The Best Summer Shoes or Not?

I know many of you fashionistas who follow this blog are going to gasp in horror,choke on your tea or just keel over in disgust when I tell you that my favorite summer shoe used to be (notice the past tense here) my boat shoes.

Image courtesy of Joanna Goddard

When I first came to Spain, I lived in my boat shoes for running errands, jumping on Hubby's Vespa to zoom around the city etc. But I always noticed the look of disdain from other Spanish women!

One day whilst shopping with my Spanish friend Carlotta (translation= Charlotte), who doesn't think twice about running around Carrefour (translation= French hyper-market now found all over Spain) in her Manolos, she looked at my feet decked in boat shoes and this was our conversation:

Carlotta: WHHYYY Van?
Me: Why what?
Carlotta: Why do you wear those 'ORRIBLE shoes?
Me: Don't you like them?
Carlotta: Did you come to the supermarket by boat?
Me: No
Carlotta: Do you own a boat?
Me: No. In fact I am a really bad sailor
Carlotta: Then why are you wearing boat shoes? It's like wearing your bikini to go shopping. Boat shoes should only be seen on a boat or by the beach!

And hence my love affair with my boat shoes was brought to an abrupt end. It wasn't until we had this conversation that I started looking at every woman's feet during the summer, and she was right; Spanish women never wear boat shoes away from the coast. Mediterranean men on the other hand wear them all the time in the city, and even in formal corporate environments during the summer. For men, they are regarded as "dapper" and "smart". But they are a real NO NO for women.

Do you agree with my friend Carlotta?


  1. Interesting and that conversation was hilarious!
    Funnily enough, hubs wanted me to wear mine on Saturday when we were running about Edinburgh all day but I said no as I felt they weren't right for the city, but I think wear what ever you like. I still wear Uggs in winter, they are comfy and keep me warm, I don't care what folk think!

  2. I am not a fan of the boat shoe for me. Although in high school (mid 80's) I proudly wore a pair of baby pink ones with my school uniform.

    I stay away from any shoe that is on the masculine side. I am already taller than many men and have longer feet than many men. I don't need to add any masculine touches.

    For someone more petite than I, they are kinda cute. And they're not much different from loafers, which are making a comeback for fall.

    If you like them and you feel good in them, wear them!

  3. Thank you Tabitha and Adrienne.
    I know what you mean about wear what you want. But here in Spain, women examine you like an x-ray machine; they literally look you up and down blatantly, and I have become more self-conscious than I ever was in the UK. Hubby always says "your foreign to them, and be proud of it". It's one of the things I miss about the UK. You could go shopping in your pj's and no-one would look twice. Here they are very judgemental. I just need to grow a thicker skin ;-)

  4. I think you should be able to wear them with the right outfit whenever you want. I am seeing them more and more in shoe stores and in catologs and obviously not everyone who buys them owns a boat to wear them on. I have tried talking my husband into buying them for a nice summer casual shoe (because if I see him in his low socks and black Sketchers with shorts ONE MORE TIME...) but have had no success. I like your husband's quote in your comment above--wise man. xxBliss

  5. I like boat shoes on the shore when they are paired with an outfit with feminine touches: a scarf, capris, a ruffly blouse, etc.

    I have two pairs of Tod's driving mocassins that I run around in during the spring and summer. They are great with jeans and when I need a break from wedged sandals.

    Would Chuck Taylor's be more acceptable in town to run errands rather than boat shoes?

  6. Oh how this shoe story makes me laugh! I've been running around in a pair of gold slip-on tennis shoes all summer (until I stepped in dog ___ & had to dispose of them). I am now on the search for stylish footware ... I guess I won't be getting any boat shoes based on your experiences! :)

  7. Thank you friends. It's great to see the different opinions.
    @Stepping..... I must say I do think men look quite dapper with boat shoes and lovely chinos and polo shirt. It seems to be the corporate uniform for men in Spain.
    @Andrea-great to see you here Sweets!
    @Rebekah-I am the opposite to you. When I am wearing my boat shoes, there's nothing feminine about my attire; it's usually jeans and a polo shirt ;-)

  8. One of my best friends wears boat shoes all the time! They're not for me but they definitely work on her. She looks absolutely adorable! It's kind of sad that you stopped wearing them since you liked to wear them before.

    Have a good weekend, sweetie! xoxo

  9. So funny! :-) I can see her point but I'm afraid I'm a big fan of wearing whatever makes you happy, whether others approve or not. :-)

  10. I heard a saying once regarding a womans wardrobe and it was "Don't waste the pretty". It takes as much time and effort to put on something ugly or inappropriate as it does to put on something pretty.
    You could put on boat shoes which are comfortable and serviceable, but why not put on and equally comfortable pretty summer sandal or a ballet flat? Save the loafer type shoes for the cooler weather when they will look great with a pair of jeans and a big luxurious sweater. I do love boat shoes just not in the summer.

  11. Thank you friends for all your lovely comments, and welcome to @Gracies Mom. Hope to see you here again ;-)

  12. I think it really does depend on the specific shoe... but I'm also a Tod's girl - I know many think they're awful but they are just too practical and personally I love the look of them worn with skinny jeans.

    Plimsoles are also great for errands, especially if the weather isn't so nice. Does anyone still say plimsoles?

    Wonderful blog!


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