The Best Boat Shoes You Can Buy In 2021
Ever since intrepid explorer Paul Sperry dreamt of inventing shoes that would stop him falling off his yacht , boat shoes have been considered one of best examples of function-meets-form footwear.
More than 80 years on, whether you consider the casual style a menswear mainstay or think theyre better off overboard, its clear that boat shoes are a classic that wont sink out of view for a long time to come.
They speak of laid-back Riviera style, but the inspiration for these versatile moc-toed, leather shoes came from the most unlikely of places. Paul found his inspiration from his dog, Prince, noticing that he didnt slip on ice, says Jessica Frost from American brand Sperry Top-Sider, which carries his name. Turning over his paw, Paul noticed hundreds of small cracks and lines going in all directions and that became the inspiration behind the innovative non-slip sole.
Sperry did what any enterprising person would have after spotting this he ran home and got to work, hacking up old pairs of shoes with a knife in a bid to mimic the grooves.
The initial makeshift version of the shoe worked, but with one small hitch the black soles of the prototype left nasty marks all over the deck of the boat. So Sperry decided to combat this by switching to a white sole and the rest, as they say, is history.
Swims Waterproof Penny Loafer
Here’s a unique and modern machine-washable sailing shoe designed for comfort and good looks. The Swims Penny Loafer is a well-executed take on an old design and an excellent choice for warm-weather sailing.
The Swims Penny Loafer is completely waterproof and designed for use in wet conditions. It’s washable and contains antimicrobial materials to stay sanitary even in the worst conditions.
The shoe features a proven traction sole design with scoring and anti-slip compounds. It’s ideal for walking around fiberglass or wooden deck and maintains traction when the deck is wet.
These shoes are designed to look like penny loafers, which means they’re both stylish and comfortable. They can be worn with or without socks, but they’re designed primarily for sockless use.
Swims Waterproof Penny Loafer sailboat shoes are currently available in light blue, gray, brown, black, and dark blue. Two-tone gray and neon green are available, and the rest of the colors feature a close-to-matching sole.
Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Merton Boat Shoe
The long-reigning champs of prep-wear have designed a luxurious boat shoe for those who want something with a little more heft than many of their competitors. Weighing in at just under five pounds, these are substantial loafers that will look great for any occasion, whether youre near the water or not. Made from waxed and burnished leather, the Merton features a reinforced heel and rawhide laces . Available in a wide-range of designs, you can keep it conservative with the standard navy or brown leather look or really make a statement with the silver option or the all-American red-white-navy combo. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that youre picking up some of the best mens boat shoes you can find.
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Do You Have Any Comments Or Suggestions About The Best Boat Shoes For Sailing
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Factors To Consider When Buying Boat Shoes
- Materials Always go for shoes that are built using durable materials like leather. Leather will last much longer and be worth the extra investment.
- Comfort Comfort is everything when you are wearing your shoes all day long. Also, look for moisture prevention features because wet feet are definitely uncomfortable.
- Grip & Traction Outsole grip is extra important especially for shoes that youll be wearing on boats. Great traction can help prevent slipping when the boat starts getting wet.
- Waterproof- You should pick waterproof shoes especially when you expect to spend a lot of time on a boat.
- Personal preference- And of course, always consider what you like. Pick a style and design that you love!
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Dockers Mens Castaway Leather Casual Classic Boat Shoe
The Dockers brand is all about casual, authentic, and stylish apparel, and many, many men either wear or have worn Dockers pants, but you dont want to overlook Dockers footwear, including their Mens Castaway Leather Casual boat shoes.
The latter provides the same comfort that youd expect from the Dockers brand and pair well with a wide variety of casual clothes. They come with a flexible, full-grain leather upper thats hand sewn for more flexible construction.
They also have a cushioned EVA footbed and a durable rubber outsole for maximum support and traction on wet surfaces, plus rust-resistant eyelets.
- Durability is an issue for some customers
Its hard not to recognize the Dockