The humble deck shoe is not alone. It has been joined by a host of styles and performance enhancements to suit every kind of sailing, reports Kevin Green.
Under the Australian Burke label, there is a range of deck footwear that begins with the traditional Canvas Deck Shoe in navy. It is a four-eyelet lace-up with canvas upper, non-marking razor-cut rubber sole and padded ankle. For those looking for a bit more in their footwear and a more traditional trainer style shoe, there is the new Pro Deck Shoe. This high-performance shoe offers more comfort and support. It makes use of quick-dry materials and mesh for drainage and ventilation. The razor-cut sole also has drainage gutters to increase the removal of water.
For those preferring leather uppers, there is the ever-popular Classic Boat Shoe. A moccasins-style shoe with the same sole as the Pro Deck Shoe. The upper is an oiled cow leather in tan and has two brass eyelets for the laces. Sturdy, comfortable and very good looking, it is the ideal on and off-the-water shoe.
RRP: $38.50 Canvas Deck Shoe, $80 Pro Deck Shoe, $108 Classic Boat Shoe
For more information: 02 9638 4333 or www.burkemarine.com.au
For 2008, Henri Lloyd has released a range of new deck footwear for both sexes.
For men, there are three leather options and a Trainer shoe. The leather shoes consist of the Fastnet, Wight 2 Eye and Strobe 3 Eye.
The Fastnet is a classic hand-sewn moccasin construction combined with the comfort and technology of a sports shoe. Uppers are constructed from high-grade waterproof leathers for durability, low moisture
The Wight 2 Eye is the latest men's two-eyed deck shoe. Using the highest quality water-resistant leathers, this hand-sewn deck shoe also uses the exclusive new sole tread design as used on the Fastnet.
The Strobe 3 Eye is a low-profile deck shoe, engineered from water-resistant leather. This stylish shoe combines Dri-Lex lining with the brand's exclusive prism dual-compound outsole, two-way slip-resistant non-marking cut patterned rubber sole and integrated water-dispersal channels for improved grip, and its stylish looks make it just at home on the water or in the office.
The Mirage Deck is the new women's two-eyed deck shoe using water-resistant Nubuck and is hand-sewn with the same sole as the Fastnet.
In Trainers and new for 08 is the Deck Grip Profile II. Constructed from a non-absorbing, quick-drying reinforced upper for comfort and breathability, it uses a non-marking siped (razor-cut) dual-compound moulded rubber outsole with sticky rubber compound.
RRP: $199 Fastnet, $159 Wight 2 Eye, $136 Mirage Deck, $199 Strobe 3, $133 Deck Grip Profile II
For more information: 02 9638 4333 or www.burkemarine.com.au
The Irish manufacturer Dubarry footwear has always been popular in Australia due to its classic styles, comfort and quality. The 2008 range consists of three men?s shoes and two ladies. The men?s shoes are the Compass, Cruiser and Regatta. The three-eye tie-up Compass is made from oiled Nubuck, which has been treated by Dubarry to offer its unique DryFast-DrySoft finish, and gives the shoe a stylish, distressed leather look. It also has a moisture-wicking lining with built-in antimicrobial protection against bacteria and fungi, so whether wet or dry, cold or hot, this shoe is intended to keep feet fresh and comfortable. The lightweight flexible EVA mid-sole aims for underfoot comfort and shock absorbency. It is available in three colours oakwood, cherrywood and navy/mocca.
The Cruiser is a lightweight two-eye tie moccasin with a relaxed styling, suitable for both onshore and water wear. A concealed EVA layer in the single layer sole offers added underfoot comfort.
Finally, there is the Regatta, a three-eye tie-padded collar canoe front-deck shoe made from a combination of water-resistant Nubuck, leather and fabric. This premium deck shoe features the Dubarry cup sole which is stuck and stitched to the upper for added security. It has always been popular due to its comfort and durability and is a favourite of those who are in their shoes both on and off the water.
For women, there is both slip-on and lace-up in the range. The slip-on is the Bermuda, a gusset slip-on, tasselled-comfort casual on Dubarry's patented award-winning non-marking, non-slip rubber sole and provides both comfort and style.
For those looking for a more traditional shoe, there is the Seychelles, introduced in 2007. The Seychelles is a dedicated ladies two-eye tie deck shoe. A key feature, and one which will appeal to wearers, is the comfort factor of these shoes. This has been created by the use of specially treated super-soft leathers and Nubuck and includes a hidden cushioned heel cup and leather insock. Available in navy, this is intended to be a classy, practical shoe, whether racing, cruising or just walking the docks.
