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Old 05-02-2011, 11:07   #1

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Do You Wear Shoes While Sailing ?

This came up in another thread, and I was surprised at the number of responses.

The question is:

Do you wear shoes when sailing, or do you find them to be a hindrance?

For example, I never wear shoes. My reasoning and intuition leads me to want to be more careful and wearing shoes impedes that premise. By not wearing shoes I am inclined to be more aware when walking on deck, and also more in contact with what the environment is telling me w/ information. I have never had a problem with grip. In fact, I have more traction since my foot is more flexible to grip on items etc.

OTOH, by not wearing shoes, my feet act like radiators and loose heat, and if I am not careful I might hurt myself.

What do you do? And if you wear shoes, what kind appeals to you?

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Old 05-02-2011, 11:14   #2
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Only when I don't want to break toes.

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Old 05-02-2011, 11:17   #3
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I've flown by the seat of my pants but not sailed by the soles of my feet. The clodhoppers just aren't very intuitive. I generally sail with shoes 'cause I don't like to have bloody toes. Seems there are a ton of things that you can accidentally kick that will draw blood or leave you hopping on one foot on the deck of a boat. Decent boat shoes also have a lot better grip than bare feet. If my feet were toughened like they were when I was a kid and could run on gravel roads, might go barefoot more often.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:26   #4
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Yes I Always wear shoes on deck.

My old dad alwas said that he disliked his crew beeing out of action due broken toes or just bruised toes when needed most for the safe manouvering of the yacht.

But then he also disliked fishing due the mess on deck when killing bigger fish..

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Old 05-02-2011, 11:26   #5
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On the boat I rarely wear shoes... also ashore if its local as the performance of de sanding my feet after beaching's a pita....
As for toe stubbing on deck... I've got intellegent feet...
Winter up Nth's another story tho'... then its a pair of slip on/off deck shoes..
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:29   #6
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:35   #7
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Crew and myself are always bare feet
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:36   #8
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my boat mocs grip the deck far better than my bare feet. As far as I'm concerned, boat mocs with good treads are a more important piece of safety gear than a life vest. I don't have to worry about surviving the splash if I can stay on the boat.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:38   #9
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I only have a few dozen hours of sea time, so I'm no expert.

But I am a barefoot kind of guy that can't stand tight fitting shoes. As a result my footwear of choice has always been relatively loose fitting boat shoes that I slip off without touching the laces.

I've tried walking a dew laden deck at the dock in the mornings a couple of times with less than favorable results. Several slips and a toe bump or two has caused me to abandon the practice. My old boat shoes I wear everyday with dirty worn soles yields the same results without bruises however.

My new pair of topsiders with clean soles provide a superior grip, never slipping so far. I lace them tighter than off boat shoes. If I wear them off the boat a few times they need a quick scrub on the soles with a mild dish liquid solution to remove grit and oil to restore grip. I've done that once so far. Those typically fine cut lines in the flat sole need to stay clean to work best.

For me I'll have to stick to a good pair of topsiders.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:40   #10
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I always require shoes on deck, for peoples own protection. There are just too many ways to injure your feet on a boat.

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Old 05-02-2011, 11:43   #11
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While I go in stocking-feet at home, I always wear shoes onboard because of a proclivity to stub toes.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:46   #12
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I have very large feet and consequently tend not to lose my balance. I do, however, wear sandals with straps around the ankle (they look like Roman footwear on top, and Topsiders on the soles!). This is as much for the water as for the deck, because if I dive it and step on the bottom, I don't want to cut my feet (no stonefish locally, but I like to plan ahead).

This is because I HAVE cut my feet before in the water, and it's a nasty process having it heal. On the other hand, I've torn off a big toenail on a cleat, and that was pretty gruesome as well.

Is there a Doc Martin with a deck sole?
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:05   #13
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Shoes and closed toe sandals are my fair weather deck wear.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:13   #14
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Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
Only when I don't want to break toes.

From the various responses here I see it's not a general rule, but personally, when I'm on deck I'm at work, and I want to be able to do that work without being distracted by my feet, and whether or not I drop a winch handle on them or get a splinter, or cut them on something.

Barefoot is for the beach or at home relaxing, as far as I'm concerned.

As to what footwear - in warm dry weather any kind of boat shoes, particularly anything made by Sperry. Otherwise, Musto Ocean Goretex high boots. It pays to buy real boat shoes as the soles are really designed for wet decks.

As Bash mentioned, not slipping on a wet deck can be a matter of life and death.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:15   #15
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I prefer to go barefoot, but I can't tell you how many times I have stubbed the same toe stepping out of the cockpit! (slow learner, I guess.) Guess I'll buy a pair of Van's slip on's before spring. Got the wife an pair and she really likes them.

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