A Mans Guide To Boat Shoes
In the 1930s, Paul Sperry, a former Navy Sailor, avid outdoorsman, and designer of duck decoys, bought himself an old schooner that he fixed up and made seaworthy. While he loved to sail it around Long Island Sound, he found to his dismay that the boats painted decks were royally slippery when wet. After one particularly bracing fall overboard, Sperry vowed to find a way to get better traction.
Sperrys first idea involved enhancing the grip of the deck itself by repainting it and sprinkling on the fine grit of emery dust. This did improve the decks traction, but, he discovered, If any part of the human anatomy came into touch with , it was like giving yourself a rub down with sandpaper.
So Sperry went back to the drawing board, this time deciding to alter the other side of the contact surface equation: the shoes he wore on deck.
Rubber-soled shoes seemed to be one key in providing a little more stick, but after making hundreds of experiments with them, none truly provided the grip Sperry desired.
Then one day Sperry noticed the way his dog Prince was able to agilely run over icy ground, and a light bulb went off. He examined the poochs paws and noted that the cracks and grooves on their pads provided a natural non-slip surface.
A drawing of the siped sole from Sperrys original patent application.
Can You Wear Boat Shoes With Socks
Many of you have probably wondered whether you should wear boat shoes with socks or not. If you try both options youll realize that not all socks go well with boat shoes and that there are times when you can wear them without socks. Heres why. Boat shoes and socks can be a tricky combination. Also, if you dont wear socks, youll be uncomfortable and your feet will become sweaty. They might swell or cause foot blisters. Why is that bad for you? Going sockless can cause your feet and shoes to smell more. And the worst thing is that your new boat shoes wi start to look old and worn out, way sooner than usual.
Wearing shoes without socks, causes shoe rotting from the inside out. Wearing shoes without socks may also cause an infection, such as athletes foot. Athletes foot or jungle rot often causes foot burning, scaling, itching and causes a lot of pain. If you want healthy feet, foot care is essential. That means you need to keep your feet dry, wear breathable shoes and cotton socks that will help you to prevent foot infections.
Walking sockless isnt as easy as it seems. Theres nothing worse than a soggy and sticky sensation after a long day of walking. The odor that comes from your shoes will eventually transfer to your skin, no matter how much you wash them. So, yes, its recommended that you wear boat shoes with socks. They provide a barrier of absorbent protection to your shoes and protect them from rankest.
Boat Shoe Tip 4 Wear Them Instead Of Trainers
“Boat shoes are smarter than trainers, but they’re not smart-casual,” Luke says. “When you’re wearing an outfit that you’d usually wear with trainersfor instance, a t-shirt and jeans, or a shirt and shortsswap in boat shoes and you’ll look slightly smarter. Chinos, especially, look great with boat shoes.”
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Benefit Of Wearing Socks With Boat Shoes
1. Reduces the Possibility of Having Bad Feet Odor
On the other hand, some health experts recommend that you wear socks with your boat shoes because of some health concerns, such as forming blisters and damp feet that can lead to bad feet odor.
2. Fungal and Bacterial Infection
Not wearing socks will increase your risk of developing fungal and bacterial infections because sweat remains pooled in your feet. Microorganisms thrive in damp and warm areas.
If you wear socks, the sock could protect your feet from forming blisters and absorb sweat so you can quickly change into a new pair whenever necessary.
The socks could also provide comfort, as they are softer to your feet. They could provide a soft pad to protect your feet when walking or running as well.
Nevertheless, there are specific pointers that you may want to refer to when deciding on colors and outfit pairs.
When Can You Wear Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are traditionally summer shoes and are ideally suited for casual spring or summer events such as garden parties. While they make for a stylish addition to many casual outfits, the siped sole adds the practical benefit of good grip in wet weather as well.
Image From Deposit Photos
With that in mind, lets go through some of the places that are best suited for wearing boat shoes in a little more detail.
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Wear Ankle Socks For Your Workouts
They hit right above the ankle bone and are specially designed for active affairs. Ankle socks should see you doing one thing and one thing only: breaking a sweat. Since these guys are designed specifically as performance gear, you want to avoid using them in lieu of your regular or no-show socks. Partner them with your running sneakers and get those reps in!
Can You Wear Boat Shoes To A Wedding
Boat shoes are a casual shoe style or smart-casual at best, so are not generally appropriate for formal events such as weddings. Even for the more casual summer weddings, a slip-on dress shoe such as a penny loafer would be a better option than boat shoes.
Boat shoes add a laid-back, casual vibe to most outfits, therefore they arent suitable for cocktail or formal attire.
