Gear Review: Sperry Top-Sider SON-R Sounder Shandal

Grip and draining combine in this hybrid shoe from Sperry Top-Sider.

[grippy water shoes]

No, that name is not a typo: With these hybrids, you get the grip of an approach shoe mixed with the quick-drying, draining performance of a sandal. Testers used the Shandals while scrambling along the banks of the Colorado River, and raved about the traction and enhanced sensitivity for terrain that the pull-on shoe gave them.

The secret: Sticky rubber pods positioned at key grip areas along the outsole and a textured insole that responds to changes in pressure as you absorb varying levels of shock. The result: more feedback to your foot and a better feel for underwater surfaces. The mesh upper has an antimicrobial lining to prevent stink, and drain ports on the sides let water flow out for quick drying. “As secure as I’ve felt in a water shoe,” says one tester. $90; 1 lb. 5 oz. (m’s 10); m’s 7-13;