Yes, there’s a good selection of waterproof footwear that will keep your feet dry even when you’re walking across shallow waters. None of the ones we’ve seen, however, look as casual and streetwear-friendly as the Via.
Billed as “weatherproof and eco-friendly knit shoes,” these sneakers boast a knit upper that, somehow, manages to keep water from seeping through. That means, your socks and feet will stay dry even as you walk through puddles, cross a shallow stream, or brave the streets on a rainy day, saving you from the hassles of wet socks, smelly feet, and all that uncomfortable mess.
The Via’s upper is made from recycled plastic that’s knitted to look like a traditional fabric upper, allowing it to repel water and wick moisture (plastic properties) while remaining reasonably breathable, so your feet don’t have to sweat like they’re inside a sauna. Yes, recycled plastic, with each pair using up to 30 grams of the erstwhile rubbish recovered from the ocean, giving the shoe its “eco-friendly” credentials. Because it’s a knitted material, the shoes are form-fitting, making them look extremely casual and relaxed compared to traditional waterproof footwear. Underneath the knit plastic layer is a waterproof nano-tech membrane, which adds as a final barrier to keep out any water that manages to seep through, making it viable to wear when walking across any reasonably shallow body of water. According to the outfit, you can keep the shoe partly submerged in water for up to two continuous hours without any water breaking through, although some amount of moisture may begin to make their way in if you stay submerged after that.
The shoes come with tall flaps on top, which are designed to fit snug around the ankle to keep rain and splashes from coming in through the top. Do note, the top isn’t sealed, so if you submerge the shoe completely in water, your feet will get wet, so avoid that at all costs. Those flaps, by the way, can be folded down, in case you want to look like you’re rocking a nice pair of low-tops instead.
The Via pairs that upper with a slip-resistant outsole, so you can move confidently in wet terrain, with a durable build that’s supposedly been tested 60,000 times for bending and movement, ensuring you can be active in these things without the outsole taking damage. Inside, it gets an antimicrobial and shock-absorbing insole, along with a soft inner lining, to promote comfortable wear, while a reinforced toe should prevent damage from wear-and-tear over time.
According to the outfit, the shoes should be able to maintain their waterproof and moisture-wicking qualities for the entire lifespan of the shoes. By lifespan, of course, they’re assuming neither the plastic knit nor the nano-membrane are taking any kind of damage in the form of cuts or holes, as any kind of infraction on either can, effectively, nullify its water-blocking capabilities. Three colors of the shoe will be available on launch: charcoal, ash, and sand.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Via. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $99.