As mentioned above, if you are looking for a similarly easy-to-slip-on comfortable shoe for a smart-casual wedding, youd be better off opting for a penny loafer shoe.
Penny loafers are still on the more casual end of the spectrum of dress shoes. However, a well-maintained pair of brown leather penny loafers would still be a lot more appropriate to wear to a wedding than boat shoes.
Leather penny loafers would be a better option than boat shoes for a wedding Image From Shutterstock
A summer wedding that takes place predominantly outdoors may make penny loafers acceptable. Examples include lakeside or beach weddings.
An example outfit would be a navy blazer with an off-white pocket square, a white dress shirt, a smart pair of stone chinos, and brown leather penny or maybe tassel loafers.
But unless the bride and groom are planning an exceptionally casual affair, boat shoes are best avoided at weddings.
If you have any doubt whatsoever, its worth finding out well in advance. Underdressing for a wedding is never a good feeling.
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Can I Wear Casual Shoes To A Wedding
There are many people who dress semi-formal or dress casual. If youre looking for a casual look, wear a sport coat and chinos with a pair of stylish casual sneakers or casual shoes. In spite of the fact that we dont wear formal attire as much as Black-Tie or Formal, we still advise caution when it comes to what to wear.
Use Your Boat Shoes For Warmer Climates
You should wear your boat shoes for warmer climates and not during winter or cold seasons. You can wear them when going on outings, for a walk on the beach or the park, informal parties, summer getaways, everyday adventures, and other events during summer or warmer climates.
You need to use warm clothing during winter, and the boat shoes cannot protect your feet from the cold. Its also not good fashion sense to wear boat shoes with heavy winter coats. So, remember to put aside your boat shoes in your closet during winter and let them hibernate for a while.
If you do want to wear boat shoes in colder weather, wear boat shoes and socks. The socks will add extra warmth and prevent you from getting sick. Boat shoes with visible socks are a fashion faux pas, but in the winter, wear them to stay warm.
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How To Style Boat Shoes
As the name suggests, boat shoes, or deck shoes, were originally designed to be worn by sailors as a response to the challenges faced by slippery decks on the roaring seas. In 1935, sailor Paul Sperry was inspired by the natural grip in his dogs feet, so he mimicked this by carving treads into the bottom of his shoes rubber soles to improve traction on the deck of his ship.
Fast forward four decades to the 1970s and the boat shoe evolved into a stylish footwear choice worn across the globe. They are typically made from water-resistant materials leather with soft rubber soles though many styles now use canvas instead of leather. Though canvas isnt water-resistant, it does benefit from being quick to dry.
As you can wear them with most of your wardrobe, mens boat shoes have become a summer staple find out how to wear boat shoes with all your favourite outfits in our styling guide.
Fashion Sense : Style Coordination
You could buy the most popular, most expensive footwear and wear it to a party with shorts and a shirt. But they will make less of an impact and possibly even look awkward on you without implementing the right proper style and color coordination.
Certain shoe colors go with everything, such as white and black. Blue will match aqua, yellow, white, pink, khaki, black, and crimson.
Whatever shoes you choose to wear, lean towards natural colors and earth tones. Remember, the shoes should make a more passive statement and theyre to be worn to support the shorts and the shirt.
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Match Long Pants With Black Socks
You can wear black dress socks with your boat shoes when you would be wearing black pants. Dress socks are lighter than the standard socks. A light top and a coat or blazer would be perfect for colder weather or casual wear.
You may want to wear a thicker coat during winter and transparent boots over your boat shoes. Take note, though, that boat shoes are not for winter wear.
How To Care For Your Boat Shoes
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Are Boat Shoes Out Of Style
No, Boat Shoes arent out of fashion, but wearers should know when to wear boat shoes and how to wear them. The main reason why people fail to recognize style in these shoes is that they arent aware of the current trending fashions. Nowadays, boat Shoes can be used for both informal and formal wear, and you can get easily dapper your outfit with boat shoes. Boat shoes arent out of style you only need to understand the current fashion trends as well as when to wear and how to wear them.
Can You Wear Boat Shoes In The Winter
Boat shoes were specifically designed to be worn in warmer weather and are generally not suitable for winter wear. They leave a lot of the foot exposed and vulnerable to the cold.
As boat shoes are designed to be worn without socks, this means that they are just not practical in the colder months.
They are also low cut at the ankle, so will offer less protection against the snow and wind.
However, if you really arent ready to let your boat shoes go, the general advice is to go for thicker socks and longer trousers to minimize the impact of the cold weather on your feet and ankles.
The long trousers should also hide the longer socks being worn with the boat shoes a combination generally frowned upon.
You may also be able to find some boat shoes that have thicker soles for added insulation and grip in cold weather.
