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Possibly my favorite all around summer shoe that can be worn by anyone, regardless of age, is the boat shoe. Originally made famous by Sperry, but other brands like Sebago have been producing similar quality boat shoes for years. While the boat shoe’s primary function (obviously) was for boating, we’ll learn that boat shoes have always been the go-to for the fashion forward.
Sperry boat shoes have been a household name for decades. The man behind the shoe, Paul Sperry, came up with the idea when his dog was able to run over ice easily. Mr. Sperry used a method that was used on tires, called siping. By cutting thin slits in the rubber sole, the shoe was able to catch on slippery surfaces. The nonslip shoe made it ideal for boaters. Boat shoes are also famous for their moc-toe (think moccasin) with oiled leather to repel water.
Since these shoes are normally worn in wet and hot conditions, no socks are necessary. The no sock trend really picked up steam in the 60s with penny loafers and continued through the 80s when loafers with no socks was seen as preppy. Because yachting was a main reason people wore Sperrys, Top-Siders began to be associated with the wealthy.
Today, the shoe seems to be reserved for southern frat boys with salmon shorts and a too-tight polo. Personally, I like to think they are worn by so many Greek Life students because they are always in style. Sperrys have been considered a modern fashion trend for quite some years and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere. At this point, they are really less of a fashion trendvand more of a style icon.
When purchasing a boat shoe, think simple. A complicated, half tennis-half boat is not something you want. This is known as a hybrid shoe that they try to do too much with one design. This design is generally clunky, has too many clashing materials, and is an overall visually unappealing shoe. Meanwhile, a classic one-material boat shoe is simple, sleek, and only uses leather for the top of the shoe. Colors like Oatmeal, Sahara, and Tan are safe classics. Avoid colors like black, gray, and any leathers that are grained. Whatever company you choose, if you’re looking for one shoe to wear throughout this summer, the boat shoe is it.