Sperry SeaRacer GripX3: I absolutely love this shoe. It's become my "go to" shoe for times when I want maximum grip, support, and comfort while on deck. The styling is admittedly avant-garde, with plenty of color and a funky geometric rubber pattern over the mesh body. They look edgy and get plenty of comments on the dock. But how do they function? Sperry uses terms like "Hyrdo-Grip Rubber" and "Adaptive Wave Siping" to describe the sole, while I'll just say they're a darn sticky shoe on a wet deck. The sipes don't look like traditional sipes, but they seem to channel water away effeciently. The drawstring laces, running-shoe-like feel, and airy mesh upper complete the package. While not cheap at ~$120, the SeaRacer GripX3 will give you the look of an America's cup crew member and inspire the confidence needed to go forward for a sail change in sloppy conditions.
Pros: Excellent grip, lightweight, and maximum comfort for boat shoes
Cons: Styling may be too much for some folks
Buy these shoes if: You need grip in a quick fitting shoe and don't want a traditional Sperry Top-Sider look
OluKai Maliko: "Comfort" and "Ocean" is the spirit of the OluKai brand and as their webpage says, "They serve as both our inspiration and our destination." Thus the choice of the two Hawaiian words ("Olu" and "Kai"). Indeed, their Maliko shoes provide comfort and look right at home in or on the ocean. Just look at the sole...those are octopus tentacles used in the tread design, complete with suction cups! In function, the soles are grippy and feel extremely rugged and durable. The upper is breathable air mesh while the footbed features a synthetic suede lining. But the real story here is the styling. This is another pocketed shoe, but this time the toe has its' own pocket and the other 4 piggies share another. At first glance towards your feet, you'll swear you've morphed into some kind of hooved antelope. The benefit of this particular design as opposed to multiple toe pockets (such as on the Vibram FiveFingers) is an easier time putting the shoe on while still retaining extra flexibility and dexterity. These will make good water shoes as well as boat and beach shoes, though they can be a bit hot in really warm weather. Also, I found that the fit was tight, so I suggest ordering a half a size larger than normal.
Pros: Very unique look and feel, quality construction, versatile (water, beach, boat)
Cons: Very unique look and feel, a bit hot
Buy these shoes if: You want to stand out from the crowd of docksider-style shoes, and if wearing the Hawaiian spirit on your feet makes you feel good!
Ready to try either of these sailing shoes for yourself? Get them here:
Sperry SeaRacers from Amazon
OluKai Shoes from Amazon
Can't get enough of sailing shoe reviews? Try the others we've written:
Stand Firm - Sailing Shoe Reviews
A Sailor's Sole - The Original Reviews
Astral Porter Sailing Shoe Review
Deck Shoes or Dive Boots - Zhik ZK Boatshoe Review