The men’s deck shoe: a classic design? Also known as boat shoes, the history of deck shoes goes back to the 1930s. The origin of these shoes is often associated with Paul A. Sperry, an American sailor and yachtsman.

This type of shoe has earned a special place in the world of fashion and casual style. Paraboot stands out from other iconic shoe brands with its choice of materials and the quality of its craftsmanship.

The history of the deck shoe

Legend has it that Sperry was inspired by the non-slip pads on his dog’s paws. Having watched how his pet’s paws appeared to provide exceptional grip on slippery surfaces, he had a brainwave; to design a similar shoe sole to avoid slipping on the deck of a boat.

Paul Sperry experimented with different ideas to create non-slip soles. In the end, he took his inspiration from a pair of sheepskin shoes, adding V-shaped notches on the sole. These notches provided excellent traction on damp and slippery surfaces – and so the men’s deck shoe with a non-slip sole was born.

Since then, deck shoes have become a classic design in nautical, casual fashion.
As well as being popular with customers due to their practical, functional aspect on boats, their casual, timeless look means that they have become the ultimate versatile shoes for any occasion.

From the sailing world to Parisian pavements: the history of the deck shoe

Initially designed for sailors, deck shoes have gradually become a classic design in any casual wardrobe.

Whether it’s for a trip into town, a casual get-together or a day spent at sea, deck shoes have come to symbolise smart casual styling.

This model is perfect for anyone who appreciates comfort without compromising on style.

Their unique design means they can be teamed with linen shorts or trousers, for example. Many customers wear this type of shoe to create their own style.

Paraboot’s version of the men’s deck shoe

Ever since its inception, the brand’s aim has always been to offer an extensive range of shoes to suit all occasions. And to cater for its seafaring customers, Paraboot developed its own model named Barth.

This model features Blake stitching, a technique inspired by the stitching found on Native American mocassins and used by Paraboot since the late 1960s.

Also known as the sewn-through process, this technique makes shoes more supple and lightweight.

Blake stitching is unfortunately no longer practised in our workshops, as certain skills no longer exist in France. Keen to continue offering this model, Paraboot has entrusted its long-standing Spanish partner with the manufacturing process, ensuring reliable, high-quality craftsmanship.

Smooth leather, grained leather or even suede; if you are looking for deck shoes, the Barth model comes in a variety of colours and materials each year. The black, brown and white colours are the most popular. But the most famous and timeless version remains the one made from smooth américa leather, a locally tanned full-grain Spanish calfskin leather.

The durability and stylish finish of these shoes is largely due to the quality of the materials used. It is important to note that Paraboot pays particular attention to selecting the very best leather and rubber for its linings and insoles as well as its rubber soles. Whilst they all have different qualities, they are all selected with the same high standards.

As a result, Paraboot has won over water sport professionals, who also wear the brand’s deck shoes. For example, our men’s deck shoes have been worn with pride for several years now by crew members on Ponant luxury cruises.

What style looks best with deck shoes?

Deck shoes are really easy to wear during the week as well as at the weekend, creating a smart casual feel.  With their distinctive nautical look, men’s deck shoes look great with informal, summery outfits.

For a classic vibe, you can team them with chino trousers or linen shorts, along with a shirt or a fitted polo shirt.

Nautical colours are a firm favourite to complete the look. A linen jacket or a lightweight sweater may also be added for an extra touch of style on chillier days.

In summary, deck shoes create a casual style that’s reminiscent of relaxing by the seaside on sunny days.

Caring for your deck shoes

Each pair of Paraboot deck shoes is made from high-quality raw materials by artisans demonstrating exceptional expertise.

To extend the lifespan of your shoes, follow our care advice based on how often you wear them.

Smooth and grained leathers

1. Remove dust from the leather using a polishing brush.

2. Apply an even coating of cleaning cream to the shoe, using a soft cloth. Leave for a few minutes.

3. Place a little shoe polish on a clean cloth and apply to the leather using a circular motion.

4. Brush the leather using a soft polishing brush.

5. Buff with the mitt provided.


1. Remove dust from the leather using a polishing brush.

2. Clean away any dirty marks using a nubuck eraser.

3. For nubuck, spray essential oil from a distance of 20cm across the entire shoe, then leave to soak in. For suede, lift the nap using a scraper brush.

4. Occasionally apply an even coating of waterproofing spray. Allow to soak in.

If your shoes come into contact with sea water, rinse them in clean water. Allow to air dry, placing a few sheets of newspaper inside. This will help them retain their original shape. Feel free to contact our customer service department for any general questions on caring for your shoes.

Paraboot men’s deck shoes, and the Barth model in particular, embody the perfect blend of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary styling. With its rich heritage, exceptional quality and a timeless design, Paraboot continues to appeal to fashion fans all over the world.

By adding a pair of Barth shoes to your collection, you are investing in style, comfort and durability. To wear on dry land or out at sea, Paraboot’s shoes stay true to the brand’s authentic styling and expertise.