reasons especially true to young men, you might need to fight and/or run even when you are relaxing after a mission. And if you have ever tried to do either in a Dollar Store shower shoe, you know it isn’t going to work out well. Which is the key difference in Teva Sandals, and I would assume the various knock-offs. They are designed to be both incredibly durable and stay on your feet in the worst of conditions. With some secure Velcro straps front and rear, you can do near anything a sneaker can. It might not be the most comfortable way to put a couple of miles on the asphalt at Myrtle Beach Bike Week, but it beats the pants off of barefoot.
War stories aside, how does this apply to you? Well, the obvious, it’s summer. Carrying a gun and being prepared for trouble shouldn’t mean you have to dress a certain way. Just like you might switch over to the Scandium J frame for the board shorts, you don’t need to wear steel toes to the beach. If things do go pear-shaped, it is still nice to have footwear that will get you out of Dodge.
The second applies to perhaps long-term tactical situations. If you find yourself out in the bush for a very long time, hygiene for your feet becomes a big issue. Even without the ability to bathe properly, just a little sunlight and air for your soles can work wonders for avoiding trench foot and or fungal infections. This was a big deal in OIF 1 when water was very hard to come by. If you don’t even have enough to drink, you aren’t gonna waste it washing your toes. But since we said tactical, you also can’t be laid up barefoot daydreaming. Slapping on a set of Teva’s out of your ruck is a pretty decent compromise. Not my first choice to do the Mogadishu Mile in, but far, far from my last.
Teva, in my mind, makes the absolute best of the offroad, outdoor, SHTF good to have sandals. They are commonly found amongst not only Recon Marines, but SEALS, SF Dive teams, and of course Air Force CCT/JTAC types. I’ve attended a firefight in Teva’s, ranger panties, and armor only, which is also not exactly rare among SOF from this war. On my 4th or 5th set now, this is one I can highly recommend. If you prefer partial nudity for your toes but don’t wanna be completely lacking, TEVA is the weapon of choice.