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Do you like to go barefoot on the boat? We also like it because it is comfortable, but when we do, our feet are more exposed to burns and wounds. That’s where the best sailing shoes come into play, which are as functional as it is stylish.

It is very important to take care of your feet when you are on the boat and that is why we recommend you to wear one of the best sailing shoes.

Best Sailing Shoes

The best sailing shoes are comfortable, snug, slip-resistant, waterproof, dry quickly and last but not least, they must be able to stand up to the marine elements. Therefore, in order to keep your feet in good shape, it would be good to always look for the best quality, even if you have to pay a higher price.

When choosing a pair of sailing shoes, there are several things to consider. To help you make the best decision, we’ve listed the best sailing shoes.

A good pair of sailing shoes will give you the protection you need when you cross the winds of the sea. Here are the reviews of the best rated shoes for sailing.

1. KEEN Newport H2 Sandal Water Shoe

These sailing sandals are very comfortable and are ideal for sailing, hiking, walking or fishing.

Designed to protect your feet and give you comfort you deserve, these sailing sandals are a great choice. They have a great sole and are good on slick watery surfaces.

Check it out also the Women’s KEEN Newport H2 Sandal.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Great for sailing trips and water sports
  • The rubber outsoles provide great traction and grip on wet surfaces
  • Durable and water-repellent
  • The toe bumper helps prevent feet injuries
  • Compression-molded EVA midsole for all-day comfort

Hint: If you need orthotic shoes, we would suggest you to check the Keen Sandals, such as the Rialto and EVOFIT, which provide removable footbeds/insoles. Both are great options for traction in and out of water.

2. Sperry Sea Kite Sport Boat Shoe

If you want to look great while spending time on the water and not compromise on comfort, the Sperry Sea Kit is a great choice. Well made and with a great design, this pair of sailing shoes are comfortable to wear with or without socks, being perfect for both boating activities and walking.

The Sea Kite is an exceptional shoe that offers excellent arch support for people with flat feet (when the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened).

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Fantastic sailing shoes for boating and casual wear
  • Good arch support 
  • Removable EVA insole
  • They tend to wear quickly
  • The materials shed water and dry relatively quickly when wet
  • Excellent traction
  • Very durable, excellent materials and craftsmanship

3. Sperry Bahama II Sneaker Sailing Shoes

These sailing shoes are functional both as sailing shoes and as sneakers, being a more casual alternative to traditional leather boat shoes.

The lacing system and moccasin toe give the look of a boat shoe while the canvas upper, the flat rubber sole and the memory foam cushioned footbed provide comfort.

Also, they are excellent to grip a wet foredeck when one needs to stay aboard rather than overboard. They are not water resistant.

Check it out also the Sperry Women’s Lounge LTT Sneaker.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Great casual deck shoe
  • Non-marking rubber outsole with Razor Cut Wave-Siping™ for Ultimate Dry / Wet Traction
  • Increased comfort thanks to the memory foam cushioned footbed

4. Sperry Top-Sider Men's Ultralite Boat Shoe

This pair of shoes is really functional and worn by sailors every day, all over the world, being very comfortable for general use and also very durable.

Sperry Ultralite Boat Shoes are as functional for the docks as they can be worn for business casual attire, with or without socks. With a leather construction for great durability and easy cleaning, this pair of shoes comes with a standard Sperry anti-slip sole.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • More than a sailing shoe, being perfect for business casual attire
  • Very comfortable for general use and very durable
  • Features air-mesh upper panels for comfortable & breathable comfort around the foot
  • They dry faster and have excellent grip
  • Great to wear them in the summer

For woman: Check it out the Sperry Women’s Angelfish Varsity Boat Shoe which are very comfortable, durable and cute.

5. Sketchers Women's Go Walk Boat Shoe

With an excellent rating, this pair of sailing shoes is made of 100% textile material. The rubber sole offers grip on any surface.

They are very comfortable thanks to the Goga Mat ™ air-cooled breathable insole with high rebound cushioning and cushion memory. They are some of the most comfortable boat shoes you’ll ever try on. 

