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Author Topic:   Whaler Footwear
skookum point posted 06-20-2002 03:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for skookum point   Send Email to skookum point  
Well, Bigshot got me thinking about Martha Stuart, and Martha Stuart got me thinking about accessorizing and I realized we’ve discussed every topic even remotely related to Whalering – except this one. What do discriminating Whaler owners wear on their feet?

Over the years I have tried everything from traditional (Sperry or similar) deck shoes to neoprene windsurfing booties to river-running sandals and rubber boots (aka Alaska-tennis-shoes or Wellies). Then there were the yellow sailing boots and the white shrimper boots. Even old running shoes, flip-flops and just going barefoot. All have proven unsatisfactory for one reason or another.

Now, I know there’s a world of difference between a Florida beach, a New England yacht club, an Alaskan fish dock or Puget Sound at low tide but I’m just asking, what works for you?

Wet between the toes,

ChocLabWhaler posted 06-20-2002 04:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChocLabWhaler  Send Email to ChocLabWhaler     
Interesting post....
Orvis has new wading sneeks with neoprene inserts - will probably keep you feet warm, although wet for $85. I want grip on a wet surface, wet feet don't bother me. Cold feet do! I use old Saucony boat shoes, they could clear a room full of dogs!. Wife won't let them in the house, but they have good grip still.
David Ratusnik posted 06-20-2002 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Two pairs of the dumpiest deck shoes on the planet. Not fit for the prom. David
Chap posted 06-20-2002 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
-Teva Splitfires
-Timberland Super Boat Shoes, live in garage
-Timberland workboots, live next to above
-Lacrosse fishing boots, unknown location,
think wife threw them away. Probably replace with some Vikings.
Bigshot posted 06-20-2002 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I have an old pair of Vans that I love and are great boat shoes to boot. I usually wear my deckshoes which get rotated. I shop exclusively at Marshalls for these. You go to the Clearance rack. I just got a pair of Sperry's for $11 and a pair of Timberlands for $35. I then rotate. The timberlands are top dog right now and are for casual Friday's at work and dinning out, etc. Next in line are the sperry's that were in top but have now been beat up enough that I don't want clients to laugh at my shoes. These are worn now 7 days a week, etc. Then once broken down to garbage ready(for most) they become lawn mowing and painting ONLY shoes, usually reside in the garage. I always have a few new pairs(from marshalls) waiting to start their tour of duty. BUT....I will wear no dockside before it's time!

My father will buy the closeouts that need to be relaced(which is a job and 1/2) and sends them to me as I have stock:)

mudpuppy posted 06-20-2002 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for mudpuppy  Send Email to mudpuppy     
While I risk subjecting myself and my oft-maligned Whaler to additional scorn heaped upon me from a dizzying height, I repeat: The marine carpet installed in my Whaler has eliminated the traction issue for me and my dogs. A vast improvement.

I wear: Teva river sandals or similar, bare feet, LL Bean hunting boots, or boot-feet neoprene waders, depending on what's going on. All work well given conditions. Dogs go barefooted.

duckfish posted 06-20-2002 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for duckfish  Send Email to duckfish     
Birkenstocks, Merill mocs, or bare feet...I prefer the bare feet
OutrageMan posted 06-20-2002 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
Traditional Sperry Topsiders. I go through about 3 pair a year. They are my defacto shoe 365 days a year. When I get them wet the fit better when they dry out. Best deck traction around.


Taylor posted 06-20-2002 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I've always boated barefoot if possible. In kayaks, sailing, and now Whalering. I figure the deck of a boat is sort of like the inside of your house, and I think you ought to take your shoes off. I like the feeling of non-skid on my soles. Nice thing about a Whaler vs many sailboats is that there is a lot less to stub your toes on.

If not barefoot then zorries (flipflops).
In colder weather, I use german plastic garden clogs.

gunnelgrabber posted 06-20-2002 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
i am a little different from some here in that i think it's asking for problems if you are in a boat without shoes that you can walk on oystershells,broken beer bottles, limerock etc the boat? anything or nothing at all is ok,but if you have to get out for any of many reasons?(i.e. pulling off a mud flat or oyster bar) need to not shred your type sandals are good.i ask all my passengers to wear shoes...lm
Wreckdiver posted 06-20-2002 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Wreckdiver  Send Email to Wreckdiver     
Traditional Sperry Top~Sider, but the boots and knee pads on the dive suits really mark up the boat.
rsgwynn1 posted 06-21-2002 12:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
Topsiders are great, but my favorites are a pair of Rockport watersports shoes I bought a couple of years ago. They're made of nylon and dry fast, and they have better arch support than Topsiders. Only drawback is that my pair is bright orange and I've never been able to find this model anywhere else.

