As we know, footwear is always on my radar so when I find something that is not only functional but also fashionable I have to share it. The Zhik ZKGs are one of my favourite pairs of shoes by far. I finally picked myself up a pair last summer, obviously in pink, and never looked back.
The Zhik ZKGs' are an amphibious shoe with incredible grip that can be used in all types of marine settings: from sailing to kayaking to stand up paddle boarding to just a plain old water shoe. The options are endless. These bad boys are nothing new, they've been around for a while and so has my love affair with them. It's been within the last year or so though that I've noticed the increased interest in them; and not just with sailors of all ages and boat styles but among paddlers as well.
What makes these shoes so fabulous is the grip, material and design. I like to describe these shoes as having the grip of traditional performance sailing shoes but the comfort and feel of dinghy booties.
The grip. Let me just take a second to say this grip is something that I've never seen before. I've never stuck to a boat so much in my life. The ZKG grip gave me great peace of mind when I was out on my boyfriend's J24 last summer - never did I worry about slipping. The grip is even great for other marine activities besides sailing, like stand up paddling or kayaking. The grip performs great on the polyethylene kayaks and paddle boards. My boyfriend and I both wore ours out kayaking. I wanted something that would provide some form of protection when launching - never did I slip on any rocks or cut any toes.
The material. Perforated neoprene, which provides fantastic water drainage and incredible flexibility. The increased flexibility allows you to feel the boat better when moving around - no more stiff shoes that need to be worked in. The shoe moves with you, from the very first step. Additionally, since they're perforated neoprene the shoes are as breathable as ever. These shoes are also quick drying since they're not cotton, canvas or leather. Plus, you can take out the sole for even quicker drying. The ZKGs are meant to be out on the water, getting soaked and helping you have the time of you life!
The design. One of my favourite things about these shoes is the lack of tongue. GENIUS. Why? Because no longer do you have that irritation of the shoe's tongue moving around. It just slips right on and stays on - no shifting around. The laces are there if you want to tighten things up but you don't have to use them if you don't want to. You could even take them out if you never use them. If you do use the laces, you can always tuck the ends in at the top, which is what I do with mine. Plus the ZKGs aren't clunky, and they don't have the look of a performance shoe. They just look cool thanks to the sneaker design.
With the lightweight feel, stylish look and functionality required by water enthusiasts, the ZKGs are a fantastic marine shoe that will perform every time! See the shoes in action here.
Now one of the questions I get a lot regarding these shoes is if they provide support? In my opinion they do. My feet weren't sore from wearing them all day, on multiple occasions, nor did I feel like my ankles were going to roll over as I moved around all over the boat. I felt fine in mine, but that's my opinion and everyone has their own idea of sufficient support levels. So my best advice - try them on and see how they feel.
I also get asked about toe protection a lot. It's there. It's great and works well. What else is there to say?
When it comes to sizing, I recommend going down a size, for both men and women, as they do tend to run on the larger size.
I can't stress how versatile these shoes are. From big boat sailors - I've seen a bunch of J105 guys add them to their gear - to small boat sailors - seen some J24 guys scoop these up - to dinghy sailors - RS400 to 49ers - to stand up paddle boarders: these shoes are great for all forms of marine activities on all types of surfaces!
Similar to the ZKGs, the ZK Boatshoe has the style of traditional/classic boatshoes but the grip and flexibility of a performance shoe that is unique to the ZK line from Zhik.
All in all, it's an awesome shoe that I would recommend any day of the week.