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Nike Sneakerboat II: Potential Minimalist Running Shoe from Nike?

Nike Sneakerboat 2

A few months ago I was reading through a thread on the Runner’s World Barefoot Running Forum about a pair of water shoes called the Nike Sneakerboat. I’ve seen water shoes/aqua socks suggested many times as a cheap form of minimalist running shoe (and a minimalist shoe should by definition be inexpensive if there’s less to it – unfortunately the opposite seems to more often be the case!!!), but it can be hard to find a pair that are aesthetically pleasing (if you care about that kind of thing), or that have laces that can be cinched up. The Nike Sneakerboat looked to meet both of these criteria, but unfortunately posters on that thread indicated that the shoe appeared to have been discontinued.

 Nike Sneakerboat II
 Side view of the Nike Sneakerboat 2 – seems to have a pretty flat sole.

As I was rocking my 6-week old son to sleep earlier tonight, I was thumbing through an Eastbay catalog, and happened to notice that they were advertising a shoe called the Nike Sneakerboat II. Nike has apparently released a sequel to the original Sneakerboat, and it is now available through several on-line retailers (see links below). I have no idea how this shoe might perform as a minimalist running shoe, but I was tempted enough by its apparently flat, minimally cushioned sole (see picture above), it’s reasonably attractive design (it even has a flywire-like pattern similar to Nike running shoes), and its low price ($40-45.00 depending on the store) that I ordered a pair to try out. The shoe is also apparently environmentally friendly (which is a big plus in my book), being made out of recycled materials as indicated in the following description from the Eastbay product page:

Whether you’re passionate about the environment or just want a comfy casual shoe to wear on the beach, the boat and beyond — look no further. The Nike Sneakerboat II is made with recycled materials, including the recycled-content mesh and neoprene upper and the recycled foam sockliner. It also has an OS44 sticky rubber sole with Regrind™ for great traction on wet surfaces. Wear it for the earth, wear it for the boat — or wear it for a cool summer style!

Nike Sneakerboat 2

It’s clear from the above description that Nike is not marketing this as a minimalist running shoe (maybe they should – we’ll see), but the Vibram Fivefingers also began their life as a water sports shoe, so who knows, maybe these will do the trick. Given that these are half the price of most Vibrams, and a third of the price of shoes like the remarkably expensive Terra Plana EVO ($160.00 for a minimalist shoe???), it would be great if they represented another alternative to what’s currently out there for minimalist runners. Check back here in a few weeks and I should hopefully have a preliminary review posted (if I don’t, it’s likely because my wife strangled me for bringing yet another pair of shoes into the house!). In the meantime, if you just can’t wait to try them yourself, here are a few links to where they can be purchased:

Purchase the Nike ACG Sneakerboat II at (Eastbay mistakenly call these shoes the “Sneakboat” on their website, but gets it right in their print catalog).

Purchase the Nike ACG Sneakerboat II at

Below are is a picture of the Sneakerboat II in all black, as well as a picture of the sole.

Nike Sneakerboat II

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. 66jzmstr says:

    Cool. I’m tempted, but I’ll hold off on getting these until I see some reviews – yours, perhaps? I’ll stay tuned.

  2. 66jzmstr says:

    Cool. I’m tempted, but I’ll hold off until I see some reviews – yours, perhaps? I’ll stay tuned.

    • Pete Larson says:

      I’ll try to get a first look up after I get them – should be here within the


      • Did you ever try running in these? Is there an updated review elsewhere on the site that I am missing?

        Edit: Nevermind, I found the updated review:

        • Pete Larson says:

          I actually just ran in them last week – much better in winter than in
          summer. Made of a neoprene type material so they hold sweat, but they’re
          zero-drop, thin soled, and handle just fine on the road. Not the best
          looking shoe, but not a bad option for zero-drop on the cheap. Decently wide
          forefoot for a water shoe.


  3. michaelchasetx says:

    So, shows them for $44, but I bought my watershoes to run in for $13:
    and they run great!

    • Pete Larson says:

      Those look interesting – do they breathe well? Also, what is the fit
      like in the forefoot? Thanks for the info!


  4. I bought a pair of Sneakerboat 1’s at Sports Authority ($20 on sale) about 18 months ago and have run over 75 miles in them. They are perfect except that the neoprene doesn’t breath. So I wear them on short runs (3 miles or so) or in cool temperatures.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yeah, breathability is the big problem with these. Fix that and they are a
      decent option. I also agree that version 1 looks better.


  5. The Sneakerboat 1’s looked better, too. I posted pics of mine

  6. fred perry shirts says:

    Thanks for posting such a great article. I come here all the time to get more info. Thanks a lot for the content.

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