Arrgh, cap'n! Thar be a boat-shoe-y issue amidships
January 13, 2008 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Are Rivers' boat shoes any good?

I'm thinking of getting a pair of these. Partly because I enjoy looking like a 50 year old man, and partly because I want to wear shoes without socks, dammit.

Does anyone have any advice/experience on/with Rivers' shoes, or products generally?

As a subset question, what's the best way to stop them getting all gross and funky and sweaty? Inserts? Powder? Unlike my cons, I don't imagine I can just throw leather shoes in the wash when they get smelly.
posted by oxford blue to Shopping (10 answers total)
My family has been using Sperry Top-Siders on our boats for decades. They last damn long, and we haven't had any problem with them smelling. We never use anything on them, except for some saddle soap occasionally.
posted by nursegracer at 6:58 PM on January 13, 2008

I have to tell you, I've had bad experiences with Rivers shoes in the past - the last two pairs I bought from them pretty much fell apart within two months. The caveats are that I live in a very humid, mouldy place and do a lot of work outdoors, and that the shoes I bought were both of the "sandal" variety, rather than those possibly better-made boat shoes.

My experience with other Rivers products (shirts, pants etc.) has generally been much more positive.
posted by Jimbob at 7:00 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: Where you able to return and replace them Jimbob?
posted by oxford blue at 7:17 PM on January 13, 2008

I have had mixed experience with Rivers shoes. I had a pair of hiking boots from there which were fabulous. I'm sure they would be no good at all for actual hiking but they were solid and sturdy and lasted a long time. I've had two pairs of runners from there; one pair were very comfortable, not designed for actual athletics obviously but comfy and lasted ages. The second pair (a different style of runner) didn't last long at all before the lining wore thin in the heel part and the hard plastic began poking through and causing pain. I've never found any of their leather shoes which both looked great AND were suitable for my wide feet, so can't report there.

As for stopping them getting funky, that's an eternal struggle. I've never found anything works as well as wearing some kind of sock. Sorry :) I'd suggest inserts would be more useful than powder.
posted by andraste at 7:24 PM on January 13, 2008

Well, in both cases oxford blue, I didn't keep the receipts, but I understand they do have some kind of 12-month replacement guarantee that I should have taken advantage of. Personally, I'm going to go back to Doc Martins...
posted by Jimbob at 7:26 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: Ah, my kingdom for a Doc (or perhaps Dock) Martins boat shoe!
posted by oxford blue at 7:37 PM on January 13, 2008

Having watched pair after pair of my father's Rivers boat shoes fall apart at the seams, I can reasonably confidently tell you that they are dreadful. They're shit. My father doesn't put them through anything more rigourous than a forty-five minute walk each day and they last maybe six months, tops. So you can be like my dad and keep buying a new pair every few months or you can buy a pair of actual boat shoes (something like a Sperry top-sider) which look better and, because they're built to take a lot of punishment, will last much longer. You'll be paying more of course - maybe up to four times as much as the Rivers, but I'm certain a pair of Sperrys will give you at least four times the wear.
posted by bunglin jones at 8:29 PM on January 13, 2008

I know I'm moving slightly off topic, but I bought a pair of brand new Sperrys for $50 or so on Ebay. There's a water-equipment company that sells them there. I haven't worn them enough to speak to their relative quality, but they aren't too expensive.
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:56 PM on January 13, 2008

I used to wear Rivers shoes a lot, but it seemed to me that the quality has gone downhill a lot, with the shoes wearing out rapidly. Of less importance (for boat shoes) is that they didn't seem to give any support or shock absorption, which contributed to their early demise. The main advantage of Rivers now is that they're cheap.
posted by outlier at 2:14 AM on January 14, 2008

Sperry top siders are the docs of boat shoes. My dad has had the same pair for as long as I can remember..
posted by mike_bling at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2008

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