Plimsoll is the name given in general terms to all footwear with rubber sole and canvas upper.
In the 1890′s Dr.Samuel Plimsoll, a victorian engineer invented ‘the Plimsoll Line’. This was a system devised to control and limit the volume of goods onto ships. Many unscrupulous ship owners in this time were overloading their vessels resulting in numerous sinkings with the inevitable loss of cargo and lives. His system was a series of lines on the outside of the ship to indicate how loaded the ship was. It was extremely unpopular at the time as it meant ships were carrying less goods and therefore making less money. However the system still survives to date on many vessels and whilst Dr.Samuel Plimsoll’s reforms lead many to view him in his lifetime with disdain he is now commemorated with a bronze statue on the embankment of the Thames for his services to furthering the safety of shipping across the globe.
In the 1920′s when footwear companies first starting making rubber soled footwear ,with canvas uppers, people started calling this type of footwear ‘Plimsolls’ because of the resemblance of the upper edge of the rubber on the canvas to the plimsoll line on a ship. The name has been used across the world ever since, and brings back memories, to many school children, ranging from nostalgic to sheer dread,of cold winter days,wearing nothing but an airtex vest, polyester shorts and flimsy plimsolls, doing weekly physical exercise classes in a freezing cold gym!
The name aside, our take on Plimsoll was originally made in a factory just outside Budapest in Hungary, and is based on a shoe they have made there for over fifty years and was originally an exercise shoe for the soviet military. We have since moved production with the very same mold design to the far east for a clean looking version of the original. This gives our Plimsoll a vintage ‘old school’ feel.
Classic and very modern! ”Decon” Navy Summer Plimsoll With Slim Light Weight Sole. Available here.