Back when I was a gangly, brace-faced middle schooler, Sperry was the "it" shoe of choice. Paired with low-rise Abercrombie jeans (which have coincidentally made a comeback) and not one, but two Hollister polos (collars popped up, of course), and Sperry's signature boat shoes were the preppy cherry on top.
Flash forward nearly two decades later, and once again, I am simply smitten with my Sperry shoes. Only this time, not because they make me look like I own a million dollar yacht. This time, I'm favoring function over beauty—though they're pretty darn cute, IMO—thanks to the brand new Sperry Sport line.
On a recent press trip to Miami, I got to experience the brand's launch firsthand, and put its new line of outdoor, water-friendly shoes to the test. With spring right around the corner and a summer full of adventures to look forward to, I couldn't wait to get these shoes on my feet. After two days of paddle boarding, swimming, boating, and other splashy activities, I already knew I'd be wearing these bad boys all season long.
Sperry Sport isn't the brand's first dive into seafaring sneaks—it was born on the water back in 1933 with its original slip-proof boat shoe, designed to help sailors stay on deck. Now, it wants sailors and anglers/kayakers/paddle boarders/swimmers/beach goers and more to enjoy the open water ("the world's biggest playground") with its new line of snazzy performance shoes. All six new styles are "built to withstand the rigors and demands of a wide range of activities on the water and the shoreline," according to a release, each made with that signature slip-proof tread, plus quick drying, comfortable materials.
After testing, I can vouch that these shoes are built to withstand "the rigors and demands" on and near the water. The Women's 7 Seas 3-Eye Sneaker ($90) has particularly won my heart, thanks to its versatility and waterproof-ness that can be worn way beyond the shoreline. It's technically a water shoe, so you can fully submerge it, worry-free. But its slip-on design and feather-light weight make it a perfect everyday shoe for things like commuting and running errands. Especially as the spring season rolls around and mid-day showers become more and more frequent, this casual sneaker will be your best friend, guaranteed to keep you comfortable and dry mid-stroll (while looking good, no less). Trust me—no one will ever know it's a water shoe.
The second style I know I'll be living in all summer long is the Women's Water Strider ($55), the water shoe you'll *actually* want to wear. My springs and summers are spent floating on boats and paddle boards, so I've tried a lot of water shoes—these go beyond your standard velcro sandal to something that'll keep you comfortable and looking cute.
First thing to note in the Water Striders is the look and feel. These colorful, perforated shoes feature a slip-on design that make them easy kick on and off, while the lightweight EVA materials feel like you're walking on clouds. These airy uppers makes them ideal for carrying in beach bags or packing in suitcases, not to mention stuffing in boat storage or under kayak seats.
And while other water shoes fall off mid-plunge or are too heavy to wear mid-paddle, I was impressed with how well they actually worked. That slip-on design stays on your feet, so you won't have to worry about them coming off after you dive in. (In the off chance they do, though, they float, making them easy to retrieve.) The bottom treads are sticky enough to make walking around on a boat deck or standing on a paddle board easy, without compromising your "feel" or balance points. And those perforations make drying them so quick—whether you're diving in completely or just getting splashed on shore, they're sure to dry in minutes.
No matter your spring or summer plans, Sperry Sport really does have a shoe for you. From braving a rainstorm Ato the open seas, these shoes will keep your feet happy no matter what.
Shop the rest of the Sperry Sport collection below
Soul Cycle meets sailing in this flexible waterproof sneaker. It looks like a cycling shoe, complete with the low profile and grippy sole. Only these feature a perforated neoprene sock-like upper supported by an innovative external TPU harness for a snugglier fit and more support. Available in navy and white.
Like the classic boat shoe, but better. These moccasins feature the brand’s deck-friendly tread that reduces slippage on wet and dry surfaces, water resistant leather for easy drying, and a molded EVA footbed for comfort in every step. Available in brown and grey.
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