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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > Sperry Topsider H20 Bungee Sneaker > Test Report by Richard Lyon

Test Series by Richard Lyon

Initial Report July 6, 2014
Field Report expected September 2014
Long Term Report expected November 2014


Male, 67 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (89 kg)
Shoe size: US 13
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies.  I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Recently I've been actively reducing my pack weight, though I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences.  I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Summer adventures are often on centered on fly fishing opportunities.

INITIAL REPORT - July 6, 2014



Sperry Top-Sider, a venerable maker of boating shoes, lists the H20 Escape Bungee Sneaker in its Water Sports category. These are full shoes that envelop the foot entirely, with an insole, rubber sole, heel cup, and gusseted tongue. The upper is made of a flexible rubber and the shoe (sneaker, if you prefer) is cinched up by a bungee-type elastic cord with two sliders that weaves through three vertical fabric loops and a single eyelet at the top. The upper portion of each shoe is pockmarked with ventilation mesh. Unlike Sperry's iconic Top-Sider boating shoe, the sole has a grip on the heel, as pictured below.

Topsider sole Manufacturer: Sperry Top-Sider,
Size tested: Men's 13 US. Also available in half sizes from Men's 7 through 12. Medium width.
Color: Navy. Also available in Gray/Camo and Orange/Blue
Weight, measured:  10.0 oz (283 g) per shoe. [Note: As explained in the following section I had no opportunity to weigh the shoes out of the box. I did wash and dry them before placing them on the scale, so the measured weight shouldn't include much wilderness dirt.]
Related product: A Women's version is available in different (brighter) colors, in half sizes from Women's 6 through 10.
MSRP: $90 US


These shoes arrived, quite literally, as I was leaving home for a backpacking trip. I met the delivery truck at the foot of my driveway, tossed the box into the back of the car, and at the trailhead put the shoes in my pack in place of a different pair of water shoes. I used the shoes as camp shoes, fishing shoes, and for water crossings on a five-day service trip along the Benchmark, Deer Creek, and Bighead Trails in and adjacent to the southeastern portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana. The first two days had spotty weather, with frequent brief rain squalls, followed by three days of true Montana summer - sunny and bright. Temperatures from just below freezing at night to about 80 F (27 C) on the last few days.


Fit. These shoes fit my feet very snugly, requiring a slight tugging to pull them over my heel. I see this as a plus, likely to prevent unwanted objects such as pebbles from finding their way inside. I also like the Medium width. I have skinny ankles and often have a problem with heel movement in athletic shoes. So far I have not had that problem with the Escapes.

There's enough give in the rubber to permit wearing them with heavy socks, which I did on the service trip around camp and which I'll likely do when fishing for extended periods. On my brief fishing episodes in the Sun River (after all, this was a work trip) I didn't get any sand or pebbles underfoot.

Comfort. Our campsite, on a bank of the South Fork of the Sun River, held a mixture of grass, weeds, thistles, and many rocks. The soles of the Escapes protected my soles quite well from all elements underfoot and, unlike sandals, gave the top of my feet some defense against the nettles and thorns as I walked through tall grass or weeds.

Ventilation is adequate but not great. When wearing the Escapes in the sun my feet did warm up, but not to the point of discomfort. The Escapes dry quickly once out of the water, and their tight fit prevents abrasion from rubber rubbing against bare skin.

Sperry insoleWater ran through the shoes as I stream-walked. The underside of the insole has channels that funnel water through small holes in the shoe's base (see photo at right), and there's really no place for water to accumulate between my foot and the insole or side.

Grip. This is my acid test for any water shoes, and the Escapes came through admirably. We had a stream crossing on our route to camp, and had to cross Deer Creek one day to reach our work site. The Escapes handled the almost-solid rocky stream bottom without a slip and performed similarly well on the wet banks of the Sun near camp.

Care. I hosed the Escapes down upon my return from the service trip and left them to dry in the sun. A bit of dirt clung to the soles, but I easily removed that with slight pressure from a wire brush.


Nearly everything. The fit most of all. It feels almost like a pair of socks with rubber soles.


My feet get a bit warm in the sun.


My Initial Report ends here. Check back in early September for my Field Report. Thanks to Sperry Top-Sider and for this testing opportunity.


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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > Sperry Topsider H20 Bungee Sneaker > Test Report by Richard Lyon

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