Sperry Rio Aqua Review

9.8 score
[Editors rating (9.8)] = (WalkJogRun) score (9.8)/10

Editor rating: 9.8 / 10
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Do you know why the inventor and sailor Paul A. Sperry invented the famous Sperry Top-Sider shoes?

Because he fell from his boat. Yes, that’s right. While sailing in the wide open ocean, he slipped of the deck and fell overboard. He made it safely to his back shortly, but this particular fall, made him to think and to crave shoes that won’t be so slippery. So, when he noticed that his dog didn’t have a problem walking on to slippery surfaces, he realized that it’s because of the grooves on the paws. They were padded and it’s precisely that design that inspired him to make grooved patterns into a natural rubber sole. And thus, the famous Sperry boat shoes were born.

They were invented out of necessity back in 1935, but since then they’ve been a product of lots of love. The authentic boat shoes are still the company’s pride and joy, but over the years, the company grew and a much wider selection is available to the fans of the brand.

The Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker is one of the company’s latest offerings.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Slip-on with dual elastic goring

Decorative laces

Wool upper

Soft textile lining

Memory foam footbed

Textile heel tab

Durable rubber sole


Lack of color varieties

No leather option


Is there anything better than the durable and very dependable rubber outsole? Nope, and for the past 84 years, Sperry Top-Sider has been sticking to the classics to produce a classic. And yes, Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker is an instant classic. Made with the highly durable rubber, the outsole has the right amount of thickness and strength to carry the delicate elegant upper of the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker.


The memory foam footbed is another classic feature inserted in one timeless sneaker. The footbed coated with a soft lining, gives the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers their recognizable bounce, comfort and style without compromising the style of the sneaker. Your arches will be grateful for having a shoe with a memory foam footbed, and so will the rest of your body.


While the outsole and midsole were filled with simplicity and timeless classic materials, the upper of the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker is the most innovative and yet so understated in its simplicity. How could you not love a shoe that’s filled with such simple, sleek and elegant design? The upper is hugged by a gorgeous perforated fabric in monochromatic uniformed color. It blends perfectly with the overall style of the shoe, and especially with the rubber.

In some of the models the color of the upper is matched by the color of the outsole, but in some models of the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker, they differ in color. The color of the outsole sometimes doesn’t match the color of the fabric used in the upper. The upper is made with a slip on design, and with a round toe. The slip on design of the sneakers makes them more practical and easy to put on (and of), but these sneakers get a very big helping hand in that respect, from the pull on tab and dual elastic goring panels.
Have you noticed that in addition to the elastic goring panels, there’s also a lacing system inserted on the upper? Yes, they’re also present but in a more decorative way. Yes you can lace them up but it won’t affect the grip and the stability of the shoe, especially in the upper. They look great, but they don’t lace up as well, however they too match the color chosen for the upper.


When comfort is in question, the entire section of the sneaker should be consigned. That’s how it should be at least. Not always is, but Sperry Top-Sider is a company that doesn’t leave anything untouched. So the comfort is one of the main points when designing the shoe, and the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker has plenty of it. The memory foam footbed provides most of the comfort in the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker, and that can be felt from the textile lining and the amazing cushioning in the footbed.


There isn’t a particular dominant part of the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker that brings out most of the support. The support is a team effort here and all of the components attribute together. The outsole, the midsole and the light but very constructive upper.


Yes, you’ve guessed it. The durability in the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker comes from the top and bottom of the shoe. The rubber outsole gives the durability the much needed boost, while the quality wool is responsible for maintaining the durability in the upper. So, several part of the shoe make it durable and long lasting, and picking the quality materials is only half of the job.


Another team effort for the sneaker hall of fame. When looking for a good flexibility in a shoe, one always must be warry of the pieces that fuse the sneaker together. Why? Because flexibility doesn’t always apply to the rubber in the outsole. Yes. It’s preferred that it’s flexible, but what’s the point of having a flexible outsole if the other parts of the shoe are not moving along with the outsole? Thankfully, the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker doesn’t have that problem. The flexibility is on a high level in the midsole and especially in the textile upper. The Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker will movie as your foot moves and you’ll be able to feel that flexibility in every step that you take.


What’s the point of buying a sneaker if it fails to keep your feet on the ground? The stability is very crucial to the design of the sneaker, and the Sperry team knows it. That’s why they’ve designed the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker. A shoe that’s stabile and hugging of the foot, and just like with everything in life, you’ll need something to keep your feet firmly on the ground. Luckily for you, the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers exist for that.


