January 6, 2023
Edit: Be sure to read my update at the bottom of the article. These shoes were not waterproof for long.
When it comes to footwear, companies producing waterproof shoes are few and far between.
Finding stylish shoes that you don’t have to worry about getting wet is a whole different problem in itself.
Vessi has been getting high praise for their well-designed waterproof shoes, so I went and bought the Cityscape model to put them to the test.
Here are my thoughts on the brand, their lineup, as well as what I think about the shoes after wearing them for the last six months. Spoiler alert, they are now the most comfortable shoes I own.
Vessi was started in Vancouver by three founders in 2018—Andy, Tony, and Mikaella.
If you’ve ever lived or traveled to Vancouver in the winter months, you’ve probably experienced the city's notorious dampness, and this team went out to solve one of their biggest gripes — footwear that you don’t mind getting wet.
Finding shoes to wear in wet weather is always a tough choice. You don’t want to get your good shoes wet, but at the same time, you often don’t want to wear that ugly pair in the closet that doesn’t see much light of day.
The goal of Vessi was to create a shoe for men and women that kept socks dry in the rain but remained stylish.
To say they’ve succeeded is an understatement. These shoes aren’t just water-resistant; they are entirely waterproof.
Born out of Kickstarter
I was surprised to learn that Vessi originally started on Kickstarter, and to say they were successful is putting it lightly.
Their first campaign was in 2018, where they made a pretty big splash on the site with over 7,000 backers and over one million dollars in funding.
Lightning struck twice in 2020 when they went to Kickstarter to launch their second design, resulting in funding from 9,365 backers to the sum of 1.2 million dollars. Not bad.
It’s not unheard of to see successful projects continue selling outside of the crowd-funded marketplace, but few have the staying power to remain in the market beyond a few years.
Their social media following has blown up over the last two years as well.
As of writing this article, their Instagram account sits at 238,000 followers, Facebook is at 60,000 likes, and Twitter is around 10,000. Not bad for a new shoe company.
Vessi shoe styles
Since launching with just one design back in 2018, Vessi has been adding more and more to its collection every year.
Vessi is currently showcasing seven different models, each with a unique design and goal in mind. Here’s a quick overflow of what they offer.
Vessi Everyday Move
The Vessi Everyday shoe is one of their flagship models, offering maximum comfort, excellent breathability, and eight different color options.
This model might be up your alley if you’re on your feet all day.
The Everyday shoe seems to be the generalist shoe out of their lineup.
It has a simple design that’s a little bit more understated than the move, and its six simple colors offer more of a minimalist look than the rest of their lineup.
This model has a cushier sole than the others, which should give some added comfort if you’re on your feet a lot throughout your day.
Vessi Everyday Move Slip-On
Like the two models above, the Everyday Slip On has shared characteristics, but you guessed it — it’s a slip-on shoe.
If quickly stepping into your shoes is a priority, you might want to look at these instead.
Vessi Weekend Sneaker
The Vessi Weekend model will be the best option for a classic sneaker vibe.
They are still completely waterproof, but they have more elements of classic shoe design that will be a little more familiar.
Vessi Weekend Chelsea
These are probably my least favorite out of the lineup, but I don’t think I’ve ever liked the design of a Chelsea boot.
I will say that these pull-tabs on both the front and back of the shoe are clever features, though I typically only see them on the back by the heel.
The Cityscape was the model I ended up purchasing for myself. I wanted something a little bit more low profile, and I found they had a more unique design than the rest of the lineup.
They are ultra-lightweight and shockingly comfortable.
Vessi Sunday Slipper
Last but not least, the Sunday Slipper is the last remaining shoe in the lineup.
Like the title, these have been designed for comfort at home but still have enough versatility to wear on a quick errand.
How to clean Vessi Shoes
One of my favorite things about Vessi shoes is how easy they are to clean.
Since they are 100% waterproof, you can fully soak these things in soap and water if need be.
Once wet, gently scrub the sole with a toothbrush and rub the knit portion with a sponge.
You’re not going to want to throw them in the dryer, so just leave them out to airdry, and they’ll be looking brand new in no time.
How much are Vessi Shoes?
The cost of each shoe will depend on the model, but you’ll typically find the price ranging from $88 USD/$110 CAD on the low end for the Sunday Slippers and $143 USD/$180 CAD for the Chelsea boots.
The rest of the models usually float around that $120 USD / $150 CAD mark.
What are Vessi shoes made of?
The magic layer
Vessi calls the top layer “Dyma-tex,” and is their patented material that covers all of their shoes. It’s 100% waterproof while still being breathable.
The material is constructed of nano-sized pores too small for water molecules to pass through but big enough to keep air flowing throughout.
Inside, you’ll find a molded insole with good support, made with an anti-bacterial material. It comes in handy if you’re like me and prefer to slip your shoes on without the need for socks.
As a bonus, they can be easily removed and washed, keeping them nice and fresh.
