“Boat shoes mean escape. We leave our responsibilities on shore and set off on the high seas (or the quiet lake) and are truly at leisure. We step onto the deck of a yacht (or the yacht of our imagination) with an air of studied nonchalance.
More likely it’s a little Sunfish, but that’s alright! What else do we leave behind as the wind fills our sails? Our socks, of course. We can’t have our feet shackled with grotesque tube socks, corseted and constrained. Go forth with a liberated ankle!
What about back on solid ground? Again sock-free is the solution. It’s really a state of mind and an empowered one. A boat shoe communicates its wearer’s relaxed nature, a personality that does not conform to a rigorous office dress code.
In a boat shoe every day feels like Saturday, work far from your mind. Ideally, you’ll be out of reception, unreachable by bosses, in-laws and creditors.
Socks still have a place in life. They should be reserved for a meal where the restaurant has a wine list running north of ten pages, which you peruse while wearing a coat and tie. Or as you settle into your box at the opera, and get comfortable for a four-hour performance.
Those are rarefied situations indeed. And good ones to look forward to. The rest of the time wear boat shoes the way God intended: Out and about and against your skin.
David Coggins is the author of the New York Times bestseller Men and Style. He has written about style, design, and manners for numerous publications, including Esquire and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler and lives in New York City.