Is This Shoe OK? Boat Shoe Edition

Is This Shoe OK? Boat Shoe Edition

Welcome to Is This Shoe OK?, an infrequent column about shoes that may or may not be good, as determined by me—an authority, because I own shoes—and you, in the comments below. In today’s installment, we’re looking at boat shoes. Preps, get psyched.

Last week it was brought to my attention that boat shoes—the kind of shoe worn by boy bullies when they retire to their summer homes while you pick up an extra shift at Dairy Queen—are experiencing a revival. Esquire published an entire article on this phenomenon, in which writer Scott Christian pointed out that there have been a handful of “popular boat shoe collaborations over the past year” which includes “a much-hyped union between London skate brand Palace and British shoe company Kickers. The maritime silhouette has also recently popped in the designer fashion world, with Prada, Saint Laurent, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Gucci all releasing their takes on the classic shoe.” Fashion often takes historically ugly and/or boring styles and updates them, pulling from past shoe icons (JFK? Who wears boat shoes?) for inspiration. I usually respect this move, especially when it requires the wealthy to wear really dumb shit. In this case, I simply cannot.

If we, the shoe-owning public, begin to give space to boat shoes, what other staple of financial bro fashion will we begin co-opting? Salmon-colored shorts? Blue button-down shirts worn by men who will absolutely utter “no homo” after accidentally expressing some sentimentality towards his friend in a moment of IPA-induced vulnerability? This is lawless.

However, I will say this—I have loved women who love boat shoes. I have never loved a sock-less man in a boat shoe—the one who runs out of the office at 4:59 P.M. to make the most out of happy hour. And let’s be clear, Sperry supporters: it’s not your fault. Like most things, men have ruined the boat shoe, and I just don’t have the time or space to bring them into my life.

In conclusion, as my colleague Hazel Cills said fter I pitched this blog idea, boat shoes will never be cool… except I did see a picture of platform boat shoes this morning and I am such a sucker for a thicc sole, I would absolutely wear these. Sue me, and the creator of boat shoe Creepers. Make anything a little goth, and I’m there.


This is a collaborative blog, and my manic opinion is only one piece of it. Do you own boat shoes? Are you going to run out and purchase a pair now that the big luxury brands have begun selling their own? Are boat shoes cool? Could they ever be cool? Sound off below. I’m feeling feisty.

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