Editor's note: As water is an integral part of so many national park explorations, it's good to have a pair of water shoes you can rely on to give your feet a little grip on a streambed and a snug fit around the ankle to keep sand and gravel out. Patrick Cone put the H2O Escape Bungee Sneaker from Sperry Top-Sider to a watery test, and came away impressed.
It's always nice to look inside a shoe box and see a nicely put together pair of shoes, in this case, the H2O Escape Bungee Sneaker (MSRP $90) made by Sperry Top-Sider. My old, ratty water shoes had finally rotted away on my feet, and I needed something new, something that works and plays as hard as I do, a shoe that lasts, and something that will follow my feet around, in and out of the water.
First impressions of the H2O Escape were favorable: nice stitching, good color (I chose the bright blue....less of a chance to leave them on a beach somewhere), good bungee ties (there's even a loop-keeper to keep it from snagging), and a series of holes and channels that channel the water away from the sole, which has a good grab to them. They're a totally amphibious shoe, and only weigh 5.6 ounces! There's no reason not to throw them in your pack and have them when you need them!
The shoe is flexible, and comfortable: it's like a glove for your foot. The river in my backyard made a good testing ground, and I was able to walk the rocky bottom with no problem. They dried quickly, especially when I took out the EVA midsole. I'd take these on a rowing trip down the Grand Canyon in a heartbeat, or canoeing the high mountain lakes, or to ford those slippery desert waterholes, or.....
They come in gray, blue, and fuchsia (very bright). They are made in China, so if that's a deal breaker, then find something else. Some people have written that you should order them a half or full size larger, but my size 11 was perfect, with good room at the toe. I'm looking forward to the extended field testing.