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Boat Shoes for Men


Let's go into the history of boat shoes. Boat Shoes as some people will call deck shoes, originate back in the 1935 era when Paul Sperry cut holes into the soles of his shoes. While Paul was sailing with his dog, he noticed how his dog was able to climb up to the ship deck without slipping. A closer look into it gave him the knowledge of how the groove in the dog's paw prevents it from falling off.  In trying to mimic his pet, Sperry used a knife to cut holes into the soles of his shoe. Afterward, he was able to walk on the deck without slipping. He could then sail daily with peace of mind. No more falling off.  A solution was well created. Later on, a lot of sailors adopted it and it was named BOAT SHOES. It has passed through the sailing ages to the fashion era. Now boats are worn by both men and women on an everyday basis.  They are basically canvas or leather shoes with non-marking rubber soles designed for use on a boat. A siping pattern is cut into the soles to provide grip on a wet deck. The leather construction, along with the application of oil on some models, is designed to make them waterproof. The stitchings are highly durable.

Characteristic Features of Boat Shoes

All shoes are made to be worn but not all are made in the same way. Deck Shoes are made in a special way. Here are the features of typical boat footwear.
  • Traditionally, they have a 360-degree lacing system.  Some modern types take the normal lacing style. 
  • Originally have mid- to dark-brown leather uppers. They take different colors and patterns today. You could see them in black, blue, yellow, green, white, brown, grey, and in multiple colors as well.
  • Uppers are treated to repel water and to be stainproof.
  • Hand-sewn and Top-stitched.
  • Moc-toe construction.
  • Usually have three or two eyelets.
  • Non-marking rubber soles. 
  • Soles have a herringbone pattern carved into them.
  • Shock-absorbing heel cup.
  • Their laces are traditionally made of the same materials as the uppers.

How to wear and style boat shoes

Stick with the classics. There are no hard rules here but just simple guidelines. Boat shoes are traditionally worn without socks. Unless you’re taking some experiments, they look great when you keep your ankles bare.  Wear with low vamp socks and you will still maintain styles. Pair your new boat shoe with chinos, jeans, and shorts. GQ has outlined in detail how to wear deck shoes the proper way. Continue reading more
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