Plunge Water Shoe

One of the latest models from outfitter Timberland, these deck shoes are innovative, but only time will determine if they're made well enough to last.

Plunge Water Shoe

Our last wholesale evaluation of boating shoes was published in the Oct. 15, ’98 issue. More recently, we evaluated newcomers to the market in a brief presentation of four models in the August 15, ’01 issue. Given how frequently new boat shoes are introduced to the market, PS is due for another large-scale test of sailing footwear. In the meantime, we call readers’ attention to a new shoe from Timberland, the Stratham, NH-based company known for rugged outdoor wear (boots mostly) and accessories.

It’s true, boating shoes look less and less conventional these days, and Timberland’s Plunge Water Shoes certainly fit that description. This shoe is essentially a nylon mesh upper glued and stitched to a non-marking rubber sole. The ankle and the sole both have foam padding for comfort. The upper is reinforced by woven nylon and synthetic leather straps that are sewn into the sole. The nylon straps form the eyelets for the “laces,” which are actually one continuous bungy cinched by a spring-loaded clip. There’s also a small plastic clip to help tuck away the unused portion of the laces, which is nice. Except for its reinforced areas, the mesh upper is all one piece, including the tongue.

We purchased these shoes at our local Boaters World ($69) and found some of the stitching inside one shoe to be loose, causing us to question how long the shoe might last.

The Plunge Shoes feature Timberland’s trademarked BSFP system, which stands for “braking,” “supporting” “flexing,” and “propelling.” The system is designed to promote improved traction and longer wearing, we’re not sure how. These shoes are certainly comfortable to wear, and the grip on deck is good, but how long they’ll last we can’t say. We’ll report back in a few months.


Contact – Timberland, 888/902-9947,

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at