Guys, if you want to be lazy this summer stick to hi-tops, addidas classics, vans and half-cabs. However, if you want a bit more swagger juice and would like to dress above your paygrade (you gotta fake it till you make it right?) then you should consider boat shoes.
I have been bored of trainers for a while so when I received a pair of Sperry Top-Siders today, I was excited to add something different to my shoe rack.
Boat shoes (or top siders) were originally designed by a boat man who noticed that his dog fared well on the slippery surface of his boat. He noticed that the secret to this extra grip was the groove-like pattern in the dog’s feet. And so Paul Sperry, the dog owner, crafted a design that has now grown beyond boaters to fashionistas across the world.
Boat shoes are very comfortable to wear. Mainly because they have very soft rubber insoles and a rubber non-marking sole. They feel great when worn indoors or on wooden surfaces and since they are cut out of suede, they are much softer and smoother than leather.
The thing is, such shoes were originally designed for boats. So while they are great to wear on smooth, even surfaces, I am not so sure how they would fare on rougher terrain. But, hey, you will buy a pair for champagne and cocktail parties on yachts right? No need to venture to Gate Crasher with a pair on, only to wake up and find that they have bits of vomit all over them!
What do they go well with? Pretty much anything. In the picture below I wore a simple pair of Levis and it worked pretty well.
While there are other brands of boat shoes on the market, I chose a pair of Sperry Top-Siders because if you are going to get boat shoes, you might as well get a brand that started it all.
This line has a wing-tip toe cap (just like traditional brogues) and orange laces which not only provide great contrast to the grey suede, but can also complement your jeans’ threadings if you fold up the bottom sleeves as I did in the picture below.
Price-wise, the shoes are a little on the high end. You will be lucky to find a pair for £60-£70. They are usually in the £100-£120 range. If you shop around (for example ASOS has a number of Sperry shoes for under £100) you could find some bargains but I think if you want quality, sometimes you just have to pay for it – sale or no sale.
I am told if I treat these shoes right – that is, I don’t subject them to big nights out that involve lots of walking and hanging out in over-populated cheap bars and clubs – they should last many years. Well, we’ll see about that!