The boat shoe has been something of a summer classic ever since Paul Sperry put the final stitches in his prototype pair back in 1935. As the story goes, he was so impressed by his dog’s ability to run across a frozen lake without slipping that he attempted to recreate the texture of his companion’s paws by cutting narrow slits or “siping” into the soles of his shoes. Of course, his design didn’t gain much traction on the ice, so to speak, but it did prove reliable on the smooth, wet surface of a boat deck.
Fast forward nearly one-hundred years and the boat shoe looks almost exactly the same. That is, until now. OluKai — the Hawaii-inspired brand making handsome, functional footwear for all manner of amphibious activities — has redesigned the boat shoe from the ground up. We got our hands (and feet) on a pair of its new Nohea Moku style for a closer look — here are a few of the details that stand out.
1. All-weather; no worries: The Nohea Moku’s all-weather, non-marking rubber cupsoles feature custom razor siping for traction on wet surfaces. Textured pads under each sole make for a tangible improvement over traditional boat shoe outsoles and make this shoe a perfect fit for onboard wear.
2. Non-slip’n slides: OluKai’s patented Drop-In Heel® collapses neatly down into the footbed for easy, slip-on wear. But the Nohea Moku holds up in the chop, too — just flip the heel back up and let those elastic, no-tie bungie laces lock your foot firmly in place while you ride the wave to calmer waters.
3. Keep your cool: The Nohea Moku’s lightweight, breathable mesh upper and air mesh tongue and gusset use stretch bootie construction to ensure comfortable barefoot wear while keeping your feet cool and dry.