Men's Shoes

What More Should You Know About Boat Shoes

Now that you know a little about boat shoe’s history, why not we give you more to learn about boat shoes and some interesting facts. Let’s go!!!


Early “Boat Shoes”


Before the invention of boat shoes, people don’t have proper shoes for use on boats and sailing. The choices for shoes for sailing were only two. Canvas with crepe rubber soles or canvas with coiled rope soles.

Clarks desert boots which feature a “crepe rubber sole” (Source:

These type of soles has its good and bads. The crepe rubber sole shoes were slippery when wet but can be used on dry surfaces very well.

Clarks desert boots which feature a “crepe rubber sole” (Source:

On the other hand, the coiled rope shoes/ jute sole shoes were slippery when it is on dry surfaces.

Viscata Espadrille with Jute Soles/ Coiled Rope Soles (Source:


Also, there is no option of going on the boat without shoes. The rough sea’s and unstable waves frequently caused broken toes on deck.


A broken toe and how to treat a broken toe (

The boat shoes managed to solve the problem of providing extra traction and grip on boat decks which are usually very slippery.

Timberland 2 eye boat shoes (Source:

The herringbone pattern on the rubber sole on the Timberland 2 eye boat shoes (Source:

Canvas Circular Vamped Oxford (CVO)

An ad about the first Top-Sider CVO from Sperry ( 

The Canvas Circular Vamped Oxford (CVO for short) is the first boat shoe produced by Sperry. (Learn more about the CVO). It features a rubber sole with its signature herringbone pattern and a canvas top. The top is made of canvas material wrapped around and goes back to the sides.


The CVO is recognizable with its 1/4″ pocket on the sides. The rubber soles join to the canvas top with the latest heating method at that time, vulcanization. Word to describe the CVO; Comfortable, functional, innovative and successful.


Authentic Original (AO)

Authentic Original 2 eye boat shoe (Source:


1935 to 1937, Paul Sperry came up with the Authentic Original boat shoes. It features a rubber sole with a leather top. This is the iconic design for all boat shoes that is to come in the future.

Laced wrapped around the shoes to tighten it around the ankles (Source:

It is easily recognizable with its distinctive features. The top is made out of tanned leather, a technique developed by Sperry to make the shoe more durable in salt and water. The lace wraps around the shoes to tighten them, especially around the ankle.

Mocassin style toe with hand stitching (Source:

It also has the distinctive mocassin toe style and comes with hand stitching which is surprisingly very durable. Unlike the early boat shoes which came with black rubber soles, the new boat shoes wore white soles.

Sperry with black soles (Source:

These white soles did not stain or dirty the boat decks, unlike the black soles, does. During those days, it came with the only medium brown top and white soles.

Guide to cleaning your non-skid decks on the boat (Source:

Nowadays, you can find boat shoes in a variety of combination of tops from Polyurethane (PU), leather or leather and PU combination.


Boat Shoe as a Fashion Icon

An article in the early WW2 period (Source:

Originally, boat shoes were only made for sailors and US military who goes to the sea often. However, the book The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach changed that in the 1980s. This book is a guide on how to dress preppy, a style which was famous during that time.

The Official Preppy Handbook (Source:

The Official Preppy Handbook named Sperry’s boat shoe as the shoe to wear if you want to look and feel preppy. In case you do not know what preppy is, think American college students and rich students who graduated from rich schools during the 1980s.

Boat shoe compilation (Source:Instagram@frautshoes)



We could not cover everything that we know about the boat shoes but do not worry. You can check out this link which we picked if you want to learn more about them. Like we said previously, a boat shoe is nice, comfortable, stylish and successful.


Why not try some of our boat shoe’s which we selectively hand-picked as shown below. Till next time, until then stay fashionable and don’t go broke trying to look good.

Brown and black leather top boat shoe from Sperry( Source:

Men’s Earthkeeper Boat Shoes from Timberland( Source:

Two-tone casual Polyurethane Boat shoe from Weinbrenner( Source:
Red authentic Boat shoes from Sperry( Source:

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