Scott likes to sail naked. No, don’t worry, it isn’t what you think! It’s just his feet that are naked, not the rest of him. Phew! You can rest easy. If you’re sharing an anchorage with us, Scott will have clothes on. They might be tattered and stained, but they’ll keep him covered. I just like that phrase “sailing naked” – I read it in this great post by Commuter Cruiser about what they wear and don’t wear on their feet when sailing. And, you have to admit, it does make for a catchy blog post title. If I had called this post “sailing barefoot”, you would have probably yawned and moved onto a blog with pictures of cute kittens instead.
Nobody bats an eye when Scott sails barefoot in New Zealand. But, then again, shoes seem to be kind of optional for Kiwis. Unlike in the States where the law is “no shirt, no shoes, no service”, you can wander down the sidewalk and pop into any shop in New Zealand and they’ll happily serve you. When Scott sails barefoot in Scotland, folks think he is a little strange. But that probably has more to do with how cold it is in Scotland, even during the summer. Most folks there seem to wear shoes or sailing boots to keep their tootsies warm. For some reason, Scott’s feet never seem to get cold. Maybe it is Scandinavian heritage? Recently, Scott has been sailing in Idaho – barefoot, of course. People look at him like he is nuts. Of course, there is an advantage to not wearing shoes – you’re less likely to experience stinky boat shoe syndrome. If you are afflicted with this nasty problem, check out some of the tips from The Unlikely Boat Builder.
I’m the opposite of Scott (in more ways than one, but that’s an entirely different blog post!). My feet often get cold and I’m constantly bumping into something and banging my toes, so when I’m sailing, I wear my trusty Lil Grippers. They’re dead brilliant. Made out of wetsuit material, they keep your feet relatively warm, even when they’re wet. And the grippy soles help you keep your grip. Best of all, they have adorable octopuses (octopi?) on them. Kittens might be be slightly more adorable, but the octopuses are pretty darn cute too.
The Lil Grippers were good for cruising in New Zealand as it never got too terribly cold, but there were a few days (and nights) where I would have been thrilled to have a pair of Dubarry boots. They’re super expensive, but I’ve heard such good things about them. Check out what Viki has to say about them on Astrolabe Sailing.
What do you wear when you’re out sailing? Have you tried any of the shoes that Kevin reviewed at Sail Far Live Free? Or is there something else you wear that you’d recommend?