Thursday, July 29, 2010


Sooner or later, most gondoliers realize that what they do is at least part "sport". After that realization, they start analyzing various aspects of their sport. They consider form, conditioning, equipment, and of course - gear.
Questions like "are these pants comfortable to row in?", and "how's my shoulder mobility in this shirt?" are often asked.
Sooner or later we start looking at shoes with equal enthusiasm.

I've been through all sorts of footwear during my years.

- Dress shoes look great but they don't give much support. They also don't hold up well inder the punishment of our "sport".

- Cross training shoes can be good, but are often a bit clunky for my taste. They are not always blessed with enough cushioning either.

- Running shoes are among my favorite things to wear in any activity, but most don't exactly blend in with black pants and striped shirt.

- Good looking work boots have brought me through a few serious busy periods. The clunky aspect was overshadowed by decent cushioning and superior ankle support.

- Sergio Segalin (one of Venice's few remaining “caleghèri”) makes a great pair of "Gondolier's Shoes". I published a post on the man and his shoes a few years ago and I still wear those lightweight loafers from time to time. For the easy-going rowing, I like Sergio's "Gondolier's Shoes", but for the more aggressive rowing that I seem to prefer these days, I need athletic footwear.

-I've had some good luck with low-top basketball shoes - they provide good cushioning, have moderate flexibility, and I can usually justify their appearance with some clever excuse.

A POSSIBLE ANSWER I reserve the right to come up with a better choice of rowing footwear later, but as of now, I've found a great solution to my needs with a trail-running shoe by Adidas called the Raven

I went into Roadrunner Sports a few years ago to try on some running shoes and came out a believer.
I don't want this post to turn into a commercial, but I only trust one guy with my feet these days, and he works at that store. I told him about rowing and the requirements of that activity, and ended up with a pair of trail-running shoes on as I walked out the door.

Off-road running shoes are designed with stability in mind - you never know where your foot will be planted next. They're not high-tops, but they give good support and have enough cushioning for a long stint of rowing.

Because the Raven is mostly black, I can get away with wearing them on the back of my gondola.

THE FORUM So now I'd like to hear your thoughts on footwear. What do you wear on the back of the gondola?
Each night? For special occasions?
What about for the more athletic rowing adventures?

Speak up my friends!


sasha said...

thanks for sharing this nice blog
u like Trainers Shoes?

Sean Jamieson said...


Tamás said...

> Forrest?

Yeah, he must have an informed opinion, having run accross the USA twice, shore to shore 8-)

Otherwise, what should a work boot mean, something like a Doc Martens?

Bepi Venexiano said...

Topsider boat shoes or the Westmarine version. The soles nonslip design has never let me down which is important on dark damp nights.
My feet have always loved these shoes. Broken in they are like a pair of moccasins. When I expect to be doing a lot of walking, like in Venice, I can't wear anything else.

Il Paradosso said...

I have used running shoes on occasion, but don't like the slope built into the sole. I find it makes my back hurt. I like a flat flexible shoe. I like it when I can really feel the contour of the deck and grip through the sole with my toes. I have mostly used TopSider style deck shoes. These days I use an older pair of Steve Madden black "sneakers" similar to these.|mens%20shoes|mens%20sneakers|