Introduction

Off the back of a recent break down of the updated nautical trend, today’s eye is on the most maritime of footwear – the boat shoe. Defined by a rubber sole and lace fastening that details around the side and back, the boat (or ‘deck’) shoe is designed for sea leg style, hence the name.

However, its practical nature hasn’t stunted its popularity. The boat shoe has grown to become a vastly admired option with men of all ages, emerging in recent years as the definitive summer shoe. Despite the stigma of style saturation, it retains an ageless appeal with all the typical spring/summer credentials.

A firm seasonal favourite, Ben Jones broke down this year’s boat shoe offerings in his recent series on SS13 footwear trends. Part two detailed the likes of Louis Vuitton and Lanvin advocating the silhouette this season.

With the annual high fashion spin inevitable, it’s anticipated that high street brands will stick staunchly to a more traditional style. Needless to say, this is one fisherman’s footwear that is ubiquitous come warm weather, so wearing them in the right way is vitally important.

Look One: Off-Duty Casual

At its heart, the boat shoe is a casual style. Nautical associations mean it should be considered a shoe of leisure, not of business – keep it away from the boardroom and formal events, and dress it as such.

A high summer-appropriate polo shirt and shorts combination makes up the majority of this look, which is in keeping with the boat shoe ethos: casual, leisurely and suitable for warm weather. Add a splash of colour through the shoes (solid block-colour variations are a strong choice this season) to immediately separate your pair from the traditional tri-colour versions that will undoubtedly be gracing men’s feet up and down the country.

Keep a jacket on hand in case the weather turns at short notice, or to fend off the nightly chill. You can’t go wrong with a nautical-inspired wind breaker or lightweight rain jacket come the summer, although a bomber jacket would be another on trend consideration:

  • Topman Yellow Colour Block Trek JacketTopman Yellow Colour Block Trek Jacket
  • Loro Piana Regatta Striped Cotton-piquÉ Polo ShirtLoro Piana Regatta Striped Cotton-piquÉ Polo Shirt
  • Reiss Atom Shorts Light GreyReiss Atom Shorts Light Grey
  • Jack & Jones Singapore Boat ShoesJack & Jones Singapore Boat Shoes
Alternative Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Boat Shoes - Casual Outfit Inspiration

M&S High Summer 2013Minimum SS13Band Of Outsiders SS14Scotch & Soda SS12Scotch & Soda SS12Calibre SS12Ted Baker SS12Pull & Bear SS13Urban Outfitters SS12
Look Two: Casual Prep

The deck shoe has a strong prep connection. Making use of this affiliation is a great way to bring structure to a look and smarten up the style.

Sockless, much like loafers, is the way to wear the boat shoe here. Team with a pair of navy chinos – turned up or tailored to perfection – for a timeless combination that, with a few tweaks to cut and fit, is suitable and flattering for most ages.

A casual Oxford shirt keeps the ensemble on a slightly more relaxed footing. A neutral, khaki blazer finishes off the outfit with aplomb whilst offering a preppy appeal that ties in well with the boating and Riviera links:

  • Reiss Alsace B Two Button Notch Cotton MixerReiss Alsace B Two Button Notch Cotton Mixer
  • American Apparel Washed Oxford ShirtAmerican Apparel Washed Oxford Shirt
  • Topman Navy Slim ChinosTopman Navy Slim Chinos
  • River Island Brown Slim Boat ShoesRiver Island Brown Slim Boat Shoes
Alternative Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Boat Shoes - Preppy/Collegiate Outfit Inspiration

Band Of Outsiders SS14Ramsey Sport SS12Bershka SS13Urban Outfitters SS12Ted Baker SS12Gant Rugger SS13He By Mango SS13Tommy Hilfiger SS13H&M SS12
Look Three: Smart-Casual

Opt for boat shoes as a comfortable smart-casual option on dress-down Friday or in creative offices with a non-formal dress code. Pair with slim-fitting denim to create a timeless bottom half that wouldn’t look out of place alongside an Oxford shirt and tie.

