The beloved boat shoe is get­ting some stylish en­hance­ments for the up­com­ing sea­son.

Yachting - - DEPARTMENTS - by kim kavin

Pre­fer a two-eye or three-eye pair? Form meets func­tion with th­ese boat shoes from Dooney & Bourke and Tim­ber­land.

They say that sailors had boat shoes all to them­selves from about 1935 to the 1970s. The orig­i­nal pair, in a mis­guided feat of styling over func­tion, had black soles that stained the teak decks of ev­ery boat they touched — but they helped keep crew­men up­right on wet side decks, so the de­sign idea stuck. Of course, land­lub­bers even­tu­ally took no­tice, and once the pur­pose-built boat shoe be­came fash­ion­able, all kinds of colors abounded. The Of­fi­cial Preppy Hand­book in­cluded boat shoes on its first pub­li­ca­tion in the early 1980s, and from then on, every­body from col­lege stu­dents to city dwellers needed a pair. ¶ To­day, it’s not just vari­a­tions on style and color that make each boat shoe dif­fer­ent, but also evo­lu­tions in wa­ter-re­sis­tant fea­tures, man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods, and ma­te­ri­als used for long-term com­fort. Just as

there’s an ideal set of foul-weather gear for ev­ery yachts­man, there’s also an ideal pair of boat shoes. The for­mer de­pends pri­mar­ily on cruis­ing am­bi­tions, while the lat­ter de­pends equally on plans for head­ing ashore to beach­front bars. ¶ Dooney & Bourke, for the boat shoes it makes to­day, draws on a cor­po­rate his­tory that dates to 1975 in Nor­walk, Con­necti­cut. Back in the day, peo­ple wanted Dooney & Bourke leather sad­dle­bags and mail pouches for their fine crafts­man­ship and re­silience over time. To­day, of course, there is far more in the cat­a­log; the clas­sic Re­gatta Boat Shoe comes in men’s and women’s styles, in tra­di­tional as well as mod­ern colors such as or­ange and red. The hard­ware is made from stain­less steel brought in from Switzer­land, to stand up to just about any salt­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment. ¶ An­other man­u­fac­turer of­fer­ing boat shoes to­day is Tim­ber­land, founded in 1952 in Bos­ton and per­haps best known for its boots. That back­ground of need­ing to re­pel snow, ice and all forms of win­ter wa­ter is a good match for the boat-shoe cat­e­gory, where the com­pany ap­plies re­pel­lents for oil-based stains too. ¶ So, yes, the se­cret of the beloved boat shoe is out, but at least to­day’s de­sign­ers are adding black up top, not in the soles. Style and form have melded, for the best.

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