On the one hand, I can fake it again with a pair of black walking shoes. On the other hand, jaylake recently posted a link to a photo of sailors aboard the USS Oregon in 1897, and, wonder of wonders, you could actually SEE one of the "half boots" (I'm operating on the assumption that the US and British sailors' uniforms would likely have similar shoes, as everyone was copying everyone else).
A search of various and sundry establishments yielded nothing very close to this, but the suggestion from two different helpful salespeople to try the factory outlets in Gilroy, as similar styles were popular two years ago. (There's nothing old that isn't new again, at least until it goes out of fashion another time...)
If any of you in LJ-land have spotted something like this recently (I wear a men's 7.5 or women's 9, European size 40.5), let me know.
We leave for Milwaukee the night of May 5, so I have to have them in hand by then.