Deck shoes or Boat shoes are the summer’s latest trend at Mainline Menswear, with half a dozen of the brands on the site producing their own fashion version of the increasingly popular leather or suede deck shoe. The first deck shoe was invented in 1935 by Paul Sperry, founder of the Sperry Top-sider boat shoes. Sperry took inspiration from how his dog ran over water and ice without slipping. He cut siping into his shoes soles giving the rubber sole more grooves with which to grip surfaces such as his wet boat. The popularity then increased with the US Navy coming on board with the deck shoe design leading to countrywide and then into worldwide popularity. Sperry Top-sider is seen as the shoe for a true boater, providing quality and comfort, but at a price. With this in mind Sperrys have a range of products including technical boating shoes, classic deck shoes and then a small fashion range to capitalise on the current trend. These include some brand new Bahama deck shoes that feature a high abrasion rubber outsole compared to the thin rubber sole of a boat shoe. The other brands that are currently championing deck shoes such as Lyle and Scott, Fred Perry and Original Penguin are created purely for fashion purposes, with the intention of looking and feeling good in them while being on trend and fashionable.
So, how do you wear a pair of deck shoes? Deck shoes can have a varying range of uses and styles at the moment with a style for every occasion….
At the beach/BBQ/warm summers day – a pair of leather deck shoes tonal in colour to your shorts with a smart polo t shirt which can then be accessorised with sunglasses and a metal or leather strap watch to finish off your dressier sportswear beach look. For the slight chill complete with a lightweight zip top or cotton v neck jumper.
Out and about/smart casual function/spring day – a pair of leather or suede deck shoes tonal in colour to your chinos with a short sleeve or long sleeve rolled up shirt and a windbreaker or v neck jumper. Again, can easily be accessorised with a designer watch and sunglasses can be worn to suit the spring sunshine.
Colder day/shopping/day at work – a pair of leather deck shoes tonal in colour to your skinny or tapered jeans with a t shirt or long sleeve shirt and a lightweight zip or button up top, sleeveless jumper or v neck lambs or merino wool jumper.
Deck shoes really can be worn on every occasion, with every outfit. They are designed to be a smart alternative to flip flops or canvas pumps for this summer and it is advised that you swap your loafers for a pair of boating shoes for the time being, or at least until the rain and cold weather hits. Now for the other burning questions on everyone’s lips – to wear socks, or not to wear socks? That is the question!
The answer is quite simple, boat shoes can easily be worn with or without socks, it all depends on personal preference. It is generally said that deck shoes should be sockless, however if your feet do create a lot of moisture or it is cold then socks are accepted as long as they are tonal to your shoes and outfit, no one wants to see black socks with beige deck shoes! The last thing to consider with deck shoes is the care that is required in maintaining them. Boat shoes are smart summer shoes and should be kept neat and tidy in appearance. Oiling the shoes with leather oil will maintain them and ensure the leather lasts longer, while spraying the insoles with shoe cleaner will avoid unwanted fungus and infections to your feet due to the sweat and moisture of a sockless confined space. So all in all deck shoes really are a HUGE summer trend that can be worn in every situation and with every outfit, all it really comes down to is personal preference and a wardrobe to match the smart causal look of a deck shoe. Remember to be a trend setter, not a follower and wear your favourite deck shoe in an outfit that you feel good in, and keep them neat, smart casual is the look for the summer, and it starts here.