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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > Sperry Topsider H20 Bungee Sneaker > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto

H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers
by

Sperry Top-Sider

Reviewed by Jamie DeBenedetto
Updated November 28th, 2014


Report Contents

INITIAL REPORT
July 14th, 2014

FIELD REPORT
Sept. 24th, 2014

LONG TERM REPORT
Nov. 28th, 2014

Reviewer's Information

Field Tests July through September

Collective Use and Field Conditions

Product Information & Description

Field Notes

Long Term Conclusions

Arrival Condition

Pros and Cons

Final Thoughts

First Impressions

 

 

Initial Report
July 14th, 2014


Reviewer's Information

Name Jamie DeBenedetto

Me and the Saguaro

Age and Gender 41 year old female

Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Weight 170 lb (77 kg)

Shoe Size Woman's 11 or 11.5 (US) / Men's 9.5 to 10.5 (US)

Email JamieD1005(at)gmail.com

Background/Experience

I spent many hours of my youth fishing, rafting, creeking, and day-hiking in the wild places of Arizona. I caught the backpacking bug in high school. Presently I work as an exPAWdition leader so I'm in the field, usually with a pack of dogs, at least sixteen times a month. Primarily I'm a day-hiker with the occasional family camping trip mixed in throughout the year.
I prefer hammocks over ground sleeping and I gravitate toward multifunctional gear that enhances my comfort level with minimal fuss and weight. My total pack weight is typically less than 25 lbs (11 kg).

Location

Phoenix, Arizona - The Grand Canyon State - USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Product Information Back to contents

Manufacture URL

www.sperrytopsider.com

Year of Manufacture

Presumed 2014

Made in

China

MSRP

$90.00 (US dollars)

Available Colors

Grey/Camo, Navy, Orange/Blue

Available Sizes

Men's 7 to 13 in Medium Width

Weight per Shoe

5.6 oz / 160 g (size of shoe weighed was not specified)
Care Instructions Hand wash, air dry
Warranty Info No specific warranty information was found on the manufacture's website but they do offer a return policy: "Merchandise must be returned in its original unworn condition and received WITHIN 45 DAYS OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE (invoice date)." They do not offer exchanges.

(Above: Taken from the Manufacturer's Website or Packaging)

(Below: Observed by Tester as Received)

Weight per Shoe 7.9 oz / 224 g
Test Size and Color Men's USA 10M / UK 9 / EUR 43 - Orange/Blue

 

It's a hoodie!Product Description Back to contents

The Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers are a very light slip-on water shoe. The sole has what Sperry calls Adaptive Wave-Siping™ which is supposed to offer traction on both wet and dry surfaces. The top of the shoe has several mesh-like areas designed to allow water to exit. There are also solid areas of material protecting parts of the heel area, the toe and the attachment points for the bungee laces. There is stretchy material around the ankle and along what would be the tongue at the top of the arch to facilitate putting on and taking off the sneaker. The laces adjust via a cord-lock and clip. On the inside of the shoe there is a removable foot bed. There are many small holes and ten slender channels etched into the underside of the insert. These are designed to direct water away from the underside of the foot bed and into built-in "Internal Water Channels". These channels run the length of the midsole with exit points on both sides of the heel section and the toe box. A lightweight permeable lining covers the base of the midsole to keep debris out of the channels and exit holes.

Arrival Condition and Informational Material Back to contents

The H20 Escape Sneakers arrived in perfect condition. After an initial inspection I did not find any manufacturing defects or any other areas of concern that would need to be addressed before testing could begin.

There wasn't any informational material included with this product.

Expectations and First Impressions Back to contents

They fit! Like many women, I'm afflicted with an unexplainable love for shoes. Sadly I often have a hard time finding properly fitting ones because I have a long, narrow foot. To accommodate my length I often have to buy men's which often end up being too wide. In this case the women's Escape Sneakers topped out at size 10, I am an 11, so I was stuck with the men's option. Fortunately, the Sperry webpage offers a sizing guide that compares their products to other brands so the buyer can hopefully get a more accurate size reading. It appears to have worked well in my case. The shoes are a little wide in the toe area but I do plan to wear them with socks most of the time so I'm not expecting any problems.

Having worn them around a bit already without socks I can see there will need to be a break-in period. After a few hours I noticed tender spots developing on both of my heels. I'm not overly worried about this as it's pretty normal with shoes of any kind but if it continues longer than what seems reasonable I'll make a note about it in my Field Report.

They are indeed very light as the website suggests. I was pleased with this aspect because obviously once something is wet it gets heavier and the last thing I want in a water shoe is something that makes me feel like I'm slogging around ten pounds extra on each foot.

