I like these, I mean really like them – they’ve rarely been off my feet in the last two months. I didn’t own the original versions from a couple of years ago, so therefore come at this completely fresh. Palm have the Gradient for sale in two versions: a boot and shoe, it is the shoe we have been using.
There is also a third alternative that Palm have named as the Camber, which is a little lighter and not as re-inforced as the Gradient but with a harder sole for more general use.
Like many water shoes now on the market, they can be worn anywhere and not just for paddling. It all depends on taste really and as to whether you really like the bright green detailing or not. If you don’t, well that’s fair enough – just use them for paddling or on the river’s edge.
Comfort and grip are the two words that will come to mind almost immediately and really apart from that – then what else do you need? Well the Vibram sole really is very sticky, sure-footed with good tread for mixed terrain plus stiffness and an element of protection for the toes. The footbed is nice and wide, which really suits me and if you need more room still, then you can remove the insole as the Gradient has a finished footbed.
The shoe itself is constructed in a reinforced layered mesh with double-stitched seams, there is good open tongue entry for the foot with tabs front and back and it’s finished off with tie laces. That is perhaps the only area I would change as I personally prefer a type of draw system and if I was being really picky, then the laces don’t have to be so long.
We have only very minor grumbles on what is an excellent water shoe, which performs its job with aplomb.