The Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers are versatile, comfortable, lightweight and quick-drying deck shoes, ideal for sailing, kayaking, SUPing and days exploring the coast

Product Overview

Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers


  • Very versatile
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Brilliantly breathable
  • Great grip
  • Quick drying
  • Recycled content used


  • Little thermal protection in cold weather
  • No toe bumper


Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers review

These deck sneakers, or aqua-trainers as Helly Hansen like to call them, are pitched by the Norwegian brand as a versatile boat shoe that can be worn during a whole range of aquatic adventures. Fair enough, we thought – let’s put that to the test.

I’ve been sporting these hydro shoes in and out of the water for nearly eight months now, from sailing shenanigans in the midst of a wild winter storm through to paddling escapades in kayaks and on SUPs in the more benign conditions of summer on the Devon coast.

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Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers: Look and feel

We got off to a very good start, these sneakers and me. The minute I unboxed them and put them on my trotters, sans socks, they had the comfort levels of a favourite slipper.

They’re so lightweight you barely realise you have them on, but there’s a good level of cushioning and protection in the midsole, so while walking around on sand, rocks or gear-strewn decks, there’s no need to fret about what you might step on.

I also love the look of these shoes, which despite their high level of practicality, manage to be pretty much smart casual. They look just at home on your feet in a beach bar as they hanging over the side of a yacht or stood atop a stand-up paddle board.

Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers: Design and materials

Keeping the weight low and the feel light and breezy has clearly been a priority for Helly’s designers when they brain-stormed the Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers, which are designed for men and women. The mesh upper is not just featherlight, it also allows your feet to breath very easily. Plus, after a drenching, the shoes drain very quickly and dry rapidly.

The Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers are made to be worn without socks (there’s not much point in having a quick-draining-and-drying shoe if you’re wearing soggy socks underneath them), and they are very comfortable next to the skin.

After multiple wears and many hours on and off-shore in these shoes, I have not experienced any rubbing whatsoever (although I always make sure I rinse them with fresh water after immersion in the sea).

An antimicrobial treatment helps prevent the build up of bad smells. Even eight months in, this is still working, but again, it’s important to regularly rinse these shoes and to let them fully dry before storing them.

Entirely PVC free, the Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers are made with a significant amount of recycled material.

Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers: Performance

The EVA midsole provides cushioning, protection and support to the underside of your foot in all the places where you really need it, and the rubber outsoles are nice and grippy on all sorts of surfaces. The lace eyelets extend right to the top of the tongue, which helps you get an excellent tight grip – you would need to go to some lengths to loose these overboard.

My maiden voyage in the Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP sneakers was aboard a Figaro Bénéteau 3 racing yacht with professional sailor Joan Mulloy, amid an early winter storm somewhere on sea-seam between the Bristol Chanel and the Celtic Sea.

The weather was wild, the waves were mountainous and the deck was underwater half of the time, but not once did I worry about my footing in these shoes, as I moved around following Joan’s instructions.


Photo: Ed Smith

Even when I had to leap over the waves between the yacht and the RIB that took us in and out of Swansea Harbour, I felt secure in the grip supplied by the sole of the Ahiga V4 HP sneakers.

The experience, which took place in the icy embrace of a foul-tempered and chilly late November day, did highlight the fact that the thermal protection offered by these shoes is minimal, and I would recommend wearing waterproof socks with them in cold weather and winter conditions.

Since that wild water baptism, I have worn the Ahiga V4 HP sneakers during umpteen boating trips, gig-rowing, kayaking and SUPing escapades – albeit mostly in much warmer conditions – and have found their performance levels excellent. They’re also perfectly at home while strolling along beaches, cliffs, coastal paths and trails.

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They wouldn’t be my first choice of shoes to wear in mid-winter, but that aside I think Helly Hansen’s claims that the stylish Ahiga V4 HP sneakers are high-functioning and versatile aqua-trainers are more than justified. They're comfortable, classy and functional in equal measure, and the price tag is pretty reasonable.


Construction:Synthetic textile and mesh upper, EVA midsole, HellyGrip rubber outsole
Weight:310g / 11oz (per shoe, men’s size 11)
Colours:Men’s: Off-white / Azurite / Charcoal / Jet black; Women’s: Terracotta / Off-white / Dusty blue / Navy
Compatibility:Sailing, boating, kayaking, SUPing, coastal exploring