Skechers Go Walk boat shoes might not suit boaters who use orthotics because they do not provide arch support and the lining is not removable.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Stylish and durable design
  • Breathable fabric lining
  • Slip-on moc toe boat design with EZ fit closure
  • Extremely confortable (memory foam) and lightweight
  • The comfortable foam insole layer adds cushioning and breathability
  • Available in leather or canvas style

With a similar design, Sketchers also provide a model for men: Skechers Men’s Status 2.0.

6. Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

With drain holes for efficient water drainage and a generous open mesh, these shoes offer breathability and quick drying to your feet.

Very lightweight, they provide exceptional traction on wet and slippery surfaces. The ComforDry sock liner and cushioned midsole are designed for extra comfort.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • More than a sailing shoe, being perfect for business casual attire
  • Dry quickly due to the drainage ports which drains water efficiently
  • The breathable and durable open mesh allows your feet to breathe
  • The ConforDry sock liner and cushioned midsole provide extra comfort
  • The rubber outsoles provide excellent traction in wet conditions
  • Super lightweight

7. Sperry Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe

Sperry is known for some of the best sailing shoes, and this is one of its most recognized models.

Sperry boasts a timeless design that features premium leather upper, moccasin stitched shoe, rust-resistant eyelets and slotted collar. It’s available in textile too.

The 360-degree lacing system is coupled to the genuine hand-sewn Tru-Moc silhouette to enhance safety and comfort while wearing them.

You’ll enjoy this boat shoe in any weather, all year around! Find out more sailing shoes models from Sperry.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Very stylish and comfortable
  • Genuine hand-sewn Tru-Moc silhouette for durable comfort
  • Non-marking outsole with wet traction
  • Great confort due to the shock absorbing eva heel cup 

8. Timberland Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe

If boating is not only an activity for you but also an attitude, then try this pair of boat shoes from Timberland, a great alternative sailing shoes brand which is best known for their rugged boots.

Worn by everyone from the seasoned sailor to international jetsetters, Timberland Classic Boat Shoes have a thick rubber cramp and provide ample traction and a tough look. The uppers are made of leather.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Looks Great, Wears Well
  • Well made and designed to last
  • Fit and comfortable
  • They have a nice built up arch support
  • Rubber sole for traction on wet surfaces

9. Shark Men's Boat Shoe, Classic Sailing Shoes

Whether you are sailing or you want to wear them in a casual outfit, this classic and elegant sailing shoe is an excellent choice. Perfect with shorts and pants , with or without socks, this classic boat shoe is available in 5 colorways!

Made of premium quality leather, rubber soles that are non-marking and slip resistant, you’ll enjoy this sailing shoe outdoors or indoors.

The odor control technology that keeps odors at bay makes this sailing shoe an excellent choice for comfort and look.

The model is very similar to the Sperry Topsiders shoes at a cheaper price. We don’t recommend them in bad weather conditions.

What Makes This Sailing Shoe Stand Out

  • Classic casual sailing shoe made of 100% leather
  • Perfect with shorts and pants, socks or no socks
  • Odor control technology that keeps odors away
  • Comfortable and well made, at a reasonable price

Best Sailing Shoes by Brand

In 1935, sailor Paul Sperry took a cue from the grooved paws of his dog that could run on ice without slipping and designed the first non-slip sole for sailing shoes.

Sperry

Today, Sperry owns space for boat shoes.

Sperry’s sailing shoes are available in classic materials (such as leather and canvas) and various designs (such as the 2-eye boat shoe) that made them famous.

In their models, sailors and boaters will find everything they want from a sailing shoe. Sperry’s boat shoes offer innovative comfort features as well as the basic wet / dry traction for non-slip safety in any weather or conditions.

Dockers

Dockers is one of the most recognized and popular brands for classic and stylish sailing shoes. A sport-inspired brand, Dockers’ boat shoes provide a NeverWet feature, water resistant no-worry wear.

Columbia

The sailing shoes from Columbia will exceed all your expectations in terms of comfort, lightness, and traction. They provide a water and stain resistant mesh and synthetic upper to protect your feet no matter how messy things get. The Omni-GRIP advanced traction is designed to grip in wet environments. Many sailors use them as well for many onshore activities.

Skechers

Available in a wide range of colors and styles, the sailing shoes from Skechers are designed to last. Well-crafted and comfortable, the Skechers’ deserve a place in any sailor’s wardrobe.

