The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot Review

A boot of high style with low practical weather protection.
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Price:  $120 List | $109.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Trendy, comfortable micro-fleece lining, sufficient traction for flat surfaces
Cons:  Low weather protection, expensive
Manufacturer:   Sperry
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 4, 2018
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 4
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Style - 20% 7
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Warmth - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot is right in line with the classic duck boot look and brand appeal. Traditionally a marine lifestyle brand, this particular model seems to blend with the urban trend of undone laces. Scoring high style points, these boots, unfortunately, did not offer as much weather protection and traction as we would have liked. Although, the micro-fleece lining and overall fit did provide ample comfort. Best for the most casual of outings, this low-top competitor's strong suits are comfort and style.


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Pros Trendy, comfortable micro-fleece lining, sufficient traction for flat surfacesTall flexible shaft, comfortable, adjustable boot circumferenceMid-height shaft, fashionable, substantial tractionElegant, sufficient weather protection, wide circumferenceStylish, easy to carry, insulated
Cons Low weather protection, expensiveHigh cost, no insulationBasic foot support, minimal insulationNo insulation, run a bit largePlush lining comes off, not as tactile
Bottom Line A boot of high style with low practical weather protection.The best of the best, this model is a high-quality, stylish boot.A very straightforward, elegant boot that is highly affordable.A stylish rain boot that still covers all the basics.For those who wish to add extra warmth and style to the wardrobe.
Rating Categories Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot Original Back Adjustable Kamik Heidi UGG Shaye Bogs Amanda Plush
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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6
Comfort (20%)
10
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6
10
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7
10
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10
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6
Style (20%)
10
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7
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9
Traction (20%)
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6
10
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8
10
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6
10
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6
Warmth (10%)
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7
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5
10
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4
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6
10
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8
Specs Sperry Saltwater... Original Back... Kamik Heidi UGG Shaye Bogs Amanda Plush
Shaft Height (from ground to top of shaft) 7.5 in 16 in 12 in 13.75 in 10.5 in
Weight (for pair tested) 1.9 lbs 3.6 lbs 2.7 lbs 3.1 lbs 3.3 lbs
Width Options Regular and Wide Regular Regular Regular Regular
Mouth Circumference 10-11 in 14-19 in 13.75 in 15.5 in 13-14 in
Upper Rubber/Rawhide Vulcanized Natural Rubber Phthalate-free Synthetic Rubber Rubber Rubber
Lining/Insulation Micro-fleece Knitted Nylon Nylon Nylon Wool
Outsole Rubber Natural Rubber Synthetic Rubber Blend Rubber Rubber
Insole Removable insole Multilayered Sponge Insole Removeable Kamik(R) Comfort Footbed Removeable Lamb wool, sheepskin insole Removeable EVA Insole
Sizing info True to Size Runs large True to Size True to Size Runs large
Size we tested 8 7 8 8 8

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Saltwater Duck Boot is a short model from a well-known brand. Inspired by the classic duck boot look with a waterproof rubber footbox, the upper is constructed from rawhide leather with rawhide barrel tie lacing and rust-proof eyelets. Lined in micro-fleece, they are undoubtedly cozy. Other features include a side zipper and a non-marking rubber outsole with Wave-Siping tread. Due to a detached tongue and non-waterproof zipper, the overall waterproofing of the boot is one of the shortest of the contenders we recently tested. In addition to relatively low weather protection, we found the traction to be subpar in the snow or across slimy rocks during our river test.

Performance Comparison


The Saltwater Duck Boots in an icy river at the bottom of Dream Canyon  CO: being careful to not step too deep.
The Saltwater Duck Boots in an icy river at the bottom of Dream Canyon, CO: being careful to not step too deep.

Weather Protection


The Saltwater did not stand up as well (pun intended) against the elements as the others in the fleet. The barrel laces and the tongue collected snow (and ultimately, water) over time. Since the tongue is detached, we found ourselves with melted water in the boot, which soaked into our socks. The side zippers are not waterproofed and allowed for water to seep through when wading. Despite measuring 7.5 inches from the ground, the effective shaft height against leakage is only 4.25 inches (at the base of the zipper). This leaves the rubber footbox as the only buffer in weather protection.

