Best For: Keelboat sailors looking for lightweight shoe with good support.
Key Feature: Grip X3
Sperry has been venturing beyond the traditional style boat shoe for a while now, coming out with more athletic styles and using modern materials. The SeaRacer pushes this trend to the extreme. As far as style goes, they definitely look more at home in the cockpit of a racing boat than in the clubhouse of the yacht club. Sperry touts their patent pending GripX3 Technology™ as well as Adaptive Wave Siping™ and Hydro Grip™, so they aren’t lacking in features either.
Normally I’m not one for made-up marketing mumbo jumbo such as “Hydro Grip” or “Nano-Tech Construction” or “Air-Z Breathability” (made those up on the fly). I will say this though: these shoes have grip! Whether I’m on foredeck with the spinnaker pole, standing in the cockpit trimming, or running all over the boat, these shoes keep me where I need to be. I couldn’t slide around the deck if I wanted to (no moonwalking, unfortunately). Even when the boat gets knocked flat these shoes cling to the deck like a monkey in a tree.
In addition to the grip, the SeaRacers have decent arch support and cushy foam inserts, so they feel great on your feet. The lightweight construction is a huge plus as well. I was actually impressed with how nice they are to walk around in on dry land. One downside is that they run a bit big; I could have gone for a half size smaller. They would probably fit fine with socks, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The mesh uppers mean the shoes are decently breathable, although I would not recommend the black color scheme to anybody sailing in a hot Texas summer. The shoes did leave something to be desired in terms of water drainage though. They’re not by any means uncomfortable when wet, but the tiny “H20 Evac” drains near the toes don’t exactly do the job, so you may have a little water sloshing around when you take a wave. Also, despite the synthetic materials, they are still susceptible to the trademark Sperry Stink (though it probably doesn’t help that I bike to work in them).
Bottom Line: At $120, these shoes aren’t the cheapest option out there. However, for somebody committed to a competitive racing program, these shoes more than deliver on grip and comfort. From the start line to the post-race keg, the SeaRacers will keep you on your feet.