Let’s face it – boat shoes are for kids.
After graduating college, the only place they should be worn is on the deck of ship. They unintentionally give off a youthful vibe that is best avoided most of the time.
The problem comes when boat shoes become the “default” summer shoe, the one you wear all the time, almost every day.
When that’s the case, you might never venture far from their perennial comfort – but you should.
There are plenty of other types of shoes that carry a similar profile to boat shoes, but eschew the frat-boy influence. You can wear them all spring and summer just like you would boat shoes, but you’ll avoid the baggage that goes along with them
Here are some of our favorites:
- Oak Street Bootmakers
No longer relegated to the closets of the East Coast prep, the penny loafer has gained acceptance as a three-season casual shoe. It’s a definite step up from the boat shoe – and it will get you noticed.
Choose a well-made pair like these Oak Street Bootmakers Beefroll Penny Loafers ($328), and go sockless. The term “beefroll” refers to the rolled-up leather on the sides, which gives the loafer a more casual vibe.
- Jack Erwin
Many men are now donning the driving moc for activities other than driving. They have a refined yet laid-back vibe that’s ideal for summer in the city.
The driving moc is often considered the penny loafer’s sportier, European cousin.
We like the subdued styling of Jack Erwin’s Ernie driving loafers ($115), which are a sportier version of the penny loafer.
- L.L. Bean
If you’re not looking to stray very far from the styling of the boat shoe, but still want to look age-appropriate, the camp moc is perfect. A very close relative of the boat shoe, the camp moc even has the same wraparound leather lacing and general profile.
However, the front lacing sets it apart with a distinctive row of metal eyelets.
L.L. Bean’s Camp Moc ($89) is a wonderful example of this kind of shoe.
The most rugged of the bunch, the blucher moc ditches the wraparound lace in favor of a full four-eyelet system.
This changes the profile of the shoe but still provides that low-profile, moc-toe summer look with the casual spirit we love.
Eastland ($85) makes a solid blucher moc in a traditional style.