My only concerns about these shoes at this time are how securely the bungee cords will be able to keep the sneakers on my feet and how well they will hold up to the rocky nature of our streams and creeks. Beyond that they seem well made and have a ton of potential so I'm looking forward to getting outside with them.

Back to contents

Field Report
September 24th, 2014


Field Tests July through September Back to contents

Since July I have used the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers weekly while working, for day hikes to lakes and in and out of creeks and to our local water park with my kids. To date they have been worn in the field 22 times. Use times varied between 4 and 10 hours. Below are some of my more notable trips.

Hiking and water play at Bartlett Lake, near Cave Creek, Arizona, elevation 1,600 ft (490 m). The surrounding terrain is Upper and Lower Sonoran Desert with somewhat course sand and granite pebbles near the water's edge. Weather was overcast with temperatures in the high 90's F (36 C). The picture on the right is from this trip, which was my first water test.

Three day trip for hiking, creek exploration and fishing in Prescott, AZ. We were in several places but the average elevation was around 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The dominant terrain is pine forest interspersed with high chaparral. Weather was mostly clear in the daytime with thunderstorms bringing light rain in the afternoons/evenings. Temperatures ranged from 94 F to 62 F (34 to 17 C).

Hiking and water play in Cave Creek, near Cave Creek, AZ, elevation 2,300 ft (700 m). Getting to the creek requires hiking through Sonoran Desert terrain, in and around the creek it's muddy, rocky and sandy. This area was visited twice in Aug. and once in Sept. Weather in Aug. was clear with temps in the upper 80's F (31 C). In Sept. the weather was overcast with temperatures a few degrees cooler.

Rainy day hike near New River, AZ, elevation 2,300 ft (700 m). This was a work hike along a desert trail/wash to a perennial spring. Terrain is rocky, sandy and peppered with many types of cacti. Weather was cloudy with a decent down pour for the last half hour of our walk. The temperature was around 82 F (28 C).

Field Notes Back to contents

In the conditions I've been wearing the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers they've performed fabulously with one exception, blisters. I should qualify that statement by saying with socks the sneakers were spot on. Without, I've had trouble, primarily on my heels. The worst occurrence of this happened on the day I wore them to our local water park. My feet were wet continuously for about 8 hours with lots of walking. By day's end I had hot spots on a few of my toes and a blister on each heel. Prior to this trip I had worn the sneakers for three consecutive days while fishing/hiking in Prescott, AZ. On those outings I used a pair of wool hiking socks in conjunction with the Sperry's resulting in no issues with blisters or hot spots whatsoever.

While in Prescott I also discovered the sneakers do pretty well with steep terrain. Prescott is quite hilly so getting into and staying in the creek we were exploring involved lots of ups and downs both on trails and off. Although the Sperry sneakers do not provide ankle support, the traction was more than I expected, giving me quite a lot of confidence to scramble in and out of the creek as needed. The rocks in the creek were occasionally covered in algae but the shoes dealt with that as well. I remained sure-footed, which is to say, dry through our entire day of exploration.

Following my trip to Bartlett Lake, which has a very pebbly shoreline, I noticed most of the tiny holes in the inserts were clogged. Because I was wearing the sneakers with socks I couldn't feel the pebbles so they didn't affect my comfort but they certainly weren't easy to remove. Even with pressure from my backyard hose most of the tiny stones had to be picked out of the foamy inserts by hand or poked out with a toothpick. For this task I was glad the inserts were removable. It was nice to be able to leave them out so the insides of the shoes could be completely rinsed and dried as well.

The removable inserts do present another unforeseen negative, however. I noticed when taking my feet out of the Sperry sneakers while they are dry and I'm not wearing socks the inserts always pull out too. This is for now just a slight annoyance but I'm noticing more and more wear and tear on the inserts each time they are pulled out that way. They are after all just foam and I wonder how long they can take the stress without damage.

My biggest concern about the Sperry Top-Sider Sneakers when they first arrived was the bungee cord tightening option. I haven't personally had good luck with water shoes staying put when they employ a cordlock. Well so far my concerns have been for not. I've completely submerged these shoes on several occasions into some pretty thick mud and they've resurfaced still attached to my feet each time. I haven't even really had to cinch them down tightly yet so I'm very excited about their usability in inhospitable conditions. The picture on the right is one of the many muddy dunkings these shoes have endured.

Pros and Cons Thus Far Back to contents

Pleasing Aspects…

*Zero break-in needed when worn with socks
*Traction was great on steep slopes and slippery rocks
*Bungee cordlock combo kept the shoes on my feet
*Fairly easy to clean

Underwhelming Aspects…

*Have had some blisters when using them without socks
*Removable insoles come out too easily when I'm taking the sneakers off
*Tiny pebbles catch in the small holes of the inserts

Back to contents

 

 

 

Long Term Report
November 28th, 2014

Collective Use and Field Conditions Back to contents

In the last two months of this test I was able to use the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers ten more times for an overall total of 32 days in the field. Seven of these outings were in the Phoenix, Arizona area, taking place on mostly dry dirt/rocky trails with only two or three creek crossings. The other three excursions involved more extensive use of the sneakers so I've provided more details regarding these field conditions below.

