Deck Shoes: A Buyer’s Guide
You don’t have to be at the Aldeburgh Yacht Club to be seen in a pair of deck shoes. This functional footwear has become a lifestyle shoe and most of our customers buy them for just that. Deck shoes became part of the classic iconic leisure look in America in the 1960’s thanks to the likes of JFK and his love of the nautical life. In more recent years we’ve seen the Duchess of Cambridge doing great things for our sales of Sebago Balas. She’s been spotted in them many times often just during downtime with the family, worn with a pair of jeans and a Breton top. Sebago have now updated the Bala style with the Sebago Meriden.
We asked our staff at O&C for the low down on the deck shoe and here’s what they said:
- Function or fashion, what do you intend to use them for? Of course all of our styles can cross both arenas but if you do need them for sailing, consider razor-cut soles, rust-proof eyelets and rot-proof lacing (think Sebago Triton or Sebago Clovehitch).
- If you’re after one of the originals head for the Sperry Top-Sider or the Sebago Docksides. Both brands had keen sailors at the helm who wanted a functional, hard-wearing non-slip shoe and hence the Top-Sider and Docksides were born. Paul Sperry in fact invented the first non-slip shoe after watching his dog walk happily on the ice in 1935 and he cut grooves in rubber to replicate the paw of the dog.
- Choose your sole. Whilst the original Deck Shoe had white non-marking soles today’s boat shoes come in a variety of colours. The white or two-tone sole gives things a spring/summer and more contemporary look whilst the darker sole is easier to wear for more formal occasions.
- A classic brown leather deck shoe (like our bestselling Sebago Schooner) can be worn year round and for (almost) any occasion whilst a bolder colour or material is great for a casual spring/summer outfit so think about when you intend to wear them. We love the Liberty Art print available on this season’s women’s Docksides.
- If you’re not a fan of the laced deck shoe fear not, there is also the classic moccasin style with the boat shoe sole. Try the Dubarry Hawaii for women or the Sebago Sloop for men. Laces are also optional in the Sperry Striper Sneaker based on an original 60’s pattern and it still has the non-marking, non-slips soles.
- Socks or no socks? For use on the water the original intention is to wear deck shoes without socks and that is still the most common look today, on or offshore, but it really is personal preference. If you like the feel of socks but not the look why not try some of our Falke Step Invisible socks for men or the Falke Nautical Sneaker socks for women.
So let’s face it you might only be wearing them on dry land but with our UK summers there’s always a place in the wardrobe for some non-slip soles.
Shop the full range here: