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Boat Shoe Thoughts

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    Boat Shoe Thoughts

    Quick question: I like boat shoes, and have always owned a pair, long before I cared what clothes I wore. They always seemed pretty normal to me -- just "shoes". It's interesting to hear that lots of people dislike them -- but also it's strange that I don't see many people say why they dislike them. So, people who hate boat shoes: what reasons do you have for hating them? Aesthetic (they are stubby, or something) or cultural (they signify "frat guy" or "stuck up Northeastern rich kid"), or something else? Just interested to hear your reasons.


    I am in the 'hate boat shoes' camp, both for the aesthetic AND cultural baggage reasons. I think they look like a bit of a quagmire (too much going on, although some are worse than others). But probably the bigger reason is they do indeed remind me of the northeastern douchebags I went to high school with It's a tough association to get past, I suppose. What's most surreal in this regard is that I'm now old enough to be seeing fashion trends from my high school days come back around, which makes me feel woefully old. The prepster chic that is so big now is straight out of my east coast H.S. circa 1992.



      Interesting -- thanks for posting. I do agree that they aren't sleek and are pretty busy. I didn't know any northeastern rich kids growing up, so I guess I never thought about the association until very recently. I was just thinking that, in spite of their odd appearance, they do "fit in" over a remarkably wide array of social situations. That is, you can wear them to the beach as well as with a casual blazer and everything in between, and most people won't notice. Versatility -- I think that's why I tend to wear them in the summer time. But it's good to know that I'm using something that has some pretty strong associations, too.



        I used to wear boat shoes, but honestly prefer more year-round shoes today. For example, I picked up some of Oak Street Bootmakers' brown trail oxfords which can be worn in at least 3 seasons out of the year (might be too cold for winter, but then again maybe not in Atlanta).

        They are a classic staple in any guy's closet, but whether or not they'll work for you is a decision you'll have to make. For me, I avoid them now since they're so trendy, but may return to them when the furor dies down. Others may think I'm late to the trend, but I'm a little contrarian in my views.




          I like those Oak Street Bootmakers, but honestly, when I look at them I just think "Hm, those are some interesting looking boat shoes."

          That being said, I dig boat shoes. So this thread is not for me.



            I used to hate them until I got a pair.

            They are the perfect lazy man shoe. Slip on barefoot. No need for upkeep. Wear in just about any casual setting.



              You know, I think I agree with Lewis Hollow that they're a bit of a mess aesthetically, but I will keep wearing them since, well... I own them. Mine have contrast sole and contrast stitching, with the laces wrapping all around them (just the normal brown Topsiders with white sole, but damn do they look busy now that I notice them). But those Oak Street brown trail shoes are great, because they tone down the style but keep it in the same ballpark. Guilty, those are for sure my splurge next summer. Thanks for posting!



                This is harsh and personal opinion, so be warned.

                I don't like 'em. I think they are an unflattering shape. Like the Station Wagons of shoes to me. I've said it many times, it is just a shoe with no sex appeal like a traditional loafer shape, no turn on value to me. It wouldn't look good in a flashy studio ad that even some desert boots or lace-up riviera shoes could pull off, on James Bond in Cuba, or in a lineup comparison next to anything by Tom Ford. It just strikes me as the slightly oblivious college guy's/ Key West fantasizing dad's shoe choice.

                Think about those sexy car silhouettes in ads. It doesn't have the big and tough SUV boot shape, or the low-profile sporty shape of coupe sneakers, or the smooth curves of a sleek sedan leather shoe. It is low, but with flat, unflattering rolling on its hood when you walk. A station wagon.

                Basically, it is not a good shape to me. I hate the flat top style of shoes. It has that squishing frumpy effect as you step, like a guy tripping on a yoga mat.



                  "Like the Station Wagons of shoes". So very well said, Cannon!



                    I see the appeal and convenience of boat shoes and don't object to them on aesthetic grounds, but, as with loafers, a preponderance of the dudes I see wearing them look, for one reason or another, like douches. But that's obviously an unfair generalization and I come from the poetry world, so I recognize that my sense of douchey-ness probably differs from most others'.

                    And while I'm at it, the other thing that bugs me about boat shoes is that most people who wear them don't spend any significant amount of time on actual boats.




                      It's funny because the thing that bugs me about desert boots is that most people who wear them don't spend any significant amount of time in actual deserts. And don't even get me started on trench coats...



                        I'm on the fence with them. I haven't owned a pair since high school, and I just prefer canvas sneakers or tasseled or penny loafers. Canvas sneakers for street styling and loafers for a more dress-up.

                        Boat shoes are just in that middle zone that I can't reinvest in.



                          What do you west instead, if not boat shoes? What do you wear with chino shorts? What do you throw on when you have to run to the grocery store? I live in California, and am confronted by this dilemma daily.

                          I am sick of them too, but am feeling tied to them. I have been eyeing blucher mocs or some penny loafers. Bucks, you say? I have canvas already for truly casual times




                            With shorts: canvas sneakers, casual leather non-athletic sneakers ( ), or the simple grey sneakers like discussed here ( )

                            With long chinos or pants, just about anything flies. Desert boots, oxfords, whatever. Just not boat shoes or anything else with that shape like old loafers

                            Doesn't the name loafers turn anyone else off like it turns me off?



                              I don't hate them but they're just not for me. I could also never do loafers, with or without socks. I know these are both considered staples for classic men's clothing, but I think I have a pretty good idea of which shoes align with my style and neither of these do. I just happen to be more of a canvas sneaker/desert boot/suede bucks kind of guy, even though I don't have any bucks yet. ;-)