Day hike and fishing trip to the Verde River near Fountain Hills, AZ, elevation 1,500 ft (460 m). The day was clear with temperatures between 84 and 75 F (29 and 24 C). I was wearing the Sperry Sneakers for about 7 hours, at least 5 of those while standing or walking in the river.

Two-hour day hike along Skunk Creek in Peoria, AZ, elevation 1,200 ft (360 C). The area where I walk is a mix of natural creek bed and concrete water channels surrounded by desert flora. This particular day was slightly overcast with temps in the upper 80's (31 C).

Afternoon/evening hike through Sabino Canyon in Tucson, AZ. Elevation runs between 2,800 ft up to 3,300 ft (850 m to1,000 m). Three hours of hiking on dirt track, in and out of the creek and on paved paths. The average temp was about 75 F (24 C).

Long Term Conclusions Back to contents

I think it's fair to say Sperry Top-Sider did not create the H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers with the dry, dusty trails of the Sonoran Desert in mind. Given that assumption, I'm happy to say these shoes have performed pretty well. Nearly all the trips on which I've used these sneakers have started a few miles from the water, resulting in lots of opportunities to evaluate whether or not the soles would provide sufficient protection against the numerous species of cactus and other spiny plants we have in abundance here. On several occasions spines would stick into the side wall of the shoe or the underside but only once did I feel it through the bottom of the sole. The top of the shoe was a different story. Obviously, the same mesh material that's crucial for allowing the water to escape, easily allows other objects to poke through. I don't consider this a negative of the shoes, just a necessary limitation that changes the way I will use them in the future.

With regard to performance on our rocky trails and boulder strewn creek beds, again, I really think the sneakers did a decent job. One advantage of shoes over most sandals is toe protection. The Sperry's do not have much of a toe cap, but the area of material they do have was enough to keep my toes safe when I inadvertently banged into things. On the bottom of my feet I could certainly feel some of the more jagged stones through the soles as I walked, but not so much as to be troublesome or painful. Wearing them with socks negated my sensitivity to the hardness of the ground even more.

On algae covered rocks or muddy areas the sneakers really shined. For comparison I hiked the same track of river one week apart with the sneakers one day and my hiking boots the next. As best I could, I attempted to navigate basically the same route both times. The Sperry H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers were definitely better. I actually think the lighter more flexible make-up of the water shoes provided better traction by allowing more of my foot to wrap around the rocks. Small tear in blue sole

Durability-wise the sneakers are hanging in there. Although I feel like I've been kind of rough on them, the mesh portions of the shoes are totally intact. No rips or snag points. The soles are worn down some but still have a lot of life left in them. There is one very small section of the blue sole tearing away from the white footbed on my left shoe. (Hopefully you can see that in the picture.) This is just behind the point where my toes naturally bend.

The insoles are also still holding up, for how much longer I can't say. They now permanently have tiny pebbles imbedded in the drainage holes and the bend point at my toes is cracked a little. I do try to wash the shoes out after each use to remove debris and keep them clean but I've given up on the tedious task of attempting to clear all the little drain holes. It's far too time consuming and since I only wear the sneakers with socks now, I don't usually notice those small gravelly bits.

There have been a few occasions, like my Tucson trip, where I failed to wash out the shoes immediately upon returning to our hotel. They actually sat in a plastic bag in the back of my car with three other pairs of wet shoes for about 12 hrs. I was expecting the shoes to smell a bit funky the next day but surprisingly they did not. Despite having never used soap to clean the shoes or anything other than hose water and my hand they remain relatively sharp looking and have retained very little odor overall.

Final Thoughts Back to contents

The Sperry Top-Sider H20 Escape Bungee Sneakers have been a mostly comfortable go-to option for all the wet environments where I've used them. Once I solved the blister issue by simply wearing socks on every outing I was very happy with their fit. In the field they proved to be very reliable and offered excellent traction. The protection factor wasn't too bad. Given the rocky and spiky terrain in the desert and the light weight make up of these water shoes, I think they performed relatively well, although, I'm sure this type of use is cutting their lifespan down considerably. Choosing traction over protection was a bit of a trade-off for sure but one I'm not unhappy with. I think going forward I will plan to pack them into the areas where I need water shoes instead of wearing them in.

It's been a fun test, causing me to choose outings with more water features and they were all very rewarding. Thank you Sperry Top-Sider and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to be a part of this test series.

Jamie J. DeBenedetto - 2014

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