Deck shoes have been around for quite some time now, since 1935 in fact. They also go by another common name these days, boat shoes. The one that is credited with the invention of boat shoes is Paul Sperry. He gained inspiration from his pet Terrier after witnessing his dog running on ice. Marveling that the Terrier still retained a reasonable amount of grip, he set about creating a shoe that would do the same on slippery surfaces. The result, is the world’s first deck shoe.
Grip levels are increased by a special pattern on the sole. This pattern is known as “sipping”. It is essentially a myriad of thin cuts on the sole that gives it its great gripping ability. Since its inception, these shoes went on to become the most widely used footwear on boats particularly in the West. The soles also have the strange ability to leave no marks on the surface. Materials used for deck shoes almost always revolve around leather of some sort as they provide the best resistance against moisture. Additionally, they are treated to further increase this resistance.
There are other options available on the market. These include shoes made from canvas and cloth. They may not be as water resistant as leather is but they tend to dry out very quickly. These materials are also breathable which makes them ideal for warmer weather.
The inherent functionality that comes with these shoes means that they are the perfect solution for sailing enthusiasts and deck hand the world over. Just about any activity that takes place over water is an ideal environment for them. As such, they can be used for kayaking, rowing and even fishing expeditions.
Boat/Deck shoes provide optimal comfort while remaining on your feet for prolonged periods of time. The leather used for boat shoes are combined with oil that makes them water resistant and softer. This makes boat shoes ideal quite comfortable to wear. Those made from canvas are even more comfortable to because they are lighter and softer than leather.
Boat shoes are known for their durability. A pair can last for years if you know how to take care of them. Even though they are meant to get wet, you should give them the chance to dry out thoroughly. If not, there is possibility that mold and mildew may form. So when not in use, hang them up or put them in a well ventilated area. Remove the insoles to make sure it is dry inside and out. Use leather conditioners to retain its appearance and to protect it from wear and tear. Mink oil is ideal for darker colored boat shoes while spray silicone is better for light colored shoes.
Nothing lasts forever so you should also pay attention to the soles of your boat/deck shoes. If the patterns are worn out, you should have them replaced or repaired to prevent slipping on wet surfaces.
There are numerous brands of deck shoes on the market but if you are looking for reputable varieties then 3 brands are at the top of the list. They are:-
• Sperry Boat Shoes
• Sebago Boat Shoes
• Timberland Boat Shoes