Start talking about going on holiday, and a trip to the beach on a remote island comes to mind. There’s something about being near water that’s equivalent to watching cat videos on YouTube: It lets you forget about your worries and just enjoy the moment. It’s got therapeutic properties that not even those of the retail variety can equal. But have you ever wondered why?
Scientists hypothesize evolution as a primary reason as to why we as a species have always found water captivating. There’s a theory that we’re not just descended from primates, but those that left the woods and headed to the beach. There, those apes munched on all manner of seafood rich in Omega 3s that eventually developed their brains into what we have now.
Another reason we seek it so much is that being in, under or near water gives our brains a break from overstimulation. Analogous to how we have certain cravings because our body needs whatever is in that food to remedy some internal physiological deficiency, the bombardment of the senses that we endure on a daily basis leads to our pathological desire to turn everything off and indulge in some sensory deprivation by the beach.
It’s not dead quiet, yes, but given the hyper-social, corporate-run world we live in now, the soothing views and sounds we get on the beach allow us to clear our minds and get into a meditative state.
Now a little bit of trivia to make this post relevant to fashion!
Did you know how boat shoes (you know, because we're talking about water?) came about? Mainly used by sailors and mariners who spent a lot of time on boats, this shoe style was designed to help them maintain a consistent grip on slippery decks. The secret was in the sole, which featured a siping pattern similar to what you can see on rubber tires, to improve traction in wet conditions.
The upper was made of water-repellent leather with durable stitching. The moc-toe design itself was simply an aesthetic choice by Paul Sperry (of Sperry Top-Sider fame), and that stuck. Technically, any shoe with a waterproof upper and grippy soles can be worn as a boat shoe, at least functionally, but where's the fun in that?