A simple white shirt is always worthy of investment; in this case it’s the perfect backdrop for an on trend statement blazer and knitted tie combination. Perfect for making an appearance at a more casual summer wedding or after-function, boat shoes don’t have to be just a summer slip-on when nipping to the shops:

  • Reiss Preacher Patch Pocket BlazerReiss Preacher Patch Pocket Blazer
  • River Island White Poplin ShirtRiver Island White Poplin Shirt
  • Drakes Slim Knitted Silk TieDrakes Slim Knitted Silk Tie
  • Asos Slim Indigo JeanAsos Slim Indigo Jean
  • Topman Hudson Tiller Boat ShoesTopman Hudson Tiller Boat Shoes
  • Burton Navy Polka Dot Pocket SquareBurton Navy Polka Dot Pocket Square
Alternative Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Boat Shoes - Smart-Casual Outfit Inspiration

Calibre SS12Ted Baker SS12Band Of Outsiders SS14He By Mango SS13He By Mango SS13He By Mango SS12Tommy Hilfiger SS13Calibre SS13Uzzi SS13
Look Four: On Trend Prints & Patterns

Boat shoes aren’t the reserve of the preppy, nor a traditional piece stuck in the past. In fact, they can form part of a well put-together, on trend ensemble. Pair your selection with some fresh print shorts (something we covered in a recent article) for a more contemporary take on this timeless shoe silhouette.

Emphasise SS13’s update of the nautical aesthetic via anchor prints on the bottom half – combining two major trends of the season. Allow the shorts to be the statement piece here by keeping the rest simple with a grey tee and denim jacket:

  • Allsaints Kiku Denim JacketAllsaints Kiku Denim Jacket
  • Reiss Bless Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck T-shirtReiss Bless Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Burton Blue Anchor ShortsBurton Blue Anchor Shorts
  • Sorrento Kg Kurt GeigerSorrento Kg Kurt Geiger
Alternative Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Boat Shoes - Experimenting With Prints/Patterns Outfit Inspiration

ASOS SS13River Island Holloway Road SS13Zara SS11ASOS SS12Minimum SS13Tommy Hilfiger SS13
Men’s Boat Shoes
  • Topman Synonymous Off White Boat ShoesTopman Synonymous Off White Boat Shoes
  • Topman Penguin Laguna Boat ShoesTopman Penguin Laguna Boat Shoes
  • Prime Kg Kurt GeigerPrime Kg Kurt Geiger
  • Sorrento Kg Kurt GeigerSorrento Kg Kurt Geiger
  • Aldo RagoAldo Rago
  • Aldo RagoAldo Rago
  • Ask The Missus Sinbad Boat ShoeAsk The Missus Sinbad Boat Shoe
  • Ask The Missus Sinbad Boat ShoeAsk The Missus Sinbad Boat Shoe
  • Jack & Jones Singapore Boat ShoesJack & Jones Singapore Boat Shoes
  • Sperry Topsider Twill Boat ShoesSperry Topsider Twill Boat Shoes
  • River Island Grey Lace Up Soft Boat ShoesRiver Island Grey Lace Up Soft Boat Shoes
  • River Island Grey Contrast Bright Sole Boat ShoesRiver Island Grey Contrast Bright Sole Boat Shoes
  • Sperry authentic Original 2 Eye Suede Boat ShoeSperry authentic Original 2 Eye Suede Boat Shoe
  • Sperry authentic Original 2 Eye Leather Boat ShoeSperry authentic Original 2 Eye Leather Boat Shoe
  • Sperry Suede Boat Shoes In BeigeSperry Suede Boat Shoes In Beige
Conclusion

The boat shoe remains a divider of opinion both on FashionBeans and in the forums. Nevertheless, it continues to hold its own as an undeniably popular style among men of all ages.

With the silhouette continuing to become more saturated by the day, learning how to wear a pair in a stylish and unique manner is a skill worth mastering.

But now it is time to hear your view:

  • Are you a fan of the boat shoe?
  • How do you assert your style on deck?
  • Do you favour a statement colour variant or a more traditional take?
  • Perhaps you avoid them at all costs?
  • If so, what puts you off?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…