group gear test
Deck shoes have moved on since the traditional leather moccasin was first designed in 1935. The YM team put the latest generation to the test
Deck trainers. Things have moved on from leather moccasins. We test the latest boat shoes
Anyone who’s spent the day squelching around in soggy leather deck shoes knows the unpleasantness of that slimy-footed feeling. Whether walking the sidedeck or alighting the dinghy, it takes just a little water to get into your shoes and blight your day.
If it’s not water getting in, in hot weather you’ll find out how much your feet sweat and getting the moisture out becomes an issue, especially if you opt to go without socks. Where the traditional boat shoe will hold water and take an age to dry, deck trainers are designed to let water out and be fast-drying. If you’ve tried deck trainers you’ll rarely convert back. The use of modern materials make the shoes lighter, especially when wet, and the increased number of eyelets make them a better, more secure fit than regular deck shoes.
Trainer design varies, as does the support the shoe gives. Many brands are available in a range of different colours, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a trainer that suits your needs. As with all clothing it’s important to find the right fit for your feet, be they long, short, wide or narrow.
HOW WE TESTED
With a number of different sized feet in the YM office, we chose 11 pairs of deck trainers in a variety of sizes, for both women and men. Prices ranged from £30-£110. The shoes were inspected for features, design and build quality by the team. The shoes were then tested for grip on a dry surface and a second time on a wet surface, before being tested while sailing. After wearing them sailing, the shoes were worn ashore to see how they coped with life on land too. Finally, to test their draining speed, we poured 1 litre of water into the shoe and timed it as it drained. After 1 minute and 30 seconds any residual water was measured.
Hitting the deck for our highly sophisticated grip test