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A look back: The history of the boat shoe

history of summer staple boat shoes
  • LP Louis Philippe

    Casual Lace Up Shoes


  • LP Louis Philippe

    Suede Lace Up Shoes


A summer staple, boat shoes are not to be confused with loafers. Unlike loafers, they have a cotton, synthetic or leather rope running across the shoe, ending in a knot at the front. They’re alternatives to loafers or sneakers and fit into the casual and semi-formal footwear zone with equal ease.
The boat shoe was invented in the mid-1930s, when a sailor was looking for alternatives to leather-soled shoes that he and his colleagues wore. They were slippery on the wooden deck, offered no traction and were a complete disaster in times when sailors needed to move swiftly. As he deliberated worthy alternatives, he was inspired by his dog’s ability to walk on ice and snow without faltering. To get similar traction as his dog’s paws, he carved grooves on to a rubber sole with a pen knife and stuck the sole on to his shoe.
nautical themed fashion boat shoes
The idea proved to be so successful that the US Navy soon signed up for boat shoes. However, boat shoes didn’t become a fashion staple until the ’80s. They were initially restricted to menswear, but over the years, they have made a transition into women’s fashion as well and are synonymous with nautical-themed fashion.

Written By : Shirley Mistry

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