Clarks

Clarks comes with a collection of classy sailing shoes and deck shoes that give a new vibe to the nautical style by combining premium materials with the latest technology. The sailing shoes from Clarks are an excellent choice to wear with chinos and shirts.

Choosing the Best Sailing Shoes

The Size of the sailing shoes

Sailing shoes known as boat shoes or deck shoes are often made of leather and canvas but be aware that leather boat shoes are usually half size smaller than the average size. Everyone wants their shoes to be comfortable, especially if you choose to wear them without socks.

The material of sailing shoes

Sailing is not only an activity, it’s an attitude. A classic piece in any man’s wardrobe, boat shoes are usually made of leather or canvas.

The vintage preppy vibe is only offered by leather boat shoes. Also, leathers are known to be durable and more often worn than canvas. Also, among the features, it has the benefit of being waterproof.

The classic leather or CXL is preferred by many sailors for its softness and elasticity, being more comfortable.

The Non-slip sole of the sailing shoes

Among the features of sailing shoes, the non-slip sole is the one that gave birth to sailing shoes when a sailor named Paul Sperry found a solution to avoid slipping in his boat.
This helped to create a herringbone pattern of slits (in 1923) which was initially created by cutting slits on the rubber sole providing good traction on wet surfaces.

The white herringbone-shaped sole comes from black rubber soles and the brown color gives the classic look of sailing shoes.

The uppers

In order for the leather to be water-repellent and stain-resistant, it is treated with oil and the shoe is handsewn, with 360-degree lacing (it allows it to be tightened).

The comfort of the sailing shoes

An important feature of sailing shoes is comfort and that is why they are often worn without socks. To become comfortable, allow a week to a month during which time the shoe stretches.

During this time, we recommend wearing the sailing shoes for short walks. Once broken in, the discomfort disappears.In the 1st few days, it is very important not to use the boat shoe for long-distance travel.

Remember that it only loosens the width, not the length.

The non-marking sole

The white rubber sole was invented to leave no mark on the yacht, being a very important feature for sailors.
Although, over time, other colors have appeared but the main non-marking feature has been preserved.

As for how it was invented initially, the white rubber sole does not leave any mark on the yacht or boat for sailing. This is a feature that is very important for sailors. Who would want to leave marks on their boats, right?

From white-colored sole, it has evolved into different colors, mostly representative of the summer colors. Despite the change of color, the non-marking feature is still kept for boat sailing purposes.

FAQ

  • Why Wear Boat Shoes?

    The boat shoes have a classic preppy look, you can wear them from morning to evening, they are smart casual and can even be worn with a suit. If you want a modern preppy look, you can pair it up with shorter-length pants and a polo shirt. You can also choose the boat shoes and chinos for a great fit. For a natural outfit at a sailing event, you can choose jeans and boat shoes which is a great outfit if they are worn in a suitable color tone. For women, the boat shoes can be paired with a dress or trousers with a blouse.

  • What type of shoes are best for sailing?

    The best sailing shoes, also known as deck shoes, are usually made of canvas or leather with non-marking rubber soles. They must provide a good level of grip. When choosing the best sailing shoes, you have to choose between traditional leather moccasins that offer a smart look at sea, and modern deck trainers that cover the sporty angle, which are light and grippy.

  • Can I Wear Socks With Boat Shoes?

    Traditionally, boat shoes are worn without socks , but if you are among people with sweaty feet, you can use cotton inserts. Although there are no rules for using socks, some choose to wear no-show or foot socks for comfort.

  • Who Are Boat Shoes for?

    Although boat shoes were designed for sailors to provide extra traction on wet boat decks, nowadays, they became a trend in the fashion world, being worn by both women and men.

  • Where to Buy Boat Shoes for Sailing?

    Boat shoes are a staple in the wardrobe of any man or woman and they can be bought both in the stores of manufacturers or distributors such as Quoddy, Rancourt, Russell, Oak, Sperry, Redwing and online.

Conclusion

Boat shoes are on the trend nowadays, being preferred when traveling, both in summer and when it is cold.

Whether you choose traditional sailing shoes that are practical, stylish, soft and flexible or choose modern sailing shoes, preferred by offshore sailing teams that need to stay warm and dry in adverse weather conditions, the most important thing is that they are comfortable and functional for your needs.