Maine made, ocean tough is the motto behind upcycled bag company Rugged SeasThe ethos of making durable apparel that can withstand even the toughest working conditions reminded us our own mission and heritage with which we started making shoes for tradesmen on the coast of Denmark over a century ago. 

Rugged Seas was inspired by Taylor's connection to the working waterfront as a commercial fisherman. They design totes, wallets and hats (and more!) made from recycled fishermen's bibs. Most importantly, their company serves to raise awareness about the challenges facing commercial fishermen and the working waterfront today.

"We thought if we could design and make products from the materials fishermen depend on daily, our bags and clutches would be telling that fisherman's story. In turn, we donate a portion of all of our proceeds to the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association and the Maine Lobsterman's Association."

As a former nurse and now a full-time designer/business owner, Nikki knows all about the importance of good shoes for long days on her feet. She also told us that clogs are a must-have for local lobstermen, who swear by Sanita's comfort for long days at the dock and on the sea.

We were very curious, so we visited her and lobsterman Paul Fischer on the docks in Portland to see our clogs in action.

What’s your name & where do you live?

Nikki Strout, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

How does Maine inspire your work with Rugged Seas?

We grew up in Maine, Maine is an iconic fishing state. People come here from all over the world to experience part of our heritage, and we feel very strongly a huge part of that heritage is fishing. We are working to showcase this industry and preserve it.

Is comfort and functionality important in your Rugged Seas designs?

Absolutely, we knew that by using recycled fishing bibs our products would be very durable and water resistant. We also try and choose the right materials for our apparel to keep fishermen in mind. (for example, heavyweight hoodies to stay warm and dry while at sea.)

When I first got my Sanita clogs I was impressed with how well designed they were and really could go with anything.

You know nursing and the world of commercial fishing - why is good footwear important in both fields?

Working in the OR for sometimes 6 hours straight, your arches hurt, your knees and back start to hurt. When you're out fishing, for whatever species it may be, there is no sitting down. It starts to take a toll on your body. Being a nurse practitioner in orthopedics and knowing the importance of arch support and how it can affect body mechanics, it all starts with a well made shoe.

Tell me about your first impression when you started wearing your Sanita clogs & have they made an impact in your day?

When I first got my Sanita clogs I was impressed with how well designed they were and really could go with anything. I put them on right away and actually vacuumed my house in them because they were just so comfortable.

What do you like about your clog in particular?

The inside sole of the clog is padded, which is very comfortable on your heel and arch.

What’s your name?

Paul Eric Fischer

Why do you wear clogs and how long have you been wearing them?

I have been wearing clogs for 30 odd years. With clogs there are no shoe laces to tie. I have a pair of black ones for dress, brown ones for work. Clogs are a timeless design; they are always in fashion.

What makes your Sanita clogs so perfectly suited for your work?

Clogs easily slip on and off, and the soles are thick, especially when you are stepping on all kinds of things that could penetrate the sole. Soles are flexible enough to grip the deck. Salt, water, & bait juice repel off.

Clogs are a timeless design; they are always in fashion.


How do your Sanita clogs compare to other clog brands that you've worn before?

The leather on these are treated so fluids roll off; [with other brands], the leather stains. The sole of these cushions your step. Right out of the box, they fit like a glove. There was no break in period.

What's the most fun part of being a lobsterman in Maine?

Each day is a new adventure, you never know what will happen during the day. The thrill of the hunt. And the love of the ocean.

What's the biggest challenge?

Preserving the fishery for future generations.

What would you say to a young person who's interested in making commercial fishing a career?

When I started lobstering my grandfather who was a commercial gillnetter, said to me that he couldn't imagine how we would make it lobstering. With all of the change he had seen in his life time on the water, he thought the future of fishing looked grim for us. With a lot of hard work, persistence, an open mind to new thoughts, old thoughts and everything in between, if it is your passion, you'll make it work. With that being said, a good education is the first step. Always follow your dream.

Each day is a new adventure, you never know what will happen

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