The Sailor's Sneakers | Not Strictly Sailing – Sail+Leisure
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The Sailor’s Sneakers | Not Strictly Sailing

by Simone Balman

There’s been a resurgance of stylish and functional footwear that can be worn both onboard and onshore.  S+L offers up some great alternatives to the boat shoe that will anchor you in a new, stylish direction.

Cross-over sneakers

J.Crew’s collaboration with Nike brings back the original Killshot sneaker, a low-profile tennis shoe. The suede and leather is unassumingly stylish. This particular style has been so popular that they are sold out for the interim, but Spree have a wide range of light-soled Nikes on offer.

Nike Killshot sneakers by J. Crew

Nike Killshot sneakers by J. Crew

Style and function

It doesn’t get more class than this. The shoe was named Authentic for a reason, it’s been a Van’s staple since the company was founded in 1966. These iconic and cool Vans have been upgraded since the ones you used to skateboard in (or tried to, anyway). A perfect cross-over for style and function. Vans are available country-wide at selected stockists or Vans stores. Vans

Vans – stylish yet functional

Deck wear

For the hardcore competitor, three options for comfort, style and practicality.

Gill Newport Deck shoe

A spin-off of the original docksider, Gill Newport Deck Shoes do the job in style. A classic 3-eye design with a non-marking cup sole for improved traction and stability. Cemented and side stitched cup sole for greater flexibility and strength, 360° full leather lace and Gill branded non-corrosive eyelets, non-marking and non-slip outsole with unique repeat design surrounded by deep multi-directional water dispersal channels to prevent aquaplaning, breathable air-mesh side panels circulate air allowing these shoes to be worn without socks, water resistant marine grade leather. Available from Manex Marine or the new Manex shop. Priced at R2388.22.

Reebok Royal deck shoe

Reebok Royal Deck Shoes are a trendy crossover between the traditional leather slip-on and a trainer with the stitched toe panel but still very much leaning towards being a trainer. Reebok Royal Deck shoes are available at Fruugo .

Musto Dynamic Pro Lite shoe

An advanced combination of comfort and performance, Musto‘s lightest weight shoe comes in at just 360g. The Dynamic Pro Lite has been designed using an open mesh upper for impressive breathability while an anti-odour treatment delivers total freshness. For exceptional underfoot stability and grip in wet conditions, GripDeck soles have been enhanced by a multi-directional GripFlex outsole. This ensures 360-degree traction. A firm, anatomical fit is delivered through a speed lacing system. Styled in a look that carries itself from the boat to the shore. Available from Central Boating. Central Boating Priced at R2299.95. Available in navy and platinum.


High performance sneaker


Adidas sailing shoes

Adidas started developing shoes for sailing athletes in 2007.  Since then their designers, in  partnership with some of the world leading sailing athletes, have created high performance sailing gear for all kind of sailing passion. This style was developed specifically for sailing but “Adi” fans have found quite a few styles in their arsenal that won’t cause you to see the bottom side of the bow. Adidas



Concept sneaker

On a green note, Adidas last year unveiled a concept sneaker made from 3D-printed recycled ocean waste. Each pair will cost  €200 ($220). The sneakers are made in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental group that wants to draw attention to pollution in the ocean. Each shoe’s upper (the part that goes over the top of the foot) is made from 5 percent recycled polyester and 95 percent waste plastic dredged from the ocean around the Maldives. Each pair of shoes contains 11 plastic bottles, and most of the rest of the sneaker (including the heel, lining, and laces) is also made from recycled material.

Adidas concept sneaker – in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans

Although the initial 7000 concept pairs were 3D-printed, this part of the process seems to have been dropped for mass production. The recycled waste is still being turned into usable yarn, but Adidas isn’t saying how exactly, mentioning only “new technologies” used to “up-cycle marine plastic debris.” The name of the shoe is the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley: a reference to both the design’s environmental backers and the popular UltraBOOST range of light-weight running shoes.

UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley will be available in limited quantities online launching on 15 November 2017 for R2799. For more information on drop dates and the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoe, sign up on the adidas website here

Traditional style

Traditional boat shoes make for fine footwear when walking along a wet deck without slipping. Its leather construction, designed to repel water during the high seas, is very functional.

The ever faithful docksider – now a stylish option

Invented by Paul A. Sperry, the eventual forefather of Sperry Top-Siders in New Haven, Connecticut, the shoes were born in 1935 specifically for men to utilize “inside a water vessel”. However, today the more fashion-conscious sailor has a treasure house of alternatives which also look good off the water…

Top tip from Sailing Anarchy: after a regatta put your shoes in a heavy zip-lock bag and leave them in the freezer for a few days. This will eliminate any odours.

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