The Sperry Wave Rocker is a dedicated water and boating shoe that utilizes an integrated perforated neoprene sock to reduce friction while improving control and comfort. This is my review:
Designed for boating and other water sports, the Sperry Wave Rocker is completely waterproof and built from self draining, hydrophobic materials to shed water and moisture. The Wave Rocker consists of a rubber outsole, a molded EVA midsole, a permanent perforated inner sock, and a fully perforated upper. The shoes utilize adjustable laces to tune the fit. They come in two colors, full and half sizes for better fit, and retails for $119.
What I liked
Starting with the most important part of any shoe, comfort is a definite plus with the Wave Rockers. The internal neoprene socks are surprisingly soft, padding, and inviting on their own. It provides a smooth, low friction buffer between the foot and the outer shoe that just feels lovely in comparison to every other water shoe I’ve tested. It feels more like a fabric than a plastic or leather, despite not trapping or holding water, which I very much appreciate. Any water that comes inside is instantly bailed out, with fresh air free to circulate in. Even after long walks on hard ground or after constantly shuffling around on a paddle board, it hasn’t caused any hot spots or irritation for me at all. The midsole and foot bed in general also feel great, with a smooth cradling shape that holds the foot in its natural shape, while being devoid of any extreme arches that might otherwise cause pressure or pain on the bottom of the foot . The shape overall is form fitting, but on the relaxed side, so there is room to wiggle the toes, but not so much that the foot shifts inside. These feel great.
Stability is also quite good with the Wave Rockers. The shoe laces down fairly snug against the foot, with the sole and midsole providing a sturdy, consistent platform that doesn’t rock or tilt under pressure. Even when dealing with large waves and generally unstable waters, they feel more stable than a barefoot, which is impressive. Walking both on the a board or on the ground felt equally stable and confident.
Traction is fantastic, with a soft, supremely grippy outsole that just sticks to the deck of my paddle boards. Crossing wet, slimy rocks and boat ramps isn’t an issue either. The tan, waffle like texture is soft, which allows it to conform with stone or textured surfaces. It has enough flex to wrap around most rocky shapes too, providing extra surface to surface contact, without leaving the foot exposed or at risk of punctures. Grass, dirt, foam, whatever the surface, these shoes seem to stick to them all.
Build and quality overall is also stellar. The shoes combine thick, durable rubber on the outside with soft but tear resistant synthetics on the inside which have held up strong under intense sun, in wet and slimy lakes, and from being repeatedly packed, drenched and dried over and over. Yet, after several weeks of use they haven’t shown a single sign of fraying, stretching, losing their shape or tearing. The outsole is thick and robust, while the body is just rugged enough to last, without weighing it down too much. The inner and outer are glued together permanently, and displays no sign of separating. The lace connection eyes are also well reinforced with a tough rubber panel that should last a very long time.
What I didn’t like
Probably due to the multi-layer design, the Wave Rockers seem to have an extended dry time in comparison to most of my other water shoes. They certainly bail water quite well, but moisture in the material itself can take over a day to dry on their own in less than sunny conditions. I generally prefer to dry my shoes away from the damaging sun, which further extends the dry time.
They’re heavier than many other options, likely due to the thick sole and multilayer build, making them less ideal for hiking or backpacking with as a river crossing or wading shoe, but still absolutely light enough for general boating or paddling. I much prefer a heavier, more durable and supportive shoe myself, so this isn’t much of a problem for me.
The Wave Rocker by Sperry has proven to be an excellent addition to my water shoe collection. They’re extremely stable and grippy, which adds considerable confidence to my paddling on rough waters, and they’re built great too. They’re also extremely comfortable, visually quite impressive, and they stand out from other options with their multi-layer design, sleek tan treads and vivid outer. They take a while to dry, and they’re certainly on the expensive side for water shoes, but these seem to be fine tradeoffs as they provide everything I want when I’m on the water, quickly making them my new go to whenever I’m planning on getting wet.
The Highest of Recommendations
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