Incidentally, I learned my lesson after wearing Nikes onboard one day. Slipped and just about knocked myself out.

triblet posted 06-21-2002 02:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Diving Concepts boots, an integral part of
my drysuit. Admiral Linda wears Northern
Diver, basically the same. REI's heaviest
wool socks underneath.


FISHNFF posted 06-21-2002 05:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
If I'm Whalering inland, it will vary from Scott sandals to a nice comfortable pair of Cross Trainer's. In the Blue, it is a pair of Xtra Tuffs boots (seen on the soles of most deckhands on the West Coast). Before these, Sea Tracs by Florshiem were the bomb!


aubv posted 06-21-2002 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
Warm weather: Sperry deck shoes
Cool weather: LL Bean Maine hunting boots
Cold weather: LL Bean insulated Maine Hunting boots.

I have found the hunting boots keep your feet dry and this goes along way to keeping warm. Going bear foot is an accident waiting to happen on my boat. I don't want my toes anywhere near a live Bluefish or Bonito!

hauptjm posted 06-21-2002 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Sperry Mariners. Sometimes barefoot, but only when it's a slow cruise and the Topsider's are always nearby. Had the unfortunate experience of having to tape what was left of an unattached little toe on a buddy when we were out racing dingies as kids. He ran up to the foredeck and left his little toe on a cleat.
BOB KEMMLER JR posted 06-21-2002 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
Cold weather=air walks
hot weather=bare feet
JDH posted 06-21-2002 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for JDH  Send Email to JDH     
Teva's most of the time. Great for launching, landing & crabbing.

I plan on putting dridek down on my boat because after fast trips to the islands last year, my heels would be bruised. Besides teh dogs hate the bare 'glass.

kingfish posted 06-21-2002 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Used to be Omegas until they went to the same place Captain Midnight did when I was younger.

Lately it's been Sperry Performance (SB870's) - usually got about three pairs that I rotate through, trying to keep one pair fairly sharp looking for the restaurants and stuff.

I'm about to give the Harken Speedgrips a try, just out of curiosity, though I have *no* complaints with the Sperrys.


ChocLabWhaler posted 06-21-2002 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChocLabWhaler  Send Email to ChocLabWhaler     
Kingfish -
if the Harken speedgrips are the ones with the raised "wavy" sole, Don't waste your money. Not as good a gripper as you might think. And they will "wash-out" and give way, the way a hairbrush's bristles move.
My $.02.
Chap posted 06-21-2002 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chap  Send Email to Chap     
Is it true that Paul Sperry invented the deck shoe sole when he noticed his dog didn't slip on the ice like he did? Mr. Sperry looked at the dogs pads and their grippy grooving and set out to duplicate the pattern?
MilwaukeeWhaler posted 06-21-2002 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for MilwaukeeWhaler  Send Email to MilwaukeeWhaler     
I wear Columbia water shoes with neoprene lining. Non marking with great grip. In May and October I wear Irish Setter insulated hunting boots. Marks the heck out of my floor but keeps me dry and toasty. One day I wore running shoes and I noticed my back didn't hurt half as much. Since then I have been looking for a well padded boating shoe. Any suggestions?~mw
skookum point posted 06-24-2002 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for skookum point  Send Email to skookum point     
Thanks to all for your interesting responses. Looks like Sperry Topsiders are the big favorite – ideally in multiple pairs.

The most unusual boat shoes mentioned, in my opinion, are Taylor's “german plastic garden clogs”.

FISHNFF – do the Xtra Tuff boots have non-marking soles?

where2 posted 06-24-2002 06:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Bare-Feet. If not bare feet, then my hiking boots which I promptly take off so I can drive the boat with my toes on the wheel, and my arm around my wife. (common sense says this is not the method to use when running above idle speed!) I generally keep a pair of dirt cheap wet-sneakers (spandex and mesh with a rubber sole) in the storage locker for those times when I have to walk in non-sandy bottoms. Florida is mostly sand around my house though, except for the oyster bars.
Taylor posted 06-24-2002 06:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
In case anyone is interested, my garden clogs are called 'Jollys' and can be found at I prefer the closed back, and the mens clogs have a lower and wider heel than the womans. They might be Dutch rather than German.

Besides boating and beach combing, I use them in my workshop, going to the store, walking the dogs, and yes, in the garden. Wore them to work once, but too many people laughed.

