I’ve never been one to go barefoot. Ever. I wore socks in the house.
When we got the boat, I set out to find a pair of deck shoes that had good, if not great, wet AND dry grip and would last “forever”. I’ve decided after 3 different pairs from 3 different manufacturers that a good shoe does not exist. Sperry, of course, is the de facto name in boat shoes. In their effort to bolster their earnings, they’ve abandoned their original calling and now sell “casual” shoes that masquerade as boat shoes. The same thing happened to my favorite car brand, Subaru. Well, they don’t make shoes, so I suppose it’s not exactly the same thing. *sigh*
When we were at Blue Dolphin there was a sailor that had been around the world twice and visited 39 countries. I used to joke that he had been around the world 39 times and visited 2 countries. He went barefoot everywhere. The bottom of each foot was one solid callous. I once asked why he didn’t wear shoes. He answered because he didn’t need to.
I tried going barefoot at Blue Dolphin. It didn’t work so well for me. The docks were treated pine and fairly rough. It was all too easy to get a splinter in my tender feet. Add to that the parking lot was asphalt with lots of loose gravel and, well, it was just painful for me. I would go barefoot sometimes on the boat deck. A couple of stubbed toes quickly saw an end to that.
Fast forward to Harborwalk. The docks are smooth hardwood. The parking lot is concrete. On several occasions I had my Sperrys on, was working on deck, it was dry, I needed to pull on something, and my shoes had NO grip. And this was the day after I had just cleaned the entire deck. I immediately took the shoes off and miraculously I had traction. So, I’ve been going barefoot. It keeps me cooler actually and it really is less restrictive. I have stubbed my toes a couple of times, but I figure that’s better than slipping and falling overboard. The stubbed toes have made me slow down a bit and be a bit more methodical about the steps I take. Probably a good thing in the end.
So, I guess I really only need a good pair of plain rubber boots for when its really cold and wet out and maybe a pair of walking shoes.