Menswear Must-have: The Boat Shoe

Hey Guys! So I’ve written obsessively on desert boots and loafers in the past few seasons. But as much as I love them, I have zeroed in on a new footwear essential — the boat shoe.

Also known as the deck shoe, the boat shoe, as its name suggests, was initially designed to be work on the deck of a boat or a yacht. It may have started off as functional footwear, providing that extra grip on a wet deck, but today, the boat shoe has evolved and attained a cult status because of its versatility and high style quotient. Today, when I look at a pair of boat shoes, all I can think of is a bunch of chic seaside destinations like St. Tropez, Monaco and The Hamptons, where the boat shoe is a footwear staple. If you like the nautical or preppie chic styles, the boat shoe is absolutely indispensable. I have visions of navy blue polos, nautical striped tees, white shorts, linen shirts, espadrilles and Yachtmaster watches… all paired with the perfect pair of boat shoes.

Recently, I decided to go on a quest for the perfect boat shoe. I had my eyes on quite a few pairs but most of them either looked too dull or were not made in good enough leather. I then discovered Timberland’s new line of boat shoes. A brand whose footwear I have written about earlier — I love how they are moving away from their rugged, adventure-driven image to a more urban chic style — has quite a few interesting models.

Here are a few examples and a few tips on how to pair them:

You just can't go wrong with this classic dark brown pair. I paired it with beige chinos for a nice casual chic look -- maybe for work or an informal meeting.
You just can’t go wrong with this classic dark brown pair. I paired it with beige chinos for a nice casual chic look — maybe for work or an informal meeting. Dark brown boat shoes are a stylish alternative to boring leather lace-ups.

 

I rolled up these chinos a bit to change the look -- making it more modern. I wouldn't sport the rolled up chinos look to work but it's perfect for a weekend brunch or a relaxed evening out.
I rolled up these chinos a bit to change the look — making it more modern. I wouldn’t sport the rolled up chinos look to work but it’s perfect for a weekend brunch or a relaxed evening out.

Then I decided to be a little more experimental with my look — as you all know, I don’t experiment much with colour — but for the sake of style I decided to don a pair of blue pants by Quiksilver, rolled them up a bit for dramatic effect, and slipped into this pair of bicoloured cream-beige boat shoes. A bit more casual than the first pair, this pair is a great style statement.

The subtle shades of beige and cream are a great way to tone down a look consisting of bright colours.
The subtle shades of beige and cream are a great way to tone down a look consisting of bright colours.

 

And finally, I chose this pair of Timberland’s Earthkeepers Heritage Classic Boat Shoe. Any guesses on why I love this particular model so much? Well, it has my three favourite colours — red, white and blue. Quintessentially nautical, wouldn’t you say? All I could think of when I was slipping them on was shorts… A perfect look if you’re on a private yacht somewhere, walking through one of Europe’s seaside towns or even just strolling through your neighbourhood.

With this red, white and blue pair, keep your shorts simple -- white or beige -- so that the colours on your shoes are highlighted.
With this red, white and blue pair, keep your shorts simple — white or beige — so that the colours on your shoes are highlighted.

 

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Ask me why I think the boat shoe is this season’s must-have piece and this is what I’ll say…

– It is super comfortable. You can spend hours in a pair, walking across cities and never get tired.

-It is versatile. You can wear it with shorts, trousers and even denims and they look super chic.

-It can instantly dress up any look. Ditch your canvas sneakers for a pair of boat shoes and see the difference for yourself.

With or without socks you ask — the debate continues. The rule of thumb is that boat shoes go without socks… and I agree. But when I’m wearing them with chinos, to work, or to a meeting, I am not quite comfortable wearing them without socks. I’d probably slip on a pair of socks (in a nude colour) in such a case. But that’s me… I leave it to you guys to decide your look.

Stay stylish!

(If you liked any of the above shoes, check them out at Timberland stores across the country)

 

 

 

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