Picking a pair of casual kicks has become grueling. Like a kid in a candy store, the idea of having endless options sounds sublime—until you have to pick from endless options.
SeaVees is on a mission to bring the essence of California to the world, through timeless, casual kicks. I got my hands on two pairs and bounced around town, carefully noting everything you need to know.
Have a scroll to find out if SeaVees are your next pick for casual footwear.
What Is SeaVees?
SeaVees is a casual-forward footwear brand headquartered on the central coast in sunny Santa Barbara, California.
The SeaVees legacy is a story rich in discovery and identity. And it’s beautifully wrapped up in a breezy 1-minute clip on the about page of their website.
Born in 1964, SeaVees aimed to produce shoes that captured the original, sun-kissed lifestyle only California could afford.
Then, it vanished. For nearly 40 years the brand lay in the shadows. Until, in a street shop in Tokyo of all places, Steven Tiller—the current founder and CEO—stumbled upon a vintage pair of SeaVees, and fell in love.
Tiller revived the brand in its birthplace of Santa Barbara, and never looked back. Today, SeaVees is committed to preserving the California dream, but it’s doing much more than that.
A Modern Brand
SeaVees produces their footwear in a family-owned factory in Southern China that adheres to strict ethical standards, provides proper living wages, and has no tolerance for child labor.
They also donate one percent of all their revenues to various environmental organizations each year.
SeaVees continues to expand their repertoire of styles and as they put it are, “inspired to honor the origin of the brand, with the continued pursuit of the California dream.”
Things to Consider Before Buying
Guys will never stop needing laid-back kicks. They are a centerpiece of the wardrobe. An item you can arguably wear daily—and with almost every look.
For SeaVees, it seems the goal is to refine casual footwear. To elevate it. To honor the past but push steadily toward the future.
The result is a line of sneakers that feel at once familiar but with an element you can’t quite put your finger on. Something that is both traditional and contemporary.
SeaVees are for guys who want substantial shoes to walk around in. Guys who favor timeless style and quality—not loud, ambitious designs.
My Hands-On Review
Comfort and Walkability
The break-in process took a little time with the Hermosa Sneaker. But here’s why it’s worth it and even better that way.
For my first few jaunts around town, the Hermosa felt stiff and unforgiving. This is due to the superior leather topper that was stubborn to bend freely with my first steps.
The stiffness subsides as you wear them and the leather softens as you walk. I’d much prefer a slow break-in process to shoes that feel flimsy directly out of the box.
Style and Durability
Why is style and durability in the same section, you ask? Because I’ll argue one shouldn’t exist without the other in a truly superb shoe.
I’m a guy who tediously sifts through kicks and buys sparingly. When I get a new pair, I expect them to look good, fit well, and last me two years minimum.
The Hermosa Sneaker in “Kona” feels dependable, lasting, and worthy of a two-year run. With classic dark brown leather up top and a tan sole, the color is worthy of most outfits, too.
After wearing these out a few times, I’m already confident the “rugged oiled leather” and stitching are going to hold up against the sand, dirt, grass, and pavement I consistently tread over.
On the other side, I’d gladly sport these with cuffed jeans and a polo to happy hour and feel stylish from the bottom up.
Sole and Bottom of Shoe
Like many casual sneakers, the Hermosa has a thick rubber sole and firm rubber wrapping around the bottom of the shoe.
This all provides solid reinforcement while walking and makes for a study layer between you and the pavement.
I can appreciate a tan colored sole which doesn’t reveal scuffs or stains as visibly as white does.
The rubber sole consists of a flat, ruffled pattern. This won’t give you hiking levels of grip but allows for traction on most flat surfaces. I’d say you’re safe to skateboard or longboard in these bad boys.
Topper and Laces
This is where SeaVees differentiates themselves from the pack. The Hermosa might be a casual sneaker, but the leather feels like that of a working man’s boot. It’s smooth to the touch, but rigid and thick.
This is what SeaVees calls “rugged oiled leather.”
The laces are also composed of leather. While this accents the rest of the shoe nicely, I found that the ends got curly and twisted at times. This made them difficult to tighten and lace up. That being said, once tied, the laces never came undone the way fabric ones can.
Made with rugged oiled leather, the Hermosa blends durability with laid back style. The Kona colorway is versatile and looks just as good with jeans as it does chinos and shorts.
I like stylish slip ons for a single reason. Sometimes, I’m too lazy to lace up my shoes while rushing out the door.
