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      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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Bull City

Sperry Topsiders & molded non-skid deck = slippery

41 posts in this topic

I went sailing today on a '97 Hunter that had a molded non-skid deck. I was wearing a pair of old school Sperry Topsiders that are a few years old, but have plenty of tread left. The deck was dry. My footing was really bad on deck and in the cockpit - everywhere. It was like bowling shoes on a bowling alley. Very perplexing. Anyone have a similar experience?

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I went sailing today on a '97 Hunter that had a molded non-skid deck. I was wearing a pair of old school Sperry Topsiders that are a few years old, but have plenty of tread left. The deck was dry. My footing was really bad on deck and in the cockpit - everywhere. It was like bowling shoes on a bowling alley. Very perplexing. Anyone have a similar experience?

 

yes, they are much better when the deck is wet for some reason....

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

 

Yes, this!

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My only pair of topsiders have been like skates on ice since day one. They look good but i'll never buy another pair.

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

 

Interesting. I've got some canvas Topsiders but they have not gone hard.

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Yes. When they are new they are great. I kept an older pair on board as a backup and they are worse than bowling shoes.

Even if it looks like there's tread left.

The last two years i've been using sperry shoes that are more like sneakers or vans. Much more betterer. and saferer too.

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This sounds like a job for Ralph Nader.

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OK, here is a just for run question: When the soles on Topsiders go hard, are they hard through and though? Could you take a belt sander to the soles and restore some king of grip? Inquiring minds........

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OK, here is a just for run question: When the soles on Topsiders go hard, are they hard through and though? Could you take a belt sander to the soles and restore some king of grip? Inquiring minds........

i did just that. sanded the soles with 80-grit sandpaper. the traction improved a lot but, of course, it's a temporary fix.

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OK, here is a just for run question: When the soles on Topsiders go hard, are they hard through and though? Could you take a belt sander to the soles and restore some king of grip? Inquiring minds........

i did just that. sanded the soles with 80-grit sandpaper. the traction improved a lot but, of course, it's a temporary fix.

 

 

I had the opposite experience, belt sanded Sperry's and had no noticible improvement. And the shoes were only a season old and they weren't the cheap mocassins. Last pair I'll buy.

 

I used Harkens last season and they seemed to work well. They still haven't 'hardened' yet so I am hopeful for another season. I was on the boat on the hard this past weekend and it was cold as hell and they worked like a charm.

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FWIW, I contacted Sperry, and they said:

 

The quickest way to resolve the issue is to contact the retailer. We have return policies in place for such situations. If the retailer takes care of you within their return policy, we take care of them so they are not at a lost for exchanged merchandise. We suggest calling prior to making a special trip. If your original retailer is unable to assist, you may return your product directly to us. Please provide us with the following information so you can be provided the necessary forms to return your footwear at no cost to you for evaluation. Should the item be deemed defective, we replace in the same size and style.
First and last name
Address (no PO boxes)
Phone Number
Stock number, this is typically 2 letters followed by 5 numbers for example BB12345
US Size and Width
Date and Place of purchase
Specific description of the problem/photo
Should you be in Canada, in addition to the above, please reply back with a clear picture of the underside of the tongue showing the label information and a clear picture of the defect.

 

 

Sounds reasonable. I'm going to take them up on it.

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Unfortunately they are using cheaper compounds on the sole and there is not as much rubber as there was 15 yrs ago

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Even the Gold Cup series had been cheapened although the price is still the same

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Sperry should read this thread.

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I mentioned some of these issues to them but they really don't care

Most of their product never sees a boat or water for that matter

All about margins

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You could all save a ton of money and bother by going out and getting a pair of Chucks or Vans. Lace-up or slip-on, it hardly matters.

 

I bought way too many pairs of crappy over-priced yacht-racing specific shoes that never lasted and somehow stunk to high hell after half a season.

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

 

Interesting. I've got some canvas Topsiders but they have not gone hard.

 

 

Someone told me that wearing sailing shoes on grass (lawn, not dope) made the rubber compound go hard much faster. I don't know how much of that is true, but I have avoided lawns with my latest shoes and they are still soft and flexible.

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

 

Interesting. I've got some canvas Topsiders but they have not gone hard.

 

 

Someone told me that wearing sailing shoes on grass (lawn, not dope) made the rubber compound go hard much faster. I don't know how much of that is true, but I have avoided lawns with my latest shoes and they are still soft and flexible.

