Seven months ago I purchased my first pair of Vessi Shoes after seeing numerous ads for them scroll across my Facebook feed. They seem like a novel concept: an affordable shoe that also happened to be completely waterproof. The claim, as it were, is that the hydrophobic materials used allow your feet to sweat without allowing water to penetrate.
Vessi is quick to point out that this level of waterproofness is not achieved via a hydrophobic coating, which could (and likely would) wear off over time, but instead integrated into the material directly.
I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, and Calgary isn’t exactly known for its consistent weather patterns. Rapid temperature swings at all times of the year are common, but I mention this because it’s a particularly big problem for me in winter. Every decent pair of shoes I wear gets ruined in winter when the snow rapidly melts, leaving in its wake a slushy mess that absolutely thrashes shoes.
It was this realization that made me see the value in Vessi’s- if these shoes repel water, does that help make them winter resistant?
My First Pair: The Everyday Sneaker
My younger brother was a huge advocate for his pair of Everyday’s, and so I decided to pick up a pair of the Carbon Blue version, size 11. My actual shoe size is 10.5, but Vessi doesn’t offer half-sizes and recommends that you size up. They arrived about a week after I placed the order.
I was nervous for their arrival since buying clothing sight-unseen is always dicey. This is doubly true for shoes. Thankfully, they fit pretty well- enough snugness around the heel and ball of my foot to feel secure, but not so much that the shoes feel loose and sloppy.
Wear Them Walking, Running, or Really Any Time You Want
From the first time I put them on until now (roughly six months later), the Everyday Sneakers have been comfortable to wear. In fact, they are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I’ve ever owned.
The sole feels lightweight on the foot – you almost bounce as you walk in them (not in a bad way) – and offer excellent support along your arch and heel. Walking in them feels a bit weird for the first few steps, as most shoes lack the same level of support, but you get used to the change quickly. The biggest benefit I’ve experienced is that I can stand in these shoes at a standing desk for 8 hours and experience minimal (if any) fatigue. This is a big deal for me given that I work at a standing desk.
Jogging in the shoes is also a nice changeup, again for the same reason: the heel and arch support reduces mechanical “friction” and facilitates an increased pace and endurance. I really like wearing these when going for walks or runs.
Not Exactly Stylish
Looks are subjective and so I won’t dress the Everyday Sneakers down, but I think we can all agree that they aren’t exactly fashion-forward. They look pretty good, but on the foot they appear a little bulky. This is in part because they are a wider shoe (or at least appear that way thanks to the material that connects the sole and laces).
They aren’t bad looking, but these aren’t the shoes I’d pick if style was my main consideration.
Are They Waterproof?
Indeed they are!
Pair #2: The Everyday Slip-On
Not long ago Vessi announced via their newsletter that they have a new style- the Everyday “Slip-On” shoe. Compared to the Everyday Sneakers, they look more refined, trendy/stylish, and slimmer. AKA: exactly what I was looking for in an every day shoe.
So I ordered a pair in Stone Grey. Unfortunately, not long after receiving them I had to send them back to be warrantied due to a material defect. I wore them three times before I shipped them back. The defect, however small, irked me given how new the shoes were. At the insistence of my wife Melissa, back to Vessi they went.
Vessi offers a 6-month warranty on their shoes, as well as a 60-day “they pay all the bills” return policy. Making a claim is as easy as going to the support site, entering your postal code and order number, and hitting “start a return”. Within an hour of submitting my claim, I was emailed by a rep asking for some more details, so I sent them the above photo. 20 minutes after that she had provided me with a shipping label and an exchange number.
After dropping them in the post, exactly 10 days later I had a new pair of shoes. However, this go around I decided to grab the Barcelona Blue version, and boy howdy am I glad I did.
Slip-On vs. Sneakers: What’s the Difference?
That’s an easy question to answer: the Slip-Ons have no laces and no side material. These two differences totally change the look of the shoe, giving it a slimmer profile that tucks under cuffs with no problems.
What’s the Comfort Factor?
Quite high. These shoes feel great, which is actually surprising to me because for the warranty claim Vessi didn’t have these in a size 11, so I ordered a size 10 and hoped they’d fit.
And they fit great, as it turns out. Just as comfortable as the size 11’s I had ordered, but with a bit more snugness around the sides and top of the foot. I find the increased snugness to be more comfortable, especially when walking or jogging. This is due to the stretch material, which effortlessly adapts to the size and shape of my feet.
Ordering a size down was a gamble, but it paid off!
Love it. ‘Nuff said.
Are the Slip-Ons Waterproof?
In the above gif, you can clearly see the surface tension of the water causing it to form droplets that slide off the shoe. Even the bit that appears to stay on the shoe sits on the shoe vs. soaking into the fabric.
How Well Are They Made?
Vessi is a crowdfunded company, and it shows. While their shoes are not made poorly, you can see small gaps in their construction that highlight their startup status. They aren’t an established brand with a bunch of tenure- they are the upstart that is attempting to enter and disrupt an already-crowded market.
I have to stress that the gaps in construction are small: a misaligned cut along the edge of the sole here, a tiny gap between the heel and the shoe there. Things that you won’t see unlesse you’re looking for them, but they’re there. Both the Sneakers and Slip-Ons have these small defects, but they’re so small that I can’t be bothered to warranty them.
I was concerned that these defects would cause problems, but after six months with the Sneakers, they still look as good as the day the arrived- none of the small issues I found have grown or changed.
So Yea, These Shoes Are Pretty Sweet
Aside from a small issue that Vessi’s warranty department handled with absolutely zero drama, the two pairs of Vessi’s I’m rocking have proved to be good quality shoes that do exactly what they claim to.
One major benefit of all this: these shoes are ultra-easy to clean. If your kids like to spend time in the dirt or grass, or if you love to wander off of the beaten path, these shoes will more than stand up to the challenge. I’m a fan.
- Who: Vessi Footwear
- How much? $135 CAD
- Sizes: 5 – 13
- 100% waterproof
- Breathable & stretchy fabric