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Jeff, I'm so relieved that you're OK. I abandoned Sperry Topsiders 20 years ago because of their slick soles that even fresh treads can't overcome.Maybe their other styles use better soles.

FWIW, I've grown very fond of Keen Newports for casual use. They're sandals, so no socks needed, and they respond well to occasional (~2x/year) bleach cleaning so they don't become too "ripe". They have outstanding toe protection, good arch support, and don't lose their grip even after several years. Most colors have black soles, which charter managers don't like, but I've never seen them make any marks on my own boat.
 
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Jeff I am awful glad you are OK. This does harken back to many discussions we have all had online here about boarding your boat in an emergency from water. Myself being a big advocate for a quick release swim ladder for just such an emergency.

This discussion on boat shoes is a timely one as well I gave up Sperry several years ago as well, and that was when they stopped selling the white sole ones that were retreadable (back in the 90s). If you knew a good cobbler they could retread them for you, something of a novelty these days. I just purchased as set of Gill slip ons, that have the pull string tighteners (actually because I cannot really cross my right leg right now and needed an easy way to put my shoe on - for now). So far they seem "grippy" compared to all others I've used - Jeff I suppose these would be "technical" though. I purchased a set of slip on sketchers that were great for a couple weeks then were ice skates after that. They also really started to hold odor even though they were cotton uppers, so they were quite intolerable as boat shoes.

At the ripe age of 49 (turning 50 next month), I recently was diagnosed with RA and it has thrown me for a loop. I have ALWAYS been sure footed, easy to balance even as a large fat guy (6'2" and 255lbs), In January, I could balance on the bow pulpit holding one hand on the forestay and not think much of it (and yes I was doing as much attempting to untangle my genoa sleeve the one day above 45 degree water), now I cannot walk my decks without 2 hands for everything. I ride horses, and sometimes did so one handed while I roded dogs, or planted birds for field trials (all taking significant balance). Today, just getting down below down the steps is a struggle. I am told this health issue should be very temporary, but it has been unnerving for me to go from sailing solo and placing 2nd overall in our local fleets in both the Winter and Spring series this year, to not even feeling strong enough most days to go out sailing. My point is, age eventually gets us all I suppose, sometimes that age comes up faster than you'd think. Frankly Jeff, I don't think I'd be as lucky if this had happened to me in the state I am in right now. I am an excellent swimmer, so at least there is that giving me confidence I would have survived - that is what I am telling myself anyway (as I lately fear just getting on and off the boat). In fact I am going to the lake these days to get some swimming time in, to help build my strength back without the massive joint pain walking/exercise causes these days. Not being able to sail though is really killing me. My few minutes aboard to check things, change into swim attire, and unboard, I see a lot of ways that I can go wrong. Frankly where I board/unboard is via the stern and it is awful close to the dock, my big worry is I'd either bang a dock or get pinched between boat/dock. Lots of ways that could go wrong. Did I mention I am glad you are OK?

Back to the topic at hand though, I typically tie my swim ladder up with a single loop of line, such that it takes no effort from the water to pull it down. On prior boats I used cable tie-velcro, which works excellent. In fact a short length of line with a bowline tied amid-ladder will make it easier pull it down from the water with the velcro providing JUST enough resistance to keep it from falling without "help."

I doubt I'd personally have the upper body strength even when I felt well, to pull myself aboard amidships sans swim ladder. Funny thing is it was only about 5 years ago, that I accidentally pushed my Capri 25 off a trailer (by myself) without a dockline attached... I leaped from the trailer winch, and onto the bow pulpit, pulling myself through the pulpit using the forestay as a handhold... I managed to get aboard. I honestly don't think that could be duplicated today, frankly I was astonished I could do it then.
 

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Here’s to your good fortune. So glad all is well. I didn’t go in the drink, but I took a slip, while stepping in our cockpit, maybe a decade ago. We had guests on the dock and I was rushing to get their things aboard. Talking and doing and not paying sufficient attention. I too was wearing an old pair of shoes relegated to the land. My foot went out from under me, with two heavy duffels in each hand. The cockpit sole was two levels, as was the seating. Of course, the table was in the center. In an instant, my back landed squarely and flat on the upper part of the sole and my head missed everything. I was crazy lucky.

I wore the original Sperry Topsiders (with the razor siping) ever since I can remember. As young children, my mother used to tie a fresh pair to our feet, make us walk in the water, then wear them, until they dried, which perfectly broke them in. This was before they had anything fancy inside.

When Sperry sold out, their quality dropped. I now wear their Billfish design, which has a more aggressive tread. At first. After a couple of years, it’s not just wear that reduces tread, the rubber/plastic hardens and that’s when they become like ice skates. Planned obsolescence I suppose. I order a new pair about every other year now, which works fine.
 

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I have a pair of Crocks BOAT SHOES! They look like Topsiders (leather upper and white soule) but have MUCH better grip when wet.
I googled Croc boat shoes and came up with a bewildering array of results, none of which resembled topsiders. Do you recall what the Croc name or model?
 