The style features of the Saltwater Duck Boots  such as the side zipper  detached tongue  and barrel laces did not provide as much weather proofing as we hoped for.
The style features of the Saltwater Duck Boots, such as the side zipper, detached tongue, and barrel laces did not provide as much weather proofing as we hoped for.

Comfort


The most notable aspect of these boots is the micro-fleece lining. The footbed is also fairly cushioned with a removable insole, and the toe box is roomy. We did experience heel slippage, but the lining didn't create any hot spots. For all-day wear, there isn't anything particularly remarkable, but our feet did not ache by the end. Weighing in at 1.9 lbs for the size 8 pair we tested, they are easy to carry around and pack. The rawhide upper is flexible and did not impede mobility.

A significant drawback is in how difficult they are to slip on or take off, as they required the use of their zippers. While we liked the look of the barrel laces, they didn't seem to serve any function, as they were not long enough to tie in a bow. When we did try to tighten them, they came undone after a while, leaving the boot feeling loose and a bit big for us.

Style


Sporting a high level of fashion, the Saltwater is one of the most urban looking of all the boots we reviewed. The dark barrel laces and the subtle heel give a nice, feminine look. Overall they are cute and highly versatile with outfits. You can easily wear jeans over them, or in them, and you don't have to worry about looking too "rubbery" when wanting a shoe to keep your feet dry.

The very trendy Saltwater with their "loose laces" look.
The very trendy Saltwater with their "loose laces" look.

Traction


With Wave-Siping tread, the Saltwater performed well across all flat surfaces, no matter wet or dry, and even in the snow. However, on any incline, the traction did not hold up as well, especially when compared to the incredible performances of the others. We attribute this to the tread of the Saltwater being fairly shallow.

The Wave-Siping tread of the Saltwater Duck Boots was great for flat surfaces  but not so much on wet  snowy inclines.
The Wave-Siping tread of the Saltwater Duck Boots was great for flat surfaces, but not so much on wet, snowy inclines.

Warmth


With a thick lining of micro-fleece, these boots are warm. The Saltwater was one of the top performers in this metric. Although the insulation is not as technical and rugged as a few of the others, the Saltwater did a fine job maintaining heat above 35F or so. There was a loss of warmth over time in the snow and during the icy river test, but the Saltwater is warmer than most of the other models, which also meant they became quite hot in temperatures above 65F.

A closer look at the micro-fleece lining of the cozy Saltwater Duck Boots.
A closer look at the micro-fleece lining of the cozy Saltwater Duck Boots.

Fit


While Sperry offers whole sizes from 5-12, they only offer half-sizes up to 9.5. In retrospect, we think we should have gone with the 7.5 as opposed to sizing up to the 8, as our findings indicate they run true to size. The foot box is roomy, especially for the toes, but being a touch big, there is heel slippage for us. The circumference of this Duck Boot ranges from about 10-11 inches, depending on whether you can keep the laces tied.

Value


Based in Massachusetts and manufactured in China, these brand-name shoes list for a cringe-worthy price. For being such a short rain boot and with comparatively low weather protection, we do not believe the price is worth it unless you absolutely love the fashion. Thus, if you value high style over all else, these boots certainly fit the bill.

The Saltwater Duck Boots in an icy river at the bottom of Dream Canyon  CO: being careful to not step too deep.
The Saltwater Duck Boots in an icy river at the bottom of Dream Canyon, CO: being careful to not step too deep.

Conclusion


These Sperry Saltwater Ducks Boots are a feminine approach to the classic duck boot. Unfortunately, it seems to us that fashion outweighed functionality in this case. Weather protection is relatively low, but, nonetheless, they are very stylish and provide sufficient coziness for all-day wear.


Sara Aranda