Shoes and Sailing
High-quality sailing clothes is an important part of your sailing equipment. The main purpose of sailing clothes and footwear is to keep you dry in situations with a lot of wind, spray and splash. The body loses less energy when dry, so the clothes and footwear that keep you dry help you to stay warm too. All of this makes perfect sense. However, waterproof materials have turned to be counterproductive. They do not allow water to penetrate your body, but they also prevent sweat from leaving your body. This is why you get wet anyway.
As a result, a new system has been designed. The modern cutting-edge materials do not allow wind and water to find their way to your skin, but they simultaneously release the redundant moisture from the interior of your sailing suits. The effectiveness of this system has been proven with storm suits, which are produced by all leading sailing-clothes manufacturers.
But how can we keep the feet dry too? We usually wear different kinds of sailing boots. They prevent our legs from getting splashed and they keep our feet more or less warm. But is it really possible to keep the feet completely dry while sailing high seas? Many sailors would say “no”, so they always suggest having spare pairs of socks. I agree with them completely. Others would rely on rather expensive breathable socks and sailing boots, but again with disputable results.
There is another possible solution. The British footwear manufacturer Chatham presented their Aqua-Go Mist G2 Performance Sailing Shoes on the recently held METS – Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. These shoes are made of fast-drying materials and include drainage holes in the midsole. The upper part of the shoe is made with 3 ply mesh and a woven lining close to the skin for comfort and temperature control. The open-cell mid-layer increases the air flow between the materials, maintaining the temperature and ventilating your feet while sailing. On the other hand, strategically placed drainage holes allow water to disperse from the shoe in under ten seconds. This is very good news because your feet will not get soaked. However, I doubt that they will stay dry. The phylon compound offers maximum flexibility and cushioning, while the outsole is made from rubber latex for supreme traction in wet or dry conditions.
The combination of Chatham shoes and the socks made by DexShell might prove very effective. This manufacturer of water- and windproof hats, gloves and socks also displayed their products at METS. To prove their quality, they put a presenter wearing waterproof socks into a small pool filled with water. The girl was standing in the water for hours smiling all the time so either she was well-practiced (and well-paid) or the socks she wore were really waterproof.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!