Boat shoes: the options

YoungClayB

Super Member
I am resurrecting this thread as I am in the market for a new pair of boat shoes. I bought a pair of Sperry AOs about a year ago and had to throw them out before the end of the summer because they smelled so bad. I am not sure I'd this is a characteristic of the AOs or of my feet.

Looking for something of a little higher quality, I ordered a pair of AE Eastports (which arrived today) and a pair of AE Westbrooks (which should arrive tomorrow). I'll keep the pair I like the best...will probably end up being the Westbrooks as the Eastports look kind of like "old man shoes"....I'll post pics once both pair arrive.
 

Patrick06790

Connoisseur
^ I'll be interested to see what they look like in real life.

I just dug out last year's version, the LL Bean special. They appear to have plenty of life left.

My feet don't smell ever since I quit drinking. Now there's something they don't tell you in rehab.
 

St. Charles Ave.

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Wow, I just checked the BB site to upload the pics of their boat shoes, and they've gone up $20 since March. Feel free to disregard my previous recommendation, lol.
 

Taken Aback

Elite Member
I know it's best to avoid Lands' End shoes (short of AE) like the plague, but has anyone taken a chance on their recent model? It's the one that's available in red, green, and several other colors.

The shade of green is what's piquing my interest. I haven't seen one as bright in A/O's for a few seasons.
 

andy b.

Senior Member
I picked up a pair of the Gokey boat shoes last year. I think they are only available through Orvis anymore. They are similar to a 18-year-old pair of Dexter boat shoes I have, only even heavier leather. I figure the Gokeys should easily last me 20 years. Gokeys are made in the USA, if that matters (so were the old Dexters).



andy b.
 

Tenacious Tassel

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Andy,

Based on your post, I did a little digging about the Gokey boats. Not sure why they hadn't shown up on my radar before (I'm sure I've flipped past them in countless Orvis mags), but your opinions seem to be the consensus. They earn very high marks for comfort and durability (hence living up to their name), and are hand sewn--and can be custom made upon request.

I think anything that doesn't fit the traditional Topsider profile tends to get overlooked, and these would certainly fall into that category. I pm'd you, but you might want to consider posting pics of your worn Gokey's to contrast with the new pair you submitted last year.
 

YoungClayB

Super Member
So, between the AE Eastports and the AE Westbrooks...the Westbrooks win out by a country mile. I've never felt arch support like this in a boat shoe - its very nice.

The leather on both the Eastport and the Westbrooks looks to be of very high quality, but the Eastports are a hideous shade of tan that has way too much orange in it for my tastes. Plus the Eastports kind of "creak" when you walk in them because of the layers of leather...I am sure that annoyance would go away in time, but its still offputting for me.

I also do not like how the sole is attached to the upper on the Eastport...it just looks kind of "old mannish' if that makes any sense. I REALLY like the way the sole is attached to the Westbrooks...a leather welt on a BOAT shoe is something I have never seen and it looks really cool with the contrast of the white sole.

Both shoes run short and narrow, but I knew this going in. My normal AE shoe size is 8.5A or 8.5AA depending on the last, but the stocked 9Bs fit me well on these handsewn lasts (Eastport on last 2592; Westbrook on last 555). The 555 last is really great for those of us with super high arches. They make a loafer on this last that I might have to pick up one day.

The downside is of course that the Westbrooks are $200...a lot to pay for a boat shoe, but after seeing them in person, I really feel like they are worth it. The leather is really nice calfskin, the shoes are fully lined and hand stitched in the USA. Anyways...onto the pics.
 

Taken Aback

Elite Member
As comfortable as sneakers, but lighter. However, those Sperry's I picked up at Macy's are the most comfortable and lightest boat shoes I've ever owned.

Those are a bit "sneakery" for my taste, but if the classic A/O look is secondary to comfort, try the Sperry Barracuda too. It also straddles the line between the two styles.

I also do not like how the sole is attached to the upper on the Eastport...it just looks kind of "old mannish' if that makes any sense. I REALLY like the way
the sole is attached to the Westbrooks...a leather welt on a BOAT shoe is something I have never seen and it looks really cool with the contrast of the white sole.

Yeah, that sole is akin to those on the "sporty" styles older men wear (not exclusively, of course). A/O vs. Billfish are the key examples. Nice of AE to keep rawhide laces, however.
 

andy b.

Senior Member
Those Westbrooks are nice! The Eastports look good too, but my preference would be the Westbrooks. Both should last an extremely long time.

andy b.
 

Cruiser

Connoisseur
While I have been a regular boat shoe wearer for over 40 years now, I will be the first to admit that I would probably never pay $200 for a pair. I will just have to admire them from a distance.

With summer approaching I have purchased two new pairs, Rockport Seaforthe and Sperry Topsiders, to go with the three year old Dockers that have been carried over. The new Rockports and Sperrys appear to be about equal in quality and I am pleased with both; however, they are both lighter in weight than the Dockers. This is probably due to the Dockers having a more substantial (thicker) sole as the uppers appear to be about the same on all three. The Rockports aren't black as they might appear, they are dark brown.

boatshoes.jpg


Cruiser
 

Tenacious Tassel

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Cruiser,

You basically spent $200, but you got 2 pairs of shoes. The question is, will 2 "lower cost" shoes outlive one "higher cost" shoe?

If I were to bet, I'd wager 1 Rockport Perth (esp. with a $50 resole) would outlive the Topsider + Seaforth combo. And I bet the Gokey (sans resole) would last about as long as the Perth + 2 resoles (probably the end of the Rockport's lifespan).

We are talking about very long timeframes, of course....
 
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