From the Australian sailing apparel upstart, comes a pair of lightweight sailing shoes that thrive in warm, wet conditions.
When it comes to sailing shoes, there are two directions you can go in – either do your best to keep the water out with a pair of waterproof boat shoes, or embrace it with a pair of lightweight sailing shoes.
Zhik’s Fuze sailing shoes fall very firmly into the latter camp, with a lightweight design and perforated upper that allows water to flow out as easily as it flows in.
This is perfect for warm, wet conditions where getting your feet wet isn’t a problem, but feet that stay wet might be.
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I put a pair of ash grey Zhik Fuze shoes to the test on a two-day RYA Dinghy Level 1 learn to sail course, which required closed-toed shoes.
Being an ardent hater of sandals anyway, I was pleased to have this option and my instructor was moved to jealousy by the Zhik Fuze’s practical design and subtly colourful light grey and green exterior (a dark grey alternative with blue highlights is also available).
Zhik describes the Fuze as an ‘amphibious shoe’ and this is an apt description of the job they did, providing grip while launching my Laser Pico from a sandy beach, but drying quickly once the wind was gently breezing across the deck.
Grip was exemplary throughout a day of light winds tacking and gybing. A spare set of laces was included, but I never felt the need to change them as the ones provided never came undone.
Sizing comes up large, so if in doubt pick one size down. That said, my slightly oversized 10s were perfectly comfortable, with and without socks, even if they did retain a fair scoop of sand due to the loose fit around the ankle.
Durability was also impressive – after three months of wear ashore (including plenty of gardening) there was only a superficial tear in the heel upper that was noticeable. The all-important toe area remained completely intact.
The RRP of £109.96 puts the Zhik Fuze in direct competition with premium leather deck shoes, but if you are a regular club sailor, these are well worth the investment and far preferable to a pair of cheaper running trainers.