 

 

 

I would love to understand how that works..

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The soles have probably gone hard. Time to buy some new shoes.

 

 

Interesting. I've got some canvas Topsiders but they have not gone hard.

 

 

Someone told me that wearing sailing shoes on grass (lawn, not dope) made the rubber compound go hard much faster. I don't know how much of that is true, but I have avoided lawns with my latest shoes and they are still soft and flexible.

 

 

 

I would love to understand how that works..

 

 

 

Well, keep your sailing shoes dry, duh.....

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I have a couple of old pairs that I use around the house, including cutting the grass. I can definitely state that the soles are rock hard and NFG for anything boat related, not even a stroll down the dock. What I cannot tell is whether this is grass or age related, probably a combination of both

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My Sperry Fugawi`s are at least ten years old and the soles are like new. I have never worn them off the boat.

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More from Sperry. The first quote was in response to my product review. This is in response to my email to Sperry customer service:

 

With age, the soles of our Topsiders can harden, crack, and/or become slippery. This can happen for several reasons; from leaving the shoes unworn for extended periods of time to the soles coming in contact with harsh chemicals (oil, bleach, etc). We do offer a one year warranty against manufacturing defects. If your shoes fall under this, we would be more than happy to have your send them in and replace them!

 

 

While this is friendly, and an admission of defective soles, it is not quite as generous as the earlier response to my product review (#12):
post-54228-0-96817100-1483753471_thumb.png
I will be "reaching out to the team."

post-54228-0-96817100-1483753471_thumb.png

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Zero luck here with Sperry and Timberland. They would never leave the boat, but soles would harden and be worthless within two years. Otherwise like new. Switched to water aerobics shoes like Speedo and never looked back. Costco sometimes carries them ($17 last year). Grip is outstanding, they drain well and fit great. When it's a bit cold, and a pair of gortex socks and you are good to go.

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Boat shoes only serve one purpose, to stop you stubbing your toes. Otherwise worse than bare feet.....

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My experience is if they have the gum type sole that looks like congealed gelatin, they will dry out and harden in about a year. I've tried sanding them and it only helps a little. Considering what you pay for boat specific shoes it seems extravagant to buy new ones every year and, since I never wear them on the docks or ashore, hardly worth the investment mileage wise. The old canvas Topsiders had a rubber compound that was like a pencil eraser, very soft and self ablating but prone to slipping on dry, dusty decks. Once the decks were wet they were fine but there is very little support from canvas uppers. I may give the Speedo footwear a try but would want to be sure they didn't leave marks.

 

The youngsters all tell me the solution is to race barefooted but I've stubbed too many toes on deck hardware.

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I just went arse over tit on a smooth (dry) plate on the dock wearing Sperry Topsiders, and yep they're 2 yrs old. No warning , just instantly slid as soon as I put weight on.

Heading to chandlery now.....

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I've got some LL Bean deck shoes in my closet that I haven't worn yet. I'll start wearing them and give a report sometime. Of course, we have snow on the ground, so it may be a while.

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My experience is if they have the gum type sole that looks like congealed gelatin, they will dry out and harden in about a year. I've tried sanding them and it only helps a little. Considering what you pay for boat specific shoes it seems extravagant to buy new ones every year and, since I never wear them on the docks or ashore, hardly worth the investment mileage wise. The old canvas Topsiders had a rubber compound that was like a pencil eraser, very soft and self ablating but prone to slipping on dry, dusty decks. Once the decks were wet they were fine but there is very little support from canvas uppers. I may give the Speedo footwear a try but would want to be sure they didn't leave marks.

 

The youngsters all tell me the solution is to race barefooted but I've stubbed too many toes on deck hardware.

 

Year or two ago, Costco had these for $17

 

post-14713-0-40617000-1484102274_thumb.jpg

 

Earlier version had light grey soles, but neither marked decks, including smooth gelcoat with no non-skid. They actually last several years (based on my experience with an earlier version), but for $17 USD, who cares. I regularly sail on 3 different boats and leave a pair on each, plus one I travel with. Bonus, they don't seem to get stinky like the $300 Solomon trail shoes I own.

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Just bought my first ever pair (Sea Kite model). More about looks and the cushy New Balance-like soles with good arch support.

 

Avoided Topsiders for many years as boat gear for reasons spelled out here - they suck after a while. Viewed them as something yachties put on after races for drinks and b.s.

