Sperry has released their GripX3 technology paired with three new shoe styles:
Now the marquee sponsor of the US Sailing team, Sperry has used their position to get input in designing the GripX3 (Hydro-Grip) outsole and the three uppers. This technology Sperry claims is their “stickiest ever”, with Adaptive Wave Siping for wet/dry traction. These shoes have lots of interesting technology that deserve a deeper look. We are going to focus on the SeaRacer and SeaRacer + for this blog.
The construction of the SeaRacer line all starts in the same place:
Hydrophobic Mesh. The mesh spans from the toe all the way back to the mid ankle. This mesh used by Sperry is a very tight weave and is almost like a screen. Using mesh provides the wearer with a very lightweight shoe and an extreme amount of drainage, for when your feet take a dunk. It’s hydrophobic capabilities are there to help direct water away from entering in though the sides, but frankly your feet are still going to get wet but will dry very quickly. Sperry added drainage ports on the front 3rd to allow evacuation of water.
Taking grip a step further Sperry added a lattice work of rubber to the upper on the SeaRacer + they call Top-Deck 360. This (.02kg extra) network of rubber provides some extra stick for when the deck is very pitched but also protects the mesh build of the upper from wear and scuffing. Again departing from the SeaRacer, the plus also features a drawstring (Quick-Draw) lace up system with a built in Lace Garage to stuff the adjustment clip on the tong. It tidies up the exposed loop created by the drawstring and keeps your fit secure. The standard men’s and women’s is a traditional tie up lacing system.
Midsole and Insole:
All styles of the SeaRacer have a CMEVA polyurethane midsole for cushioning. CMEVA means it’s a compression molded vinyl. The molded outsole does provide good heel support and stability as well. The SeaRacer series are comfortable shoes, but I would argue the comfort does not come from the midsole but the SON-R insole.
The SON-R technology from Sperry found in the SeaRacer has been adapted from their paddling line. Kayakers often have to traverse some obstacle laden and slippery terrain to find a good place to put in. Your feet send information to your brain about the topography, in turn your brain balances and adjust accordingly. Not having any feel underfoot in slippery conditions is a quick way to end up swimming. Enter the Metatarsal Pods found on the SON-R insole. Sperry uses the phrase “Seeing with your feet” to describe the way the pods work. Why is this important to sailors? You essentially have a better feel on what parts of the shoe are actively gripping the deck. There are tones of angles found on the deck some are wet others are nearly dry all the time. Being able to quickly relay what parts of the shoe are engaged with the non-skid will help to maintain balance and help promote your mobility. The pods are also very cushiony and provide a nice bed for bare feet.
Sperry bills this outsole as their “Stickiest Yet”. The outsole itself is built from Hydro-Grip which is Sperry’s own proprietary sole rubber compound is designed to promote traction in wet conditions and is non marking. The sole is cut with a Adaptive Wave Siping tread, like your car tire the scoring into the surface is laid out move the water away from the contact area. It isn’t the most flexible sole that we carry but the shape and bend were designed to promote maximum contact with the deck surface, again for traction.
After studying the new features and trying SeaRacers on for myself, I believe Sperry has done a good job here. The SeaRacer series incorporates a lightweight frame with very grippy tread and comfort/balance technology. Sperry’s move to become the title sponsor of the US Sailing Team should help them to grow and advance on the technology they have already developed this year. A few APS employees have picked up pairs recently so look forward to a full review in the future.
Absolutely need a pair now? Great! Here’s some handy links to help you out..