Most of the airflow in most of the sneakers comes from the synthetic upper or the mesh construction positioned somewhere on the upper. Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker took the things in their own hands and the result is a wool upper that in some of the models comes perforated. The perforations add a wonderful cooling effect to the shoe, but frankly the wool does most of the airflow, with or without the help of the perforations. The wool is a natural material with noticeable moisture wicking properties, and also is a natural odor repellent. So, while wearing the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers, your feet will remain cooled, aerated and clean.


The rubber outsole is enough to make the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers walkable on every type of terrain. Why? Because the outsole is ridged and every bumpy or slippery road will prove irrelevant and non-threatening to you. However, because the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers are made from fabric, they’re not suitable for wearing them in moist conditions or unpredictable weather. They’ll damage quickly if you do, and the high quality materials used in the making of the shoes will become irrelevant.


The traction is important for the company since the moment that Paul A. Sperry fell from his boat. The company has been perfecting the traction properties of the merchandize for decades now, and the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers has been one of their finest work. Why? Because no platforms or heavy reinforcements are needed to get the desired traction. Everything can be achieved thanks to the high quality rubber and the modeling of that very same rubber to withstand any type of unpredictable terrain.


How to achieve the best style, comfort, and durability over the years? Perfect and upgrade everything that needs to be perfected and leave the rest alone. Don’t touch it. Especially the simplistic nature of the design. Just look at the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneaker. So simple, elegant and yet filled with style and effortless chic. Yes, the technology gets better and better every year, and there are plenty of upgrades that are achievable there, but the style is what becomes timeless. Generations and generations have enjoyed the clean, sleek almost seamless lines of the Sperry merchandise and the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers are just the last of that offering. They’re great for every stylish and elegant woman that just loves a touch of class and simplicity.

What’s great about them is the fact that they can elevate an outfit just by their presence, even with the simplistic design. Only the great companies can achieve that. To stay true to their roots and not to get on board with the meaningless and fleeting trends. Because trends will come and go, but the style will be there forever. There’s a reason why the company has been successful for more than 8 years.

And that reason is producing consistently quality shoes with consistently elegant designs. Consistency is the key in any business, and the Sperry Top-Sider have found a way to perfect it. Consistency is what brings back the customers, and introduces the new generations to the items that the generations before them valued and loved for so long. So that minimalism and effortless chic presence in the Sperry Top-Sider merchandise has been a constant for more than 80 now, and they’re not slowing down. In fact by the looks of it,, they’re only getting better and better.

Bottom line

he words timeless classic get thrown aimlessly these days. And it’s really unfair because when they do need to be used properly and to describe something classic like the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers, the words have unjustifiably lost the meaning. But in this case, it’s true. The Sperry Company has been making timeless classics for the past 84 years, and the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers is their latest offering. It’s the timeless classing in the making that we’ve been craving for so long.

The crispness and the sleek elegance of the upper is only matched by the simplicity in the outsole. And fused together they make one fantastic product that is on a good path to becomes a staple in a lot of shoe closets. But what makes it a shoe worthy of a staple status? Well, that simplicity that we’ve mentioned can be felt in almost every part of the shoe. Sometimes companies can go really overboard and put 16 different features that basically can do the job of only great one. So, instead going in a megalomaniacal path of greed and abundance, the Sperry Company has remained true to their roots and designed something that’s close to home. A shoe that’s so elegant that it doesn’t even needed shoelaces to be grand, but they’ve put them anyway for decorative purposes. The Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers are versatile and can be worn with practically everything you probably own in your wardrobe. Because they’re more casual in nature, they best work with the sporty side of your wardrobe and the athleisure side too. The yoga pants in your drawers will pair beautifully with the Sperry Rio Aqua.

But the Sperry Rio Aqua Sneakers could use a more statured footbed, and especially a removable one for practical reasons. Platform is not needed, but the midsole could use a makeover, as it’s a bit dull and unimaginative. If the situation calls for it, a bit of detailing or stitching done with a different color thread can work well, but not playing with the monochromatic palette. These are the type of shoes that wouldn’t benefit from mixing colors and patterns, and it would ruin the simplistic nature of the design. It’s practically a sin to put a busy pattern on such delicate upper.