The snow is melting (kind of) and spring is around the corner (almost). Whether you’re nestled in the snowed trapped American Northeast, or living in the great white north like myself, we are all just waiting for this frigid and numbing season to end. Personally I am just sick of lugging around my heavy down coat and dragging my wet and slushy boots indoors. I’m just waiting to be able to throw on an oxford collar button down and some chino shorts and I’m good to go.
A major part of springtime and summer apparel is your choice of footwear. Shoes can be your greatest accessory and can accent and define any outfit. Finding footwear that is fashionable, comfortable and affordable is challenging in any season, but the pressure is on in warmer months. Feet swell when we spend more time outdoors – even if it is just to go for lunch or a walk during the workday. And in today’s casual environment it is almost expected that we will have bare legs with more revealing shoes, making the right footwear choices even more important.
In recent years the classic nautical boat-shoe has made its comeback since Paul Sperry popularized the footwear in the early 1930s. These leather crafted shoes have become the pinnacle in preppy college footwear. Throw on a pair of tan Sperry’s without socks and congratulations, you now look like 9/10 guys this summer.
Here at Nerve Spark, we are all about what’s new and what’s in fashion, while maintaining some sense of uniqueness. It’s the little differences that make one stand out from the masses as a fashion icon. That’s why we have a solution for those that love their Sperry’s but want a more grown-up and stylish alternative to the classic boater. We present to you, the camp moccasin. Also known as the ‘Camp Moc’ or ‘Canoe Shoe’ this boater spin off reinvents the shoe while maintaining some of the boaters’ beloved features.
The camp moc was first popularized by L.L. Bean during the days when you could still guarantee people would actually be wearing them around the campsite. Leon Leonwood Bean (hence L.L. Bean) had the idea in 1936 to design a shoe that resembled traditional Native American moccasin sewing techniques. The design that he invented featured a hand sewn upper, adjustable top laces, and a flexible rubber sole. The shoe was dubbed the “Camp Moc” and instantly became renowned for it’s comfort – especially out in the wilderness, a veritable playground for most of Bean’s customers.
While other prep staples from the era eventually hit their stride and were adopted by the masses, the camp moc never really made to the big leagues, always staying a bit off the radar. That is, until recent years when a few small, independent shoe brands started popping up throughout the country breathing new life into hand-sewn production. The mocs have been reinvented for use off the campsite. Companies like Quoddy and Oak Street Bootmakers offer high end, handmade versions, suitable for casual summer nights to days in the city, intertwining both fashion and comfort. You can even wear them year-round, just pair the shoes with some thick woolen rag socks and you’re set.
However, $250 might be a bit steep for a simple pair of modernized moccasins but don’t fret yet, L.L. Bean still proudly offers their original camp moc for a sweet price of around $80. Not to mention the stellar collaboration between one of our favourite companies J.Crew and Sperry (I guess they were getting sick of their own boaters) for just over $100.
Be different this summer and don’t blend in with all of those preppy college students roaming the city, enjoying the warm weather. Toss those old boaters, show a little ankle, and rock some mocs and we guarantee you that you’ll set the trend amongst your friends. Consider camp mocs 2014’s boat shoe – only everyone in the world doesn’t own them yet so you can still act like you’re ahead of the curve.