Last but not least, the Vessi sole is what keeps you from slipping around. They are all lightweight and, of course, grippy, even in wet conditions.
Are Vessi shoes really waterproof?
Update: Make sure you check out my update at the bottom of this article.
The marketing videos aren’t just for show. When my Vessi shoes arrived, the first thing I did was stand in a bucket of water and check to see if the waterproof claim was valid.
They sure are.
If you hold the shoe under a running tap, you’ll see the water just bead and roll right off the surface.
Just note that you can't go and submerge your entire foot in water — it'll leak in through the top of the shoe.
Vessi shoes size guide
After looking at various size recommendations on the Vessi site, I went with their true to size recommendation, which turned out to be a great choice.
They do feel a bit tight when you first put them on, but after wearing them for a bit, they ended up adapting to my feet and loosening up a little bit.
If you’re curious about the fit of a specific model, find it on their site and check out what some of the reviews say.
Just a heads up—if you’re a woman looking at the Weekend shoe, make sure you size down since it will fit about 1 size large.
What if you’re a half size normally?
If you’re right in the middle size-wise, Vessi recommends you size up for a looser fit and down for something a little snugger.
I wouldn’t worry too much about getting the wrong size since they have a generous warranty period.
Will orthotics fit Vessi shoes?
Because the insoles in all Vessi shoes can be removed, you can swap them out for whatever orthotics or insoles you prefer.
Does Vessi offer wide or narrow sizes?
Vessi only offers their shoe collection in standard widths as of this writing.
They say it shouldn’t be an issue because their stretchable fabric gives you a little extra room compared to traditional materials.
If you’re looking for the narrowest style, go with the Cityscape shoe, and if you’re looking for something a little wider, go with the Weekend.
Does Vessi have kids' shoes?
With kids' apparent love for puddles, it makes perfect sense for Alessi to have a kid's shoe line.
They currently have two models available, the Kids Weekend, and the Kids Weekend Chelsea.
Should you wear socks with Vessi shoes?
It’s totally up to you.
I prefer to wear these without socks (especially since the insole is so easy to take out and clean).
I’ve found that the shoe's breathability is excellentwhen you’re not wearing socks—it keeps things nice and dry.
Do Vessi shoes have good reviews?
I can say I’m pretty happy with my pair, and it looks like I’m in the majority.
Their site currently shows over 5000+ reviews, with the vast majority being either 4 or 5 stars.
It looks like they did a street campaign filmed for YouTube, which shows some honest reactions of people getting to see firsthand just how waterproof these shoes are.
Vessi shoe discount
While I couldn’t find any discount codes available that worked, Vessi does offer a 10% discount when you sign up for their newsletter.
Vessi shoe quality
It looks like quality is something that Vessi is striving for, and it shows in both the product and in their reviews.
I took a couple of closeups of the Cityscape shoes that I ordered to show off the evenness of the stitching.
I like the mix of texture in these materials as well. If you look closely, you can see that part of the material almost looks like suede, but it’s all vegan.
After wearing these shoes for a few months, it looks like the top of the shoe is holding up well. It’s not getting noticeably loose, and the shape holds nicely.
Where to buy Vessi Shoes?
After looking around, it seems like the safest place with the most options is to buy them directly off the Vessi site.
With Vessi gaining so much popularity, I wouldn’t be surprised to see fakes in the market being sold through Amazon or Ebay.
Vessi offers free shipping over $80, which will cover any shoes on the site.
If you’re looking for a smaller purchase of one of their accessories, you’ll have to cover the shipping yourself.
Vessi accepts returns within 90 days of your purchase, but as with most shoes, they’ll have to be in new condition.
Keep in mind that some sale items are available (on Black Friday, for example) where Alessi won’t accept returns.
Vessi has a generous warranty for manufacturer defects, covering your shoes for an entire year after your purchase.
Your warranty will be void through any modifications, excessive wear and tear, or any introduction to harsh chemicals.
Contact information for Vessi
If you need to reach out for any more information, you can easily reach customer service through their site or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
12 month update - Not impressed with their waterproof claim
It's winter where I live, and the ground has been pretty wet lately due to some recent snowfall.
I noticed on my walk home today from lunch that my feet were a bit cold, and noticed that there were some water marks near the toe of each of my shoes. This was a bit strange, because I wasn't walking through deep snow or anything — it was on damp pavement, with a few wet areas where I was crossing the street.
Once I got home and took my shoes off, I noticed that the water had actually seeped through the shoe enough to get my socks a little bit wet.
(Don't mind the inside out sock, I clearly wasn't paying attention this morning).
This is pretty disappointing to say the least. I've reached out to their warranty claim department with the photos above and I'm curious to see how they are going to react since they are about 17 days outside of the 12 month warranty period.
I'll post an update when I hear back, but I would no longer recommend buying these if you want to keep your feet dry.
Update: They responded back saying since its over the warranty period, they can't do anything. Instead they offered 25% off my next purchase, but I'd rather just replace these with something of higher quality.