RRP: $245 Compass, $197 Cruiser, $264 Regatta, $255 Seychelles, $230 Bermuda
For more information: 02 9638 4333 or www.burkemarine.com.au
Sperry's new Billfish range is variation on the classic leather deck shoe, adding more functionality and durability. Using premium leathers and classic Sperry design profiles, the Billfish 3 Eye range is built on a philosophy of comfort. Genuine hand-sewn and padded tongue construction allows for durable comfort. Also, the air-mesh upper panels and perforated leather mean constant cool, breathable comfort around the foot.
A 360-degree lacing system with rustproof eyelets also provide a secure fit, while the non-marking rubber outsole ensures the ultimate wet and dry traction.
Available in Dark Tan, Navy Nubuck and Amaretto.
For more information: (03) 8878 3000
Contact: Rugged Terrain Pty Ltd
Jonathan Oates (Marketing Coordinator)
Timberland – the Classic 2-Eye Boatshoe
Timberland's long association with solid deck shoes continues with its Classic 2-Eye model. They are made with rich oiled leathers, in which water beads up and rolls off, along with hand sewn moccasin construction and 360-degree rawhide laces. The non-marking, siped outsole provides ship-to-shore comfort and durability.
Other features include leather-covered, three-quarter length EVA footbed, cupped to cradle your heel for cushioning support and a stitched upper mid-sole.
Available in Rootbeer Smooth colourway.
For more information: (03) 8878 3000
Musto has launched a revamped deck shoe range in 2008 featuring its patented GD360 outsole. The new compound, from which the GD360 outsole is made, produced an increase of 15-20% in the company's controlled grip tests, assisted by the water drainage channels which reduce the risk of aquaplaning. Grip on the deck is matched by a secure hold around the foot, as the front lacing system is connected to reflective tape which runs fore and aft of the bridge and round the heel.
The new range comes in three styles – Regatta, Match and Competition to reflect the design-emphasis sailing conditions.
The Regatta shoe is a lace-up jogger style with a removable EVA shock-absorbing mid-sole and the revised GD360 outsole. It also features an anti-microbial treatment to assist in defeating shoe odour. The Regatta is available in black with grey and red trim.
The Match is designed for those who are serious about their sailing and their style. The shoe features a unique water-drainage system in the sole which allows water to vent out of the shoe. There are also additional side-mesh vents for water drainage and speedy drying.
The inner shoe is constructed of a neoprene sock with four-way stretch construction. The shoe is secured with a locking bungee cord fast removal. The Match also features the anti-microbial treatment and the EVA shock-absorbing mid-sole like the Regatta style. The Match comes in grey in men?s sizes and powder blue in the ladies sizes. There will also be a Sail White version with sharp red trim available soon which will cover both men and ladies sizes. The latter is a good choice for matching crew gear.
The Competition shoe will appeal to those who want the security of a grip deck shoe but the breathability of sandals. This shoe is based on a full-deck shoe, but has cut-away sections along each side that make it more open than a regular shoe. The toe area and heel are all protected and secured in a normal shoe construction. The inner is a strong, flexible, mesh-based fabric which adds to the breathability. With its funky design and open vents, the Competition should be popular in the warmer Australian climate.
RRP: $199 for all models listed.
For more information: 02 9907 4141 or www.musto.com.au
The new Decktechs from Gill provide the highest grip of any shoe ever produced by the company and are aimed at the sailor who needs ultimate grip performance on deck.
They are designed to hold effectively in both wet and dry conditions due to the specific compound of the sole, which includes wide drainage channels to disperse water. The synthetic mesh upper is quick-drying and breathable, with a synthetic outer which is built to remain soft and flexible in all conditions. Another important feature for clean decks is the shoe's special durable, non-marking sole. Plus, there?s a quick dry footbed that may be removed for easy washing and drying, complete with an anti-microbial finish to help keep things smelling fresh.
Decktechs also can be worn off the boat and come in a choice of silver grey or black.
For more information: 02 9438 5455 or www.gillaustralia.com
Melbourne sailor Chris McSorley's footwear company has developed Active Casuals, extremely light and comfortable shoes for wear at the beach, the barbecue or on the boat.
They are available in men's and women's sizes and various two-tone colours to complement any design style. The uppers are made from EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate), a very light, soft, flexible and stress-crack resistant plastic.
An adjustable Velcro strap ensures a comfortable fit. The anti-slip sole is made from slip-resistant thermo plastic rubber that does not leave marks.
They have an anti-fungal insole with arch support that is removable and washable.
A regular twice-a-week Sydney sailor, who tested a prototype pair of the shoes over the past season, reports that they are suitable for general boat use. The open slits in the uppers drain the water collected in legs-over outboard hiking and keep the feet cool.
He found the non-slip sole effective for most crew roles, although he thinks forward hands should stick to specialist sailing footwear for absolutely positive grip.
