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Teva

Mark Thatcher was the inventor of Teva (pronounced “teh-vah” not “tee-vah” from the Hebrew word for “nature”). While working as a rafting guide in 1982 he noticed the lack of proper shoes for river activities. Sneakers would become heavy when wet and would take days to dry and flip-flops would slide off feet very easily.

Thatcher fashioned a thong-style sandal with nylon ankle strapping, thus creating the first sport sandal. Thatcher patented his invention, found a manufacturer and began selling the “amphibious utility sandals” by himself, selling 200 pairs the first year. Although it was effective watersports footwear, it proved less effective for regular sports as the first Teva users often complained of blisters between the first and second toe caused by the thong-style strapping system. However, the following year a sudden high demand of Teva sandals arose as young Americans found the sandal highly fashionable. Tevas were originated in Flagstaff.

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