While it may be effective in the field, most technical footwear makes you look like a tool the second you step indoors. Nobody wants to see you rocking a pair of waders at the brew pub.
Thus, one of the most welcome trends in the outdoor goods market is the emergence of technical gear that also looks good when you head back to civilization. Footwear company Teva has a new offering in this category, the Fuse-Ion shoe. It attempts to blend innovative outdoor performance with a good amount of style points, and it succeeds.
Designed as a “casual” water shoe, the Fuse-Ions are tailor-made for the wet stuff. They have plenty of traction on wet and moss-covered rocks, and they dry quickly, making them perfect for a hike to a waterfall or keeping you comfortable during and after a downpour. Best of all, they still look good when you’re walking around town.
While good looks are a matter of opinion, the first two data points can be judged on merit.
The uppers are protected with Teva’s ‘Ion Mask’ treatment, an almost imperceptibly thin coating that renders the shoes completely water-repellent on a molecular level. The shoes don’t dry off quickly, because they never actually get wet. To test the water-repellent claims, I walked through creeks and pushed off from boat ramps, and water just fell right off of the shoes as soon as they exited the water. Whenever I spilled water or beer on the shoes, it invariably rolled right off. While the shoes’ material is totally waterproof, the shoes themselves are not. If you splash (or even pour) water on the shoe itself, you’ll stay dry, but if you submerge your whole foot, water’s going to get inside, though it’ll drain almost immediately. This is fine as long as you’re not wearing socks, because while your shoes shed water well, your socks most likely won’t.