The Tommy Hilfiger brand is synonymous with style, quality, and a little bit of posh. Designed with a sort of cross between Cape Cod and the Hamptons, diehard fans look no further when they want to feel tailored, polished, and taken care of. While you might more immediately think of their more sporty bent, their deck and boat shoes have a dedicated fan base.
People who sail or motor boat need deck shoes for their non-slip, non-marking soles. They also want solid, high quality materials–most often leather or quality canvas.
They need to be breathable, comfort, and preferably water resistant. Or at the very least, quick drying.
But the boat shoe has become a favorite for a broader swath of the population than those who spend a lot of time on boats. They’re fashionable and functional on their own, they look great whether you’re spending time with friends on the weekends, going out to dinner, running errands, or going to work.
They’re versatile and can be dressed up or down. They’ve really become a stable in most men’s closets.
The Tommy Hilfiger Bowman is made of high quality leather and a padded insole. They have a rubber, non-marking sole, textured for added traction, especially against wet surfaces. It features the classic 360 lacing around the entire collar and stitching about the toe. The laces are constructed of contrasting rawhide.
They are breathable and keep your feet cool with or without socks. They’re well made and outlast many competitors, standing up to wear, peeling, cracking, or separating. They’re comfortable and versatile.
Construction. These are well made and stand up to wear and tear better than the Sperry Top Sider. The insoles are attached well and don’t separate from the bottom as is a common complaint against Sperry. Price. These will run you about forty-five dollars, making them a great value for the look, durability, and quality. Looks. People who want the classic look and styling give the Bowman high marks for attractiveness.
Some wearers have noted that the stitching around the tongue can come loose over time, but these occurrences have proven very rare. While the rubberized, textured sole is good for wet surfaces, there are better traction shoes out there, so if you are safety coverage in more extreme conditions, they wouldn’t fit the bill.
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This is the iconic in its class and the one that comes to mind for most people. One of the biggest arguments against is the stiffness of the leather. They take quite a while to break in, and once they are, they are relatively comfortable, but many can’t stand the wait.
A resounding complaint is that they aren’t particularly well made and the insoles separate from the shoe rather quickly. Sizing is often complained about, as they have been reported to run either narrower or wider than advertised, even for those who special order a narrow or wide width.
Kenneth Cole Anchor Shot 6T
This is a sporty competitor, and one that comes in roughly the same price point. If you like the traditional leather and rawhide style and design, you can mark these off your list.
But if you are open to flexibility in the material, you might check these out. The textile fabric makes for a breathable shoe, but they won’t hold up as well when wet or last as long.
They get relatively high marks for comfort, but have so far been known to fall short on quality. Not lasting nearly as long or holding up as well as the Bowman, this is more appealing for someone who’s looking for something a little outside the box and who specifically doesn’t want leather.
Timberland Two-Eyed Boat
A great option for those looking for classic styling, this shoe looks good but will cost you more than the Tommy Bowman. Running from around 60 to nearly 135 dollars, you need to shell out a bit more dough for the Timberland. The construction is sound and the quality is high, but not enough to warrant the extra cash.
Appealing to those who want to make a bit of a (pardon the pun) splash, these give you many color options. Thirty-seven to be exact. There’s more flare with the contrasting stitching dual colored uppers.
The quality is fair, and they have a loyal following. You’ll pay about the same as you will for the Bowman. The biggest complaint for these is the comfort level. There is minimal to no arch support, so unless you have healthy feet and can do without much cushion or support, or just don’t wear them for long periods, you won’t find them on par.
John Varvados Schooner
This is a very handsome shoe, but much more trendy than classic.
You won’t find someone looking for a traditional shoe in this one, and while it’s not an obvious one-to-one comparison to the Bowman, it’s worth mentioning for anyone who wants to survey the broader field. The design is more modern and geared to the youngish set, with its laceless upper and less conventional appearance. Another big difference is the price, as you’ll put down a pretty penny for these, at between one and two hundred dollars a pair. They are also repeatedly reported to squeak, which is an odd and very unappealing drawback.
Sanuk Casa Barco
Another player in the non-traditional space is Sanuk with the Casa Barco. These are known as sandal-shoe hybrids, and they have a loyal following.
The most popular of their styles is the slip-on, but they’ve entered the competitive space with this latest design. As far as looks, it comes close, though made of canvas and not leather. They’re very reasonably priced at around fifty dollars. They run a bit low in the ankle however, and provide no arch support, so they rank very low for comfort and support comparatively.
If you’re looking for comfort, quality, and a traditional look, the Tommy Hilfiger Bowman boat shoe should top your list. A name you can trust, known for great looks and high quality, and at an appealing price point you’ll be hard pressed to find a worthy opponent. They’ll hold up to weather and wet surfaces, support your arches, and stand the test of time. Whether you prefer a boat shoe for your everyday casual wardrobe, or you are a boater who needs traction, support, and shoes with skid-free soles, you’ll be more than happy in these and might find yourself a repeat customer.