 

Been wearing Aigles, Gill dinghy boots and New Balance.

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My only pair of topsiders have been like skates on ice since day one. They look good but i'll never buy another pair.

This.

 

Try Zhik or Musto.

shoe-20-gy-cy-img01.jpg

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Once again, why pay three times more just so your Musto sneakers match the rest of your kit?

 

A $30 pair of Vans will do the exact same thing as any sneaker made by a sailing brand. Moreover, they'll probably last longer.

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My experience is if they have the gum type sole that looks like congealed gelatin, they will dry out and harden in about a year. I've tried sanding them and it only helps a little. Considering what you pay for boat specific shoes it seems extravagant to buy new ones every year and, since I never wear them on the docks or ashore, hardly worth the investment mileage wise. The old canvas Topsiders had a rubber compound that was like a pencil eraser, very soft and self ablating but prone to slipping on dry, dusty decks. Once the decks were wet they were fine but there is very little support from canvas uppers. I may give the Speedo footwear a try but would want to be sure they didn't leave marks.

 

The youngsters all tell me the solution is to race barefooted but I've stubbed too many toes on deck hardware.

Definition of a cleat (or any other deck hardware): Toestop

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My experience is if they have the gum type sole that looks like congealed gelatin, they will dry out and harden in about a year. I've tried sanding them and it only helps a little. Considering what you pay for boat specific shoes it seems extravagant to buy new ones every year and, since I never wear them on the docks or ashore, hardly worth the investment mileage wise. The old canvas Topsiders had a rubber compound that was like a pencil eraser, very soft and self ablating but prone to slipping on dry, dusty decks. Once the decks were wet they were fine but there is very little support from canvas uppers. I may give the Speedo footwear a try but would want to be sure they didn't leave marks.

 

The youngsters all tell me the solution is to race barefooted but I've stubbed too many toes on deck hardware.

 

Definition of a cleat (or any other deck hardware): Toestop
Human soles are amazing. Incredible grip and comfort. But, one exciting moment had me dislocating two toes due to a shroud. Been wearing shoes ever since, but they gotta be compfy any grip like shit.

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Once again, why pay three times more just so your Musto sneakers match the rest of your kit?

 

A $30 pair of Vans will do the exact same thing as any sneaker made by a sailing brand. Moreover, they'll probably last longer.

 

Simple, the sniff test...

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I suspect sailing is much less than 1% of the Sperry market. I went to the Sperry store at the mall a few years ago and all they stocked were street versions. And the store was busy!

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Once again, why pay three times more just so your Musto sneakers match the rest of your kit?

 

A $30 pair of Vans will do the exact same thing as any sneaker made by a sailing brand. Moreover, they'll probably last longer.

 

Simple, the sniff test...

 

 

Oh please, that's not the fault of the shoe

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My experience is if they have the gum type sole that looks like congealed gelatin, they will dry out and harden in about a year. I've tried sanding them and it only helps a little. Considering what you pay for boat specific shoes it seems extravagant to buy new ones every year and, since I never wear them on the docks or ashore, hardly worth the investment mileage wise. The old canvas Topsiders had a rubber compound that was like a pencil eraser, very soft and self ablating but prone to slipping on dry, dusty decks. Once the decks were wet they were fine but there is very little support from canvas uppers. I may give the Speedo footwear a try but would want to be sure they didn't leave marks.

 

The youngsters all tell me the solution is to race barefooted but I've stubbed too many toes on deck hardware.

Definition of a cleat (or any other deck hardware): Toestop
Human soles are amazing. Incredible grip and comfort. But, one exciting moment had me dislocating two toes due to a shroud. Been wearing shoes ever since, but they gotta be compfy any grip like shit.

 

I only sail barefoot in drifters. Even a clean modern deck has painful shit to bang in to.

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I like skateboard shoes for deck shoes. Circa is a good brand. Tough, good grip, non marking, color doesn't bleed when soaked.

 

Plus I'm the hippest grandpa on the block according to my kids.

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I've purchased several pairs of different brands of deck shoes at Goodwill. Most recent, brand new Topsiders for $15, Vans for $5. bottoms look like they've never hit the ground. but yeah, got my first store bought Topsiders wet and the stitching gave way on the sides, didn't last a whole year.


And Tevas WILL make your feet stink.

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