You don’t have to own a boat to rock the boat shoe. You don’t have to like sailing. Hell, you don’t even need to know how to swim. All you need to make the boat shoe look good is two feet and the confidence to give the preppy side of style a try. How To Wear: Think ‘Preppy’ if you would like to BUY the classic boat shoe look. Pair them with chinos, khaki shorts or swim trunks, and don’t be afraid to go for patterns like gingham, plaid and stripes. For something edgier and more fashion-forward, try a bright, colour-blocked pair of boat shoes. Make sure you always follow the number one rule of boat shoes – no socks. Ever!

Origin: As the name suggests, the boat shoe was originally designed to be worn by sailors. That all changed in 1935, when a new incarnation of the boat shoe hit the scene inspired by a pet dog. Transfixed by his dog’s ability to maintain traction while running over an icy surface, the designer set out to develop and patent a shoe with wave-like soles for greater grip.

Using a knife, he cut thin slits or ‘siping’ into the soles of his shoes and the boat shoe as we know it today was born. Sailing enthusiasts and fashion plates alike could purchase a pair of the original boat shoes for $4.50 (US).

The profile of the boat shoe continued to rise throughout the ’30s, and in 1939 the U.S. Navy negotiated the right to manufacture boat shoes for its sailors. Full mainstream success hit later in the century, when the shoe appeared in the Jaws movie franchise and was declared the official shoe of preppy style by The Official Preppy Handbook in 1980.

Boat shoes continue to be loved both in and out of the preppy crowd, and have inspired designs from many major designers.

Construction: Boat shoes are typically constructed from canvas or leather with non-marking rubber soles created for wear while sailing. Every aspect of the shoe is designed with the wear-and-tear of the sailing life in mind. The siping pattern cut into the soles provides much-needed traction on a wet deck, the oil-treated leather construction repels water, and the stitching is highly durable.

Look the preppy part and BUY your selection of Aquila boat shoes for the S/S13 season.