There's something very intriguing about the deck shoe style on a purely superficial level

June 06 [Wed], 2012, 14:50
A Marriage of Form and Function - How Deck Shoes Get the Balance Just Right Whether it's the holes in gentlemen's brogues or the air bubble in the Nike Air Max, footwear fashion has long been influenced by function. In recent years deck shoes, also known as boat shoes or loafers, have seen something of a renaissance amongst men and women who have no desire to wear them atop a deck - and may live miles from the nearest marina. And it seems that the balance of form and function is the reason for their 21st Century popularity.

There's something very intriguing about the deck shoe style on a purely superficial level. The fat stitching and thick leather laces lend a casual informal quality to a shoe which is typically associated with the sailing classes who wear them at play during the daytime, as opposed to when attending a dinner or ball (when the deck shoe will likely stay in the hallway at home, or on the boat). Subsequently, their unique and noticeable design offers a hinterland which, at least on some sub-conscious level, makes them objects of aspiration.Yet, in fairness, it is the original function of the Deck Shoes which has given it its look - and it is history that has earned it a reputation. Paul Sperry is most often credited with the invention of the deck shoe, inspired by the humble incidence of seeing his pet cocker spaniel walk easily on ice. Following this he developed a shoe with sufficient traction on the water-swept decks of boats by including a grip he termed 'Razor-Siping', as well as incorporating durable suede leather, thick secure stitching and hard wearing leather laces.

Today, the deck shoe style has become a reputable hybrid of both smart and casual footwear. The leather used in their design as well as their comfort and durability means they have become synonymous with smart casual office-wear such as jeans or khakis and shirts - yet today you are as likely to see deck shoes on the high street or in a club, as you are to see them in the office.Consequently, as a response to their placement in the market, manufacturers have not only held onto the original brown one colour designs, but have also brought nearly every colour and two-tone (and sometimes three-tone) combination to the footwear table over the last few years - and the classic style is set to retain its position without seeming at all tired and old.
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