AnthonyT posted 06-24-2002 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for AnthonyT  Send Email to AnthonyT     
I noticed in Cabela's a modified Top Sider that had a gum sole and looked as if it had real support inside. I may try out a pair for myself...


Digs1622 posted 06-24-2002 10:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Digs1622  Send Email to Digs1622     
Barefoot...whenever possible...if not old tennis shoes hold the grip...but its just not the same:)


Tom W Clark posted 06-24-2002 11:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Get with the program. Those Jolly's are stylish and all but THE garden clog to own is the Wearever by Anywear Shoes

These garden clogs are by far the most comfortable clogs out there. While not necessarily beautiful they are well thought out. I was given a pair and did not wear them for two years because they were so odd. Then I tried them one day and that was it.

With over an inch of elevation, they do well in puddles and wet environments. Yes they go on the boat as well as to work, on the bicycle and (since mine are black), out on the town.

You and Angle should check them out. They're a Seattle company too. Support your local yokels!

Here's your tip for the day: don't buy them at any of the retail outlets or online from the factory for $45, but rather go to the Fremont Sunday Market and see the vendor in the garage who sells them for $30, slaes tax included!

Actually, when on the water I prefer to be barefoot if its warm enough. When I go fishing and it's 5:00 am and cold and wet I wear my Sperry insulated sailing boots.

These Sperry insulated sailing boots have served me well for over 16 years of fishing and sailing. I got them a size oversize so they would be easy to slip on with really thick (or doubled) socks. In a boat you don't walk around that much so why not? They're super comfortable and warm. When the sun comes up in the summer and the wind dies and it gets hot, just slip them off and go barefoot. That's living!

Other boating footwear for me includes my Birkenstocks, and my 10" Red Wing work boots, smooth white sole, no heel. These do not track dirt into clients homes, hold well on roofs and boat decks alike and do not leave scuff marks.

FISHNFF posted 06-25-2002 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for FISHNFF  Send Email to FISHNFF     
Yes, the Xtra Tuffs have a non-marring rubber sole. Very grippy and comfortable. In the Blue I always wear boots and mostly Grunden rain bibs. The water may be calm but the fish are always wet!


kingfish posted 06-25-2002 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Thanks for the tip (I finally got around to reviewing the thread this morning) - the Sperry SB870's are just fine, and I'll quit lusting after the Harkens-


prj posted 06-25-2002 09:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
bravo tom, last paragraph sums up one of my base concepts for shoe purchases.

whats with lug soles anyway? having problems staying upright? work on balance, 'cause it ain't the tool!

smooth light colored soles, no tracking, low top leather work boots for hard weather, barefoot for the fine days.

had a buddy wear some gummy black soled birkies once. must say, i enjoyed seeing him on his hands and knees scrubbing my decks on vacation. and no, its not a euphemism.

Duncan posted 06-25-2002 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Duncan  Send Email to Duncan     

Neoprene chest waders w/ wading shoes are in. They provide a snappy compliment to the camo-taped Winchester pump 12 Guage and will be all the rage this fall. For make-up, try some military surplus face paint for that classic "swamp-trash" look.

JFM posted 06-25-2002 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Now this is a thread that is close to my heart.
Around my haunts, I'm refered to the "Imelda Marcos" of boat shoes.
I have no idea how many pairs I have, but it is well over 50. The collection dates back to the 1970's mostly Sperry's. From the cheapest to the best, all colors and styles. I'll never forget the first time I went to a West store in Fla. and hit the clearance rack and came out with 4 pairs, 2 of the same pair. It's easy to get me a gift, everyone knows I'm nuts about boat shoes.
I wear them everywhere even with suits.
My daughter tried to talk me out of wearing them to our first father/daughter dance with no luck!
I wish I had a pair on my first night in Fla. when I broke my baby toe.
Now I sit here typing with a pair on that have a hole cut out to fit that damn toe in. Well at least it's an excuse to buy another pair. Perhaps I'll hobble out at lunch time and look around. I have the "Billfish" model but could use a pair of "Spearfish" to match my new sport coat. Regards, Jay
JFM posted 06-25-2002 04:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
No luck. Looked at lunch time but toe too sore and big to try on. The saleslady said "go ahead and try the left one on", then she saw the look on my face and quietly walked away. Regards, Jay
Taylor posted 06-25-2002 07:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Jolly's stylish? I think not. But I'm glad for the info on an alternate garden clog. I was unware of Wherevers. Knowing more about clogs than me a quite a feat. ;)

