19 May 2023

Aye-aye captain! Is the Aimé Leon Dore boat shoe this summer’s hottest must-have?

The New York-based brand has teamed up with Timberland as part of their SS23 lookbook.

The boat shoe is a preppy dad-style staple, and seeing as dad sneakers have whipped fashion into a frenzy, maybe it’s time to give the high-sea footwear a go this summer. Say Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl got his own spin-off and hit the high seas: that’s this summer’s vibe.

This season, luxury brand Aimé Leon Dore (ALD) is introducing a whole new boat shoe in collaboration with Timberland. The brand first teased the highly-anticipated shoe in their SS23 lookbook with colours ‘Grape Leaf’, ‘Sleek White’, and ‘Classic Black’. 

Timberland has its classic silhouette stamped on the design, with all the elements from eyelets to soles. However, ALD brings a high-quality ethos and inherently traditional approach to the partnership, creating a shoe that will be high on everyone’s summer must-have list for those days at the beach or… punting in Oxford. 

Timberland has previously ventured into the boat shoe collab world (admittedly a very niche world) with A-COLD-WALL last September. The shoe was a gorp-core showcase with GORE-TEX across the upper and a mega chunky sole. The deep navy blue with black accents and silver-grey colorways were based more on the traditional design of a climbing shoe, and the reinterpretation was highly sought after upon release. 

Timberland, though, has got the boat shoe silhouette down to a T. The rubber-soled shoe was originally made for wet conditions, for example, a slippery boat deck, but they are heavily favoured in fashion for their swarve design – the only private school aesthetic we’ll allow, to be honest. The 3-eyed design first hit the Timberland brand in 1978 with a leather upper and boot lug outsole taken from The Original Timberland Boot. 

This time around, almost half a century later, the footwear brand’s move to team up with hype fave Aimé Leon Dore may tip the nautical shoe revival. ALD’s previous partnerships, including with New Balance 550 and Clarks Wallabees were fan faves, and both brands’ collaboration histories mean this boat shoe will be a rarity for fashion fans.

  • Writer Ella Chadwick
  • Banner Image Credit Instagram @aimeleondore

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