For more information: 1800 776 738 or visit www.activecasual.com
Italian performance sportswear company Slam prides itself in style and flair throughout its products and its 2008 shoes confirm this. The Code-2 is a high-performance shoe in suede leather, compressed polymer and waterproof nylon. Built with EVA and rubber sole with channelled, antislip tread, the insole is removable, open-celled and contains active carbon. Offers top performance on a boat, but with a look that also adapts to city use. Code-0 is a highly breathable shoe made from suede leather, pess, polyamide and stretch nylon polymer with same high performance sole. Downwings is Slam's technical shoe in suede leather and technical ?Bike? fabric; rubber sole with channelled anti-slip tread, offering top performance onboard but with a look that is also suited to city use. The Navigator is another technical shoe in suede leather but with the red distinctive ?Devil? fabric and lycra. Again the rubber sole has channelled anti-slip tread. For traditionalists, the Tidal will appeal. Described as a cross-over shoe, it has calfskin leather but again the same performance EVA rubber sole with channelled anti-slip tread and can be used on shore.
RRP: $320 Code-0,
RRP: $295 Code-2
RRP: $240 Tidal
RRP: $275 Navigator
RRP: $295 Downwings
For more information: 02 98084877 or www.slamanz.com
The Exhuma is Rugged Shark's latest offering. Its Shark-Grip outsole is moulded from two special rubber compounds and features razor-cut tread areas inset between deep channels that guide water from under the shoe. It extends up and over the toe and heel to maintain contact with the deck even when kneeling or sitting. The mid-sole is closed-cell EVA foam and includes a shock absorber in the heel and a removable foot bed. The outside finish is water-resistant leather with Dri-Lex mesh material in the sides, tongue and heel areas.
RRP: $199 Men.
RRP: $169 Women.
For more information: (0421)873737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hydro Power 2 bridges the gap between wet and dry environment with the flexibility, grip and breathability of a deck shoe and support of a light trail shoe. It features a quick-dry upper, removable EVA mid-sole and sock inner liner. The outsole is made from Storm Grip rubber for extra traction on wet surfaces. Available in men?s and women?s ranges.
For more information: (03) 9338 5326 or www.hellyhansen.com.au
Italian made Vibram FiveFingers is multi-purpose footwear. The toe slots give a firm grip to the foot yet allow a freer feel than a conventional deck shoe. Their rubber soles are intended to grip on the boat and shoreside.
Available from www.ocfitness.com.au
Racing Line market the stylish French TBS range of nautical footwear with the emphasis on comfort and flexibility with a variety of colours throughout the range. With the approach of the European summer its 2008 range is headed by the Lacano model. Flexibility of the forward part of the shoe is accomplished by finishing the sole with transversal channels. Upper part of the shoe in version nubuck and pull up made out of thickened calf leather is without lining. Insole in micra is lined with leather under which is a polyurethane shock absorber. Sole is made out of rubber, specially moulded in a new concept mould that enables better adhesion to the surface and enhances efficiency of water drainage. Its nautical range is characterised by special side rubber reinforcement which supports the sailor on the deck and also when walking ashore.
RRP: $349 Lacona, $349 Globex, $299 Jetski, $120 Ungule & Ublast
For more information: 0408 478 992 or www.racingline.com.au
Deck shoe advice by Colin Burgess from Burke
A lot of what is good and bad in a deck shoe comes down to the sole then we look at the upper to see how it helps with the overall design so lets look at the sole first.
The modern deck shoes sole design pays its design to a gentleman by the name of John Sipes who back in the 1920s cut slices into his rubber soled shoes while working in an abattoir. In the late 1930s, marine shoe manufactures
Having established that we are looking for a soft sticky rubber with a razor cit with a small a distance between the cuts as possible we need to consider support. The trainer-style shoe is becoming more popular because of it taking the best bits of a running shoe such as arch support and heel comfort, while the classic leather tends to have a very flat sole making them a bit uncomfortable over long periods.
The upper of the shoe is as important as the sole but the consumer tends to buy for looks rather than features. What you should be looking for in the upper will depend on what you are using them for. If on the water the main design feature required is breathability and drainage, a shoe with a high proportion of quick drying air mesh lining will provide this. How they lace up and the comfort of the tongue should also be carefully looked at.
When considering a leather shoe then quality is a must, soft leather will be much nicer to wear but will suffer under long-term wearing and damage. Whether there is a lining or not should be considered as this will affect the ability of the shoe to breath.
So when choosing your footwear you need to consider when and where you will wear it and what it is meant to do for you, be it protection, grip, comfort or looks. The type of materials that the shoe is made from will help determine its suitability for the task and its overall comfort and the sole construction will ensure the correct grip.