JohnAz posted 06-25-2002 11:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
K-Mart boat shoes,,Verry like top;siders..canvas with white rubber soles..when on sale less than $5,00,,i buy 6 pair at a time
Swellmonster posted 07-14-2002 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Generally, I wear the topsiders when launching, and go barefoot in the boat if I am just cruising. Just once in a while, I do something a lil wierd. I took a good, soft, thick off-white cotton rubber backed bath mat and put it on the deck. When you stand on it, it doesnt get hot like rest of the deck and it just feels so good! (almost kinky)
When I fish, I like my feet protected, and supported, so I usually wear washable tennis shoes.
I always leave one pair of $5.00 cheapo boat shoes in the boat for emergencies.
zpeed7 posted 07-14-2002 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for zpeed7  Send Email to zpeed7     
Funny no one has mentioned Sebago's. At least for me they're a better fit than Sperry's. Plus they never die, I've sure tried...


compounder posted 07-15-2002 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     

Interesting thread! I can't believe anyone would admit to wearing "german plastic garden clogs" on their boat though (or anywhere else for that matter). The rednecks around these parts would laugh you out of town. I'm sure the "K-Mart boat shoes" for $5 are high-quality item!!

I'm heading to town now to find some "marine carpet" for the interior of my Montauk and maybe one of those "kinky" feeling bath mats.

Backlash posted 07-15-2002 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Interesting thread. I've got half a dozen pairs of Sperry's which I like, but offer little or no support. Got a pair of Billfisher's that offer the most support I've found in a Sperry and considered them the ultimate boat shoe...until I got a pair of Sebago Clovehitches! They are by far the most comfortable, supportive boat shoe I've ever owned. I baby them and haven't gotten them wet yet. My Teva's are used for launching/retrieving duty.
andiamo posted 07-15-2002 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for andiamo  Send Email to andiamo     
Sperry used to make a double thick soled oiled geathe "professional model" that was all the rage when I was a marine domestic in my earlier days. I have been away form the water for too long. Does anyone know if this shoe is still available. I need new old deck shoes to go with my old new boat.



Swellmonster posted 07-24-2002 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     

Marine carpet in your vessel? Whats up with that?

David Pendleton posted 07-24-2002 07:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I have the Sperry Billfish also. I like them alot.

I think Sperry makes the best sole, I just wish they were made somewhere other than China.


compounder posted 07-24-2002 09:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
you'll have to check with mudpuppy on the carpet thing. you tell me what's up with the "kinky feeling" bath mats in the boat!
Swellmonster posted 07-26-2002 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
I see your interested in that kinky mat thing. It is a Martha Stewart brand. I got it at Target. It has a 1/4 - 3/8 loop weave, off white and about 12 x 18. When standing barefoot on the white deck, its just a nice change for your feet to stand on and give you a homey, comfy feel. When you stand on it, it reminds you that its "your personal place". It has a non-slip rubber back, so it stays put, and when you get home, you just throw it into the washing machine. I havent tried it yet, but you could probably change colors to match your mood or clothing. When your woman sees it in your boat, she might want to try it.
I got the "kinky" term from a girl on the boat. She said it felt good, but kinda kinky. (the carpet)
compounder posted 07-26-2002 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Enough about the mat, post a photograph of the girl on the boat!
Swellmonster posted 07-27-2002 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Sorry, I dont have a digital camera.......
Swellmonster posted 08-24-2002 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
hooter posted 08-24-2002 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
When she ain't got'er shimp-boots on, Momma likes to scamper about on dis ol' piece o'shag carpet. Hadn't been outta'da Whaler in a while dis summer. Talk 'bout KINKy? You don't WANna see da picture.
dogface posted 08-26-2002 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for dogface  Send Email to dogface     
Speery Topsiders or my ever true Nike slip ons I wear them ALL the time soft easy in and out. I wear shoes on the boat any time we are doing much (fishin, underway, docking, launching, etc. I find that the nonskid is brutal on my dogs. I also need to be on my toes,literally, while underway to see over the windshield and they cushion my feet. In the winter I wear West Marines heavy marine "boot" with 2 pair of socks. I have a terrible time keeping my feet warm and when My feet are cold I am cold.
pequotman posted 08-26-2002 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for pequotman  Send Email to pequotman     
summer hot weather - bare feet/teva's

Spring/fall cool weather - Dougals gill lace up dinghy boots

winter cold weather - LL Bean Classic Maine hunting boots with goretex lining --very warm and toasty

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