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

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS - Pic­tures Graham Snook

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

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