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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > Sperry Topsider H20 Bungee Sneaker > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

SPERRY TOP-SIDER H20 BUNGEE SNEAKERS
Test Series by Theresa Lawrence
Initial Report - July 11/14
 Field Report - September 15/14

Long Term Report - November 18/14

TESTER INFORMATION

Name: Theresa Lawrence
Email: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Age: 37
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.

Initial Report
PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Sperry Top-Sider
Manufacturer's URL: www.sperrytopsider.com
Year of Manufacture: 2014

Made in:
China
MSRP: $90 US
Listed Weight: 11.2 oz/ 318 g for the pair
Measured Weight: 13.2 oz/ 375 g for the pair
Colors Available: Fuschia, blue, gray
Color Tested: Blue
Sizes Available:
6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10 (medium width only)
Size Tested:
9

Image Courtesy of Website

DESCRIPTION & FIRST IMPRESSIONS                                                                                

The Sperry Top-Sider H20 Bungee sneakers arrived in my choice color of bright blue. I thought the color would be fun and indeed it was very cheerful. I was delighted by how light weight the sneakers were. They seem like they will be very compatible for use in water and/or access to water. Looking at the shoe, I see it has an elastic bungee cord for lacing up, with a clasp at the end to fasten the excess loop. They seem to be made out of a variety of fast drying materials. I'm not sure what exactly, but they seem to be well made with very clean stitching. The inside indicates the upper is man-made. I think this is another way of saying synthetic. There is a soft felt material on the inside of the heel, which seems to aid in the comfort at the heel. The removable footbed is a type of foam with holes all over so water can drain through. The actual footbed doesn't appear to have any holes for water, but I assume the material will soak through and water will then drain through the large holes (internal channels) on the sides of the outer soles. The manufacturer refers to this removal of water underfoot as Adaptive Wave-Siping, which is also printed across the bottom of the shoe. The tread appears to be somewhat grippy and the sole sturdy and supportive. Time will tell all. I didn't see any instructions for washing, but they can obviously be rinsed in water.

TRYING IT ON

When trying it on I found the sizing to be a smidge on the smaller size. This is because usually I'm either an 8.5 or a 9, but in this shoe my toes are all but touching the end of the 9 with bare feet and touching (not uncomfortable) with socks. I'm wondering if my kayaking or SAR dry suit booties will fit in the shoes. For activities that require bare feet and of course wet feet, like creek crossings and kayaking, these seem like they will be a great asset. Since they only come in medium width, I was surprised to find that they fit me so well. I have really narrow feet and they fit perfectly for width, I don't even need to pull the bungee. They are easy to slip on and slip off and feel quite comfortable. I'm curious to see how they hold up and whether they rub in any places causing blisters. I also wonder if they breathe or just feel sweaty in the hot weather. Over the course of the test period I plan to use them for creek crossings, camp shoes, white water kayaking and possibly swift water SAR training.

SUMMARY

So far my initial impressions of the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Bungee sneakers are positive. They are very light weight and appear well made. They are sporty and cheerful looking, I may even wear them just to be trendy during the summer. Seriously though, I see myself wearing these for any bare foot wet adventure that comes my way, as well as for camp shoes when I'm backpacking. I'm interested in seeing how they grip to wet and slippery surfaces, how they might fit into my kayak and how my dry suit with latex booties fits into the shoes. At the moment the fit and comfort are superb with my bare feet, but I will be looking to see if this lasts when I'm wearing them around for longer periods of time. Stay tuned for when I report back all my observations in a couple months.

Field Report



FIELD CONDITIONS

Over the past couple months I have used the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Bungee sneakers in a variety of settings. These sneakers visited the following places and were used for lake swimming, creek crossings, camp shoes, rafting and white water kayaking.

- 2 days of rafting on the White River, White Swan Provincial Park, British Columbia
- 2 nights car camping near Canmore, Alberta
- 1 day kayaking on the Crowsnest River, Alberta
- 2 days kayaking on the Red Deer River, Alberta
- 2 days swimming in the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta
- 1 overnight backpack trip to Silver Springs Lakes, near Elko, British Columbia
- 1 overnight backpack trip to Connor Lakes, Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, British Columbia
- 1 overnight car camping/rock climbing trip to Frenchman Coulee/Vantage, Washington

FIT & COMFORT

I have worn these sneakers for a number of activities and have found them to be nothing but comfortable. The only application that they didn't work out for was my Search and Rescue swift water rescue ensemble. The rivers here are cold and thick wool socks under the latex booties of my dry suit are a must in order to stay warm. So of course it was no surprise that the Sperry sneakers didn't fit over all of this. However, to my delight they did fit well with my white water kayaking dry suit because I just wore a very thin pair of socks under the latex booties. I do prefer to wear my neoprene boots with grip that cover my ankles in the kayak. This is only because they don't have laces that could snag on anything to cause a potential entrapment and because they cover the latex booties around the ankle protecting them from abrasion. But aside from those picky preferences they were very comfortable to wear for a full day of kayaking and multiple days of rafting in my dry suit. I especially enjoyed the comfort and protection they offered for my bare feet while swimming in lakes and crossing creeks.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

What I noticed about the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Bungee sneakers was that they were easy to get on and off with the bungee cord flexibility. They stayed on even with fast water current and could be tightened easily with said bungee cord. I was worried about blisters and abrasions with wet fabric against bare skin, but thankfully I didn't experience any of this. I'm no longer concerned in that regard. The grip proved to be very good against slippery rocks during creek crossings and when getting in and out of lakes and walking along rocky river beds and beaches.