One of the few benefits of boat shoes in the winter would be the siped sole giving you plenty of grip in wet weather. In addition, the oil-infused leather is water-repellant and should prevent water from seeping through.
Overall, however, the exposure of the foot will make boat shoes an awkward and impractical choice in the winter.
More appropriate casual winter shoes include sneakers or a pair of casual boots such as chukkas or Chelseas.
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What Is The Right Way To Wear Boat Shoes
When it comes to styling these nautical-inspired shoes, there are a few dos and don’ts to live by. First up, boat shoes look great on men when paired with jeans, chinos or shorts. For women, these shoes work well with cropped or cuffed denim but also can be worn with skirts, casual dresses, shorts and khakis, too. Remember: Boat shoes are pretty casual, so the outfit itself should be casual, as well.
Another frequently asked question about wearing boat shoes is, When can you wear them? Short answer: Definitely not during the wintertime. Boat shoes are a spring- and summer-only style. Unless you live in a coastal town year round, you should probably save your boat shoes for April to September.
Now, how about where? Where is it totally acceptable to rock boat shoes and where is it…you know, not so appropriate? The general rule to follow is: casual shoes, casual events. If you work in a business-casual environment or it’s casual Friday, wear them to work. Heading to the docks or on a yacht? Wear the heck out of them! Going on a casual date? Fair game! Other places to wear boat shoes include the beach, when traveling, at a casual bar, etc. But if you’re attending a wedding or other black-tie event, skip them in favor of a fancier shoe like a loafer.
Match Your Socks Color With Your Outfit
You can choose any sock color that matches your outfit. The complementary colors that you can combine are: yellow and green, blue and red, pale blue and pink, blue and orange, yellow and brown, dirty white and brown, tan and maroon, turquoise and cobalt blue, pink and fuchsia, light blue and black, white and black, and grey and pink.
Choose sock colors and attires that match the shade of your boat shoes. Remember that your boat shoes are for casual wear, just like your sneakers. You can also match the boat shoes with polo-shirts, t-shirts, button-down shirts, sleeveless blouses, khaki shorts, denim, jeans, and other casual attire.
Now that we know the answer to the question, do you wear boat shoes with socks? or is wearing sock with boat shoes a good idea? Lets proceed to some tips for choosing boat shoes.
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Wearing Boat Shoes Without Socks Can Ruin Your Shoes
If youve ever worn boat shoes or any other type of closed toe shoe without socks, you may need to pinch your nose when you take them off. Your feet naturally produce a lot of sweat, particularly in the summer months when boat shoes are most commonly worn. As this moisture accumulates, your boat shoes will develop a stench that is virtually impossible to get rid of. Wearing socks specifically designed for boat shoes can prevent this from happening.
Beyond developing a putrid smell, wearing boat shoes without socks can also damage the insole of the shoes. As moisture develops, the insole will loosen and begin to peel back – damage that is difficult to repair without completely replacing the insole.
Wear Striped Socks With Your Boat Shoes
If youre going to an evening with friends or to a casual party during summer, wearing ordinary striped socks with your boat shoes can add a dynamic and carefree mix into your outfit. You can match these with jeans and a sleeveless pastel-colored top. The striped color of your socks should match any of the colors of your attire.
So when wearing boat shoes and socks, we recommend no-show socks however, you can wear striped socks if you want to show some flair.
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How To Wear Boat Shoes And Look On Point
Well be starting this article with some simple tips to help you make the most out of your boat shoes. Of course, these tips are just some tried and tested suggestions and not some rules that must be followed. You should always feel free to experiment and come up with your own style.
So here are our favorite ways of styling them for every season. And theyll be followed by a list of the best places to shop for boat shoes.
Select A Color That You Can Pair With Any Outfit Color
Choose a boat shoe color that you can pair with any outfit color. The most recommended boat shoe colors are dark brown, black, and dark blue. You can pair these colors with light-colored outfits, light-colored pants, shorts, and dark-colored shirts or blouses.
Naturally, if you think you can carry with flair bright colored-boat shoes, feel free to pick them and create your style.
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Why Do Boat Shoes Have Laces On The Sides
Boat shoes actually have a long history. First invented in 1935 by New Haven, Connecticut, sailor Paul A. Sperry , boat shoes became a thing when Sperry cut sipesa grip-improving groove or channel in the tread of his shoes. The idea behind this was to provide better traction when navigating the wet decks of the boat.
In addition to the sipes, boat shoes also developed laces on the sides in order to provide a more snug fit. Because of their original design and function, boat shoes aren’t supposed to slip off easily, so the side-laces were created in order to secure them well. After all, no boater wants to lose their shoes while walking across a wet deck.