What would pinnacle performance sailing footwear look like, if sailing was a sport as popular as basketball or running, with as many dedicated designers and resources? Since the introduction of the incredible BMW Oracle BOR 90 in the last 33rd Americas cup, I have wondered if the footwear worn by its sailing team was advanced in innovation and performance like the boat?
Understandably designing footwear to come close to the technical sophistication of the BOR 90 would be a huge task for any footwear company, especially considering that BMW and Oracle spent over $200 million to develop, build and race the BOR 90. The most striking innovation of the BOR 90 is probably a unique wing sail design that is 68m tall, as much as 20 stories.
The wing sail is similar to that of an aircraft, the rear part of the the sail is made from 9 flaps and each can be trimmed separately for maximum performance.
I like the structural spirit bow/bow strut which is also rigged the bottom of the hull, to hold the equally giant headsail. The BOR 90 is so high performing that it can sail on one ‘wave piercing’ hull even without headsail.
Here are two good short movies about the BOR 90. Be sure to watch them in Full-Screen.
The official racing footwear for team BMW Oracle is by SLAM an Italian sailing apparel brand. The shoe is called Code 1, the same term used to describe a sail used for light air reaching.
SLAM claims that the sole is split into multiple sections and the decoupled heel feature called ‘Balance Control’ allows the sole to adapt to any type of surface and incline It also “reduces stress on the ankle by allowing for prefect alignment and improved posture”. The synthetic upper allows quicker drying than leather.
Other technical sailing boat shoes are made by Sperry Top-Sider. The Ventus features drainage holes in the sole.
The Sea Racer Grip X3 has a molded upper providing improved grim when climbing and trimming.