As far as camp use goes, fantastic so long as I didn't need them for a creek crossing or a lake swim. This was because once they were wet they remained that way for the rest of the trip. I thought they would dry faster, but the water really soaks into the fabric and takes a long time to dry. Though, certainly not as long as a pair of hiking boots, but long enough that they'd still be wet a full sunny day later. For example, I had used them for a creek crossing on one of my overnight trips and I hit the same creek on the way back a full day later and they were still wet. This wasn't a problem because they were going to get wet all over again anyways. But, it just meant that I was in my hiking boots at camp instead of letting my feet enjoy a break while winding down at camp. I did appreciate that my boots weren't wet and that I didn't take nearly as long as my partner crossing the really cold creek. The Sperry sneakers gave me the footing stability and protection against the uneven rocks for the creek crossing. My partner, on the other hand, in his bare feet had to negotiate his footing very carefully whereas I just pranced across in my Sperry sneakers.

I did think they made a fine addition to backpacking for the above mentioned creek crossings and if no creek crossings then for camp shoes because they really were lightweight and added very little to my pack.

SUMMARY

 So far I've had a great time testing the Sperry Top-Sider H20 Bungee sneakers. I've appreciated their good grip on slippery rocks and rafts, as well as their comfort and fit. They've really come in handy for swimming and protecting my feet, which made these activities more enjoyable as I watched my partner grimace with his bare feet on sharp rocks. So far I would recommend these sneakers for all the activities I've encountered. My plan for the next couple of months will hopefully include more backpacking trips with possible creek crossings, as well as a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic where I will be looking to use them for sailing, paddle boarding, windsurfing and sea kayaking. I should have more to add on their durability, which so far has been impeccable.


Likes

- Color and appearance are fun
- Great fit and very comfortable
- No blisters or abrasions
- Fantastic grip on slippery rocks and rafts
- Versatile uses
- Easy to get on and off

Dislikes

- Took awhile to dry (more than a full sunny day)



Long Term Report

LONG TERM FIELD CONDITIONS


Since the field report, I have taken these shoes on a 2 night, 3 day backpacking trip to Jewell Basin Hiking Area in Montana. At this time of year there were no significant creek crossings requiring these shoes, but I did get to use them as my camp shoes. Temperatures on this trip dipped to 3 C (5 F) and reached a daytime high of 20 C (36 F). The weather presented us with clear blue skies for the duration of the trip. Following this, I spent a week in the Dominican Republic on a beautiful beach where I wore the shoes snorkeling, sailing and kayaking. Temperatures here ranged from a lovely 24 C (75 F) to 30 C (86 F), and not the frozen temperatures I left behind in Canada. The weather consisted of happy sunshine with some fluffy clouds in a brilliant blue sky, as demonstrated by my photos.

OBSERVATIONS

For the overnight trip, I packed these shoes in my 58 L backpack. They fit in the outer hinge pocket and therefore did not take up any room in the main compartment. They also did not add much to the weight of my pack and so were not a bother to bring along. It was nice to be able to take off my boots after 20 km (12.5 mi) of hiking and put my feet into something comfortable that also offered foot protection. It was fairly cool and so I wore them with a pair of light wool socks, which felt cozy and not too tight.

During my tropical beach trip, they were especially useful as I'm sure this was the niche they were made for and rightly so. The fit was very comfortable when wearing them in the water, they didn't rub or cause any abrasions. When swimming and snorkeling there was no drag and it was nice to have foot protection from hidden shells in the sand. They worked well for kayaking as they protected my heals from resting on the hard plastic. When I wore them for sailing on a small catamaran the shoes proved to have very good grip on the wet deck when scrambling back and forth from port to starboard as I tried to keep up with the changing angle of the sail. Overall, I can say they performed brilliantly and I can't think of a negative thing to say, except that they do take awhile to dry. On the beach, however, wet shoes and feet were the norm and the water was always warm, so it really didn't matter that they didn't dry. And besides, they were usually just about to go back into the water anyways. I also discovered on this trip that they floated, which was quite handy and with their bright color they were easy to spot in the water.

As far as their durability goes, they still look as good as new and all the seams, lacing and toggles are all intact. They were easy to clean. I had them covered in dirt and sand and just had to walk into the water to shirk the dirt. I was pleased with the design of how the water seeped out of the channels, so that I never had the feeling that I had water sloshing around in my shoes. And I'd like to report on one more very important observation, which was that at no point did the shoes smell of my sweaty feet.

FINAL SUMMARY

Well all I can say is that these sneakers were all that when it came time for water. They were comfortable to wear in and out of water and they didn't abrade. They proved to have great grip on wet surfaces including slippery rocks and boats. They provided durable protection for the feet and they were easy to get on and off. The tightness was adjustable, I could wear them bare foot or with a light pair of socks if needed. I found them to be very useful in a variety of activities such as backpacking (creek crossing and camping), whitewater kayaking, rafting, sea kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and sailing. In the future, I intend to continue using them in all the capacities which I have used them here without hesitation.

Likes

- Color and appearance are fun
- Great fit and very comfortable
- No blisters or abrasions
- Fantastic grip on slippery rocks and boat decks
- Versatile uses
- Easy to get on and off
- Sturdy material to protect the feet
- Durable
- Easy to clean
- Channels that empty the water out

Dislikes

- Not quick-drying


Thanks to Sperry Top-Sider, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to take part in this test series, I have very much enjoyed my time with these new H20 Bungee sneakers.



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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > Sperry Topsider H20 Bungee Sneaker > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence



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