Appearance and Style
The Huntington Middie is a classier, mid-cut slip on. With no laces, straps, or buckles, it functions as a sleek, minimal option. This is ideal for a night on the town, a holiday gathering, or potentially a less formal office setting.
The topper consists entirely of soft suede that wraps around the shoe. It’s most distinctive feature is a large tongue that blends all the way to the top of the shoe and sits above the sides.
I recommend wearing the Huntington Middie exclusively with jeans, pants, or sweatpants. Mid-tops can tend to look clunky and bottom-heavy with shorts.
Comfort, Fit, and Walkability
A common issue with slip ons is lacking the ability to tighten them. Once you slip it on, you better hope it’s snug, or else you will be dealing with that pesky one to two inches of slippery wiggle room all day.
The Huntington Middie comes with a hidden elastic gore below the suede tongue. This acts the same way laces would to hold the shoe in place on your foot.
The elastic gore does a good job. Although, I recommend buying a half size smaller than your typical sizing for this particular model.
I wear an 11.5 to 12 depending on the brand. I got these in a 12 and should have picked an 11 or 11.5 for a more supportive fit.
SeaVees offers some half sizes, but not between every size, so make sure you check before ordering.
The Huntington Middie is cushy, but I wouldn’t pick this for long walks through town. It’s a subdued style you would wear out to a restaurant or event, rather than running errands.
Suede and Material
The Huntington Middie comes in five neutral, versatile shades. I opted for “greyboard”, a darker grey, tealish color.
The entire topper is made of smooth suede which is supple against your foot and ankle but won’t provide the same support the Hermosa Sneaker does.
The sole, however, has the same sturdy rubber as the Hermosa and other models on SeaVees’ site.
The bottom comes equipped with a heel-strike cushion and a small strip of extra grippy rubber directly on the heel. While this is a subtle highlight, it will give you better grip than the ruffled wavy pattern across the rest of the sole.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
SeaVees boasts tons of 5-star reviews. Reviewers are taken with how buttery-soft the suede is, which I agree with. A few folks mentioned lack of arch support.
There isn’t much, if any, arch support in either of these models. Though, few casual sneakers have insoles to help people with flat feet. It’s worth putting in your insoles if you like SeaVees’ styles but want more arch support.
My Thoughts Overall
What I Like
Truly timeless designs.
Rugged oiled leather is top-quality.
Thoughtful color selections.
Versatile with any wardrobe.
What I Don’t Like
No arch support.
Huntington Middie ran slightly big on size .
Buttery-soft suede is prone to stains and scuffs.
Who Is SeaVees for?
SeaVees produces a wide array of men’s shoes for various activities and occasions. Yet, each model still reflects their timeless mission since 1964, to remain “the original way to go casual.”
SeaVees’ men’s line is for guys who care enough to spend some money on durable, casual footwear. It’s for the guys who value styles that won’t fade through the years.
SeaVees will mesh well with your entire wardrobe due to their neutral color tones and uncomplicated designs.
A search for “men’s casual footwear” will leave you with a hodgepodge of miscellaneous brands. Many make claims, few make anything unique and lasting.
SeaVees should be taken seriously as a competitive force in men’s casual footwear. The brand has steered it’s ship with intention and purpose since its founding in 1964 and re-founding in 2008. This is all apparent in their website, branding, messaging, and sneakers that work together to reflect consistent values.
Be sure to scour their catalogue to find the model that suits you best. For example, The Hermosa Sneaker in rugged oiled leather was more rigid and less breathable than other canvas-topped models. This means trading in lighter weight and breathability for sturdiness and durability.
Similarly, the Huntington Middie feels cushy and reflects a classy, minimalist style. But, the buttery-soft suede is prone to stains and won’t give you the substantial support more walking-friendly models will.
SeaVees has something for every guy out there. Make sure you read through the features and select a model made with materials that match your intended use.
There are hundreds of features that can either make a casual shoe worth purchasing or grazing right over. Timelessness is a simple, but powerful feature you should always get behind.
Are SeaVees Comfortable?
Yes, most SeaVees models are comfortable. The soles are both cushy and firm, and wrapped in thick rubber which helps reinforce your foot while walking.
Are SeaVees Good Shoes?
I think SeaVees are good shoes. Their timeless styles are easy to like and their materials feel durable. Be sure to pick a pair with the right materials for your intended use.
Are SeaVees True to Size?
For the most part, SeaVees are true to size. In the low-top models, select the size you are used to purchasing. In the mid-top models like the Huntington Middie, consider going a half or full size down.