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We have boarding rules (I have lots of rules LOLOLOL).
Crawl aboard like a baby. Don't stand on a dinghy tube, they maybe wet and slippery.
When getting into the dinghy from the dock, sit on your butt on the dock and put your legs into the dinghy NOT onto the tube. Slide in.
Getting from Dink onto sugar scoop, crawl on like a baby, no stepping on.
Never wear a heavy backpack getting on or off. Chuck it on first or drag it off later but if you slip with it on it could be straight to the bottom.
If I do all these things when I am sober I will do them when I have had too many Rum Punches... and thats the time that can kill people.


Mark
 

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Minni identifies the problem... the sole material "degrades" which usually means hardens and the designs relie on cuts in the sole like tire tread for non skid. Doesn't work, Soles should be soft and "very elastic" for the tread idea to work.

I have some Brazilian rubber "garden shoes/ kitchen shoes" which seem to have the sole thing right. Have not tried them on board. My GRP/gelcoat "non skid" deck is hardly non skid... so it's like trying to get traction on a wax floor of a ice skating rink. Teak is far superior for non skid.

Long story short... I always hold on to something when on deck for multiple reasons. Fortunately all lines are lead aft and I don't need to go forward... except to anchor typically... or set the cruising chute (rarely).
 

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We have boarding rules (I have lots of rules LOLOLOL).
Crawl aboard like a baby. Don't stand on a dinghy tube, they maybe wet and slippery.
When getting into the dinghy from the dock, sit on your butt on the dock and put your legs into the dinghy NOT onto the tube. Slide in.
Getting from Dink onto sugar scoop, crawl on like a baby, no stepping on.
Never wear a heavy backpack getting on or off. Chuck it on first or drag it off later but if you slip with it on it could be straight to the bottom.
If I do all these things when I am sober I will do them when I have had too many Rum Punches... and thats the time that can kill people.


Mark
Excellent. I installed two removable poles which assist in boarding,,, best hand holds!

139535
 

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I googled Croc boat shoes and came up with a bewildering array of results, none of which resembled topsiders. Do you recall what the Croc name or model?
It seems that the current model is called "Crocs Men's Classic Boat Shoes" (all synthetic) Item model number : 206338 - and they're $30/pair! They also have "Crocs Men's Beach Line Boat Shoe" which have a textile upper (Item model number : 15386 Beach Line Boat Slp), better looking IMHO, at $41/pair

However, these are NOT what I have. The ones I own have stitched leather uppers but do not have the drainage slits that the models above have. Other than the label "Crocs," they look like Sperrys - at least to me. (Why do manufactures always seem to discontinue the stuff that I like?)
139536
 
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It seems that the current model is called "Crocs Men's Classic Boat Shoes" Item model number : 206338 - and they're $30/pair! They also have "Crocs Men's Beach Line Boat Shoe" (Item model number : 15386 Beach Line Boat Slp), better looking IMHO, at $41/pair

However, these are NOT what I have. The ones I own do not have the drainage slits. Other than the label "Crocs," they look like Sperrys - at least to me. (Why do manufactures always seem to discontinue the stuff that I like?) View attachment 139536
My search so far did not turn up anything that looks like your photo. I share your pain. Seems like a lot of the things I like, be it food items, shoes, shirts, boat bits, computer software, whatever, the manufacturers feel the need to "improve" it, discontinue the one that works and I like and come out with something new that doesn't work as well, I don't like as much AND it costs more.

I have seen a decline in quality and great increase in the price of Sperry Topsiders and would love to find a replacement that has good non skid AND looks decent enough that I can wear them to a semi nice restaurant and not look like some refugee from the 60s (which I am) wearing homemade huaraches.
 

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I liked Sebago Spinnakers... but the soles are not terribly grippy..
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My search so far did not turn up anything that looks like your photo. I share your pain. Seems like a lot of the things I like, be it food items, shoes, shirts, boat bits, computer software, whatever, the manufacturers feel the need to "improve" it, discontinue the one that works and I like and come out with something new that doesn't work as well, I don't like as much AND it costs more.

I have seen a decline in quality and great increase in the price of Sperry Topsiders and would love to find a replacement that has good non skid AND looks decent enough that I can wear them to a semi nice restaurant and not look like some refugee from the 60s (which I am) wearing homemade huaraches.
Not all Sperrys are good deck shoes, only the ones with the razor cut siped soles.

My go-to summer boat shoes are Keens, but again you have to choose the right model, with the sipes cut into the soles.

When I get a new pair they start out as sailing-only shoes, then they move to going-ashore shoes, and after a couple of years they become every day wear.

I can't stand not having firm reliable grip on the decks. I guess it comes from so many years working foredeck while everyone else is sitting on their butts!



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Not all Sperrys are good deck shoes, only the ones with the razor cut siped soles.

My go-to summer boat shoes are Keens, but again you have to choose the right model, with the sipes cut into the soles.

When I get a new pair they start out as sailing-only shoes, then they move to going-ashore shoes, and after a couple of years they become every day wear.

I can't stand not having firm reliable grip on the decks. I guess it comes from so many years working foredeck while everyone else is sitting on their butts!



