Boat Shoes: the Perfect Style for Summer
You don't have to be into sailing to appreciate the comfort and style of a good pair of boat shoes. These soft soled, casual shoes were indeed designed to be worn on deck. Now they're just as likely to be seen on the streets of the city or out in the countryside as on the water.Also known as deck shoes, boat shoes have soft soles which won't slip or scar the wood of a boat deck. They are generally rugged enough to stand up to the elements.
The sheer practicality of boat shoes doesn't mean they're not stylish, though. They're a staple part of European men's wardrobes. They're also a key part of the preppy style in North America, too.
What's the Difference Between These and Loafers?
With their casual, slip-on style, many people become confused between deck shoes and loafers. Although the two styles of footwear can look similar, however, there are a few key differences.
Whereas boat shoes generally have rubber or other non-slip soles designed to keep you on deck even in the wettest of weather, loafers were designed simply for "loafing" in. Their soles will be smoother, and less hard-wearing.
Boat shoes generally have a nautical look about them, as you would expect. The classic style uses a thin rope which is threaded through holes on the sides of the shoe, ending in laces to the front. Although some of the more modern styles now available look more like traditional athletic shoes, the majority of boat shoes will follow this basic style. This style of shoe tends to be suitable only for casual occasions: although loafers could easily be worn with more formal attire, boat shoes are usually seen only in warmer weather, and paired with jeans or shorts.
Where to Buy
Although deck shoes are more classic than they are fashionable, you should still find a good selection of styles in most shoe stores. Look for them particularly in the summer months, when people's wardrobes become more relaxed. If you'd like to take your hunt for a new pair of shoes online, try some of the following retailers:
It would be difficult not to find a style of shoe to suit you at Zappos. There are literally hundreds of different pairs available, and their boat shoe section is crammed full of shoes in the classic, nautical style. It used to be the case that boat shoes could only be found in blues, whites and browns, but a quick glance at Zappos shows that this is no longer the case, and no matter what color you'd like your boat shoes to be, it shouldn't be too difficult to find it.
As you would expect from the name, this company specializes in selling boat shoes, and is therefore a happy hunting ground for shoes for both men and women. You'll find a mixture of traditional deck shoe styles, mixed with their more modern counterparts here.
Sperry Top Sider has been manufacturing and selling boat shoes since 1935, so, as you might imagine, they've had plenty of time to get good at it. There are styles here from men and women, ranging from classic to ultra-modern.
Sport stores are always a good place to begin a search for deck shoes, and Dick's Sporting Goods is no exception.
Boat shoes are a style of footwear traditionally associated with men's fashion, but that doesn't mean women can't get in on the act, too. All of the retailers mentioned above manufacture boat shoes for women. The style is one which looks great with jeans, capri pants or shorts for a laid back, summer look.