01 February 2010

The ubiquitous topsider

I can't stand Sperry Topsiders.  It's not that they are bad boat shoes, on the contrary, they are excellent on the boat.  Otherwise, why would so many sailors wear them?

And that's the problem, many many sailors do wear them and not just to sail in.  They wear them everywhere like the red badge of sailinginess.  I was at a party a couple of years ago when a guy comes in late.  I knew he was a sailor and asked if he was going out that weekend and we chatted sailing for a minute until somebody found this interesting and asked him if he was a sailor.  He didn't say, "yes I love sailing", he said, "yes, can't you tell?  I'm wearing a West Marine jacket and topsiders."  Kind of upitty-like.  Kind of in the way that makes people really hate sailors. 

And I knew he hadn't sailed that day nor was he planning on sailing that night.  He was wearing this gear to identify himself as a sailor so people would ask about his manly sailing exploits.  It was at that moment that I began to hate topsiders; I just can't hold him against waterproof jackets, they just make sense.  Full disclosure: I wore topsiders in high school as a fashion statement, but what the hell, I was in high school and didn't know any better.

I can't hold this guy against a brand of shoe forever but for the purpose of Tillerman's Writing Project du Jour, my hatred is real.  For the moment.

5 comments:

tillerman said...

Edward, this is the best post you have ever written about Sperry Topsiders. It's even better than my post about Sperry Topsiders that I wrote in 2006.

How do you do it?

Pat said...

If the shoe fits, swear at it?

Carol Anne said...

No serious sailor would wear the same shoes ashore that he (or she) wears sailing. Walking around on dry land destroys the soles of the shoes so they lose their ability to grip wet decks well. Anyone who wears Topsiders ashore is a poseur -- or else so rich as to afford one pair of shoes for ashore and another pair for on the boat.

EscapeVelocity said...

I possess a pair of LL Bean Casco Bay Boat Mocs, which I have in fact worn on a boat on Casco Bay, but in general I don't find the soles very effective for actually staying on boats, so I wear them mostly to work in the summer because I consider them slightly dressier than sneakers. For sailing, depending on the boat and time of year, I go barefoot or wear stinky water shoes that I keep on the front porch, dinghy boots, or sneakers. Topsiders don't fit me, so I can't say whether their soles work better for actually staying on boats than the boat shoes I have, though they look like the same general principle.

The World Tour said...

Ooops, we just got our sailing around the world tour partly sponsored by Sperry Topsider, will that make you hate us as well? Not wearing the shoes on land though..