The Sebago Portland Tumbled is a twist on the US shoe brand’s classic deck shoe but does it live up to the much loved original? We put a pair to the test to find out
Sebago Portland leather deck shoes have been loved by generations of sailors, made to be long-lasting from leather conditioned with oils and waxes to withstand the rigours of the harsh marine environment.
The Portland range is available in all leather or a combination of suede and leather and promises to be the ‘perfect nautical footwear’ – quite a claim.
Our tester has spent the last few months wearing the all leather, hand stitched Portland Tumbled, which has a soft, semi-sheen finish due to the technique of spinning the leather with small stones to loosen the fibres, which brings out the leather’s natural grain.
Despite dunkings in rain and sea water, the brown leather shows little signs of discolouration.
The soft leather of the shoe made them comfy to wear right out of the box, even without socks. The only slight annoyance was the initial squeak every time you took a step, which seems to be a feature of most new deck shoes although this soon disappeared after a good week of wear.
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The Sebago Portland Tumbled have leather lined insoles. Our tester generally wore them without socks and found the leather lining well padded and, unlike textile linings found in deck trainers, there were no concerns about odour.
After a month of wear, the lining moulded nicely to his feet, although the insole only covers two-thirds of the shoe. This means your toes and the balls of your feet are on raw, unpadded leather.
The tester found this actually improved the fit of the shoe, making them feel more secure, although initially there was a bit of rub on the balls of his feet, something to be expected with all new shoes.
The white rawhide laces stayed done up so there was no fear of the shoe coming off.
Tested on wet pontoons and the wet deck of a Hillyard, the non-marking antislip siped rubber soles gave solid grip, firmly planting the tester on the deck in all weathers.
The narrow tread also meant the shoes could be worn straight from land to deck without the worry of gravel scratching the teak or gelcoat.
The Sebago Portland Tumbled will certainly make our best boat shoes list.
Sebago Portland Tumbled
Available in sizes 6-12.5
Colours: Green Forest with brown laces or Brown with white laces
Source: Yachting Monthly