The Helly Hansen Skagen F1 Offshore is a dynamic, comfortable shoe with contemporary styling.
On a recent summer afternoon I was headed home from a day of striped bass fishing on Long Island Sound. My mind was clear and I felt alive in the sunburned, windswept way that usually means it was a good day. It wasn’t until I arrived home and took off my shoes that I realized my feet didn’t hurt. For most people, that wouldn’t be a revelation. But usually after a full day on my feet, taking off my shoes is the only thing on my mind.
The Helly Hansen Skagen F1 Offshore shoes ($130) are built for sailing, but they perform just as well on the decks of their diesel-powered brethren. The non-marking, grippy outsole is more substantial than a regular boat shoe, and the lace-up design gives them a more rugged feel.
It seems Helly Hansen has taken a page from the book of ultra runners and incorporated a wide toe box that gives the shoe a more natural fit. The Skagens felt a little narrow through the middle, but I appreciated having snug feet without pinched toes.
My favorite aspect of this shoe is the blend of breathability and durability. The mesh upper kept my feet cool and dry, and the HellyWear overlays—a high-abrasion, lightweight synthetic developed by the 142 year-old Norwegian company—on the toe and mid-section provided a barrier for my piggies, should I go knocking into the cleats on the dock or the hardware on the boat.
They’re not waterproof—you trade that for breathability—but the water-repellent finish dispenses spray and wayward rain drops. After full submersion on a hot summer day, the outside of the shoes dried in about 15 minutes, but the inside was still wet after more than an hour. I imagine they’d dry faster with the insoles removed, as that component stayed waterlogged longest.
Muted and vibrant color options provide something for every-one. As classic as a boat shoe is, there’s something to be said for a more athletic shoe that fits like a sneaker and won’t slip off during a dash down the dock or onto the foredeck. They’re technical enough for boating, stylish enough for a trip into town and comfy enough to wear all day. What’s not to love?