Sneakers vs Boat Shoes: The Pros and Cons
Comfort is always a must for the casually fashionable. Entering the summer months with global warming rearing its ugly head, one must adjust accordingly. Looking specifically at footwear for the summer, the fashionMR has a plethora of options. For the younger generation, the question begs: sneakers or boat shoes?
Walking around we peep the style of our peers and weigh who we are, along with how we want to be viewed. Am I a sneaker guy or am I a boat shoe guy? How comfortable do I want to be? How much do I sweat? All of these are relevant questions when picking the perfect pair of shoes for this summer.
First one must assess sneakers. Comfortable, yet sometimes brutally hot, sneakers can be the perfect accessory. For many sneaker-heads there has been a movement back to the retro. Very popular amongst younger markets has been Nike Air Max. Under the umbrella of Air Max, there has been a specific yearning for the Air Max 90’s, an undeniable classic. With an assortment of color combinations and a relatively low price point depending on the model (starting at $90) vintage Air Max have been, and continue to be a clutch, classic option. To supplement your summer sneaker, socks are a must, but not all socks were created equal.
When wearing sneakers, mid-calf socks are the way to go. No-show socks are another option, but many times when the elastic wears out or the size isn’t perfect, those no-shows slide down off your ankle and wrinkle in the shoe, creating wrinkle and ankle blisters. Ankle socks are not the look unless you’re going for that ‘classic’ old man with Asics running sneakers and a stained free tee shirt style. Since no one actually wants that look (some may be born with it), steer clear at all costs.
Another sneaker option that has carried weight this season is vans supplemented with mid calves. When looking at vans however, one should tend toward more muted color patterns, as that type of shoe should not be the eye-grabber of an outfit. The subtlety of Vans are their beauty, so getting multi-colored or tiger striped patterns is probably not a good idea.
The pros of sneakers boil down to these simple facts: they provide ample support for your feet when you want to go on a nice summer walk, socks will always be an acceptable complement to the shoe and there is a tremendous variety to choose from. The same does not apply for boat shoes.
Boat shoes are great. Arguably the best part of boat shoes is that you can dress them up or dress them down. Boat shoes are ideal for cocktail parties or barbecues; the country club or the beach; the city or the suburbs. Essentially, boat shoes are acceptable anywhere unlike sneakers.
There are certainly shortcomings to wearing boat shoes. The first and perhaps most prominent concern is foot sweat. On those sweltering city days when the sidewalk is hotter than the air, which in turn is hotter than your oven when slow-cooking beef brisket, your feet sweat more than a boat shoe can handle. Sticky and stinky in no time, the leather wears easily and frequently onto your foot, leaving leather stains in more places than one would care to mention.
Foot sweat is not the only concern with boat shoes; the leather boat shoes are made with sometimes cuts consumers’ feet, others say they do not provide enough support, and still other grumble that the laces constantly come undone.
One might ask “why not wear socks with boat shoes? That seems like an easy solution to all those complaints.” This is certainly valid, and some do rock this style, however, the look is not ideal. Sneakers, unlike boat shoes, were built to wear with socks, especially since their profile tends to go higher up on the foot. However, one should notice that the tongue of a boat shoe is abbreviated. This shortened tongue reveals much of the upper foot for the un-socked gentleman. In turn, with simply less shoe to attract attention, the sock tends to overpower the boat shoe, drawing attention away from the carefully selected shoe and toward your bland white socks.
The choice seems clear. If you find bare-foot-boat-shoes more comfortable, that’s all you since one pair can fit all your summer social needs. However, for those that prefer the casual sneaker, consider an additional investment in mid calf socks to avoid social and physical discomfort.
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