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Pretty much what I do. Classic Sperrys with the razer cut soles, keep them for boat shoes until the soles start to get hard and slippery then demote them to land shoes, then when they start getting too beat up demote them further to yard shoes.

But even new Sperrys don't seem to have the grip they used to.

Maybe I'm just getting older and less agile?

Nahhhh.
 

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Pretty much what I do. Classic Sperrys with the razer cut soles, keep them for boat shoes until the soles start to get hard and slippery then demote them to land shoes, then when they start getting too beat up demote them further to yard shoes.

But even new Sperrys don't seem to have the grip they used to.

Maybe I'm just getting older and less agile?

Nahhhh.
I find that when the dedicated boat shoes start to lose their grip wearing them ashore renews them a bit. I am guessing wearing a layer of rubber off exposes a fresh softer layer.

Don't forget that boat non-skid wears out too! The Olson 30 I race on has worn non-skid and even the best deck shoes don't work nearly as well as they do on my boat!

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(Why do manufactures always seem to discontinue the stuff that I like?)
I like less crowded restaurants and bars that seem to go out of business too. :)

Actually, I think there two phenoms. First, even if in demand, should the manufacturer not be able to sell them at a sufficient profit to justify the investment in production, they stop making them. Sometimes that changes, after they release a product do to either an increase in material costs, or more likely, a competitor has a close version, which restrains pricing.

The other common reason is that a patent either expired or was never granted (we've seen patent pending), which results in the same pricing problem. A discount competitor comes along with an inferior product, but much better priced, which restrains the quality product from being sold at a fair, but higher price.

I find that when the dedicated boat shoes start to lose their grip wearing them ashore renews them a bit. I am guessing wearing a layer of rubber off exposes a fresh softer layer.
That's the beginning of the end of the rubber/polymer decay. I believe they will harden just from exposure to oxygen, which must happen from the outside in. After that fall above, I toss them the moment I notice this.
 

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I really appreciate all of the good wishes and all of the boat shoes suggestions. Both are genuinely helpful the first to my bruised ego,, and the second to my search for a replacement boat shoes. I will note that I did have an almost new very grippy pair of boat shoes in the house and in my haste, didn't stop to put them on.

As I rethink everything about what happened, the single most obvious cause was a total lack of judgment on my part. I could blame a variety of causes for that lack of judgment ranging from being exhausted, distracted thinking about work, hubris about the dangers of boarding a boat in the dark carrying a silly amount of weight, a lack of basic awareness of the reality that the everything was wet, the tide was down, and that the boat was on the far side of the slip, and rushing to load the boat so I could eat dinner.

But at the heart of it, safety requires being in the moment and a full situational awareness. Whatever the excuses, whatever my rationalizations, it boils down to lack of judgment, and lack of awareness.

I hope that this lesson guides me in the future to act more safely and is of use as a reminder to all who read this tread.

Jeff
 

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Jeff,

While I have nothing new to add to the shoe conversation, I just wish to relay my well wishes to you, and thankfulness that things didn't go even worse than they did. Having taken a trip or two myself into the "drink", things could have gone very sideways. Luckily for me, it was only a bruised ego. My last MOB at the dock was on my way to church on a Sunday morning, while wearing my only pair of shoes on board. We managed to still get to church, I in clean clothes, but the sound of soggy shoes squishing all the way to the front row of a packed church was more embarrassing than the actual act of falling in the water. Glad to hear you're ok!! :)
 

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Moving about on a boat is something that changes as you get older and your sense of homeostasis declines. Not only that your muscle strength and "response" time slows as well. The decline is imperceptible. Your mind thinks and you act accordingly.... as a young top of your physical game person. Seniors may be in good health but their "machine" is old and not working at 100%. When you have a leg or lower back injury you cannot "perform" as well as when you are in top shape. We make conscious (and unconscious) compensation for our deficits. As an example... my sense of balance is not what it was and it is getting worse. Maintaining balance formerly was completely unconscious... But with compromised "balance" I have to be CONSCIOUSLY maintaining my balance. Thinking about something you never had to think about can be a problem and you can easily slip into "auto balance" mode when that mode is not working 100%. This is where shoes with good grip and life lines and hand holds become mission critical to moving about on a boat.

You don't appreciate what you had 'tii it's gone.
 

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Wow Jeff, really glad to hear you are okay! Thank you for sharing the story with us, its a reminder that we all probably could use now and then.

I also enjoyed the topic deviation into boat shoes, I've been looking for options.
 

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Sperry's classic leather boat shoes never worked for me. Much too slippery on docks and decks for my liking and very little support. I used to like their Sneaker boat shoes, would always pick up a pair at the Annapolis boat show, from Faucets. Though,I don't like what they've done to the line. So had to find another source. I just ordered two pairs of Sketchers. I also like the world wide Sportsman blue water boat shoe. I work on a boat and I'm standing most of the time, and jumping on and off the boat, so I need something solid underfoot. Though last night in the heat, I'll admit I went barefoot. ;-) I've also worn " shoes for crews" clogs, that are
great in slippery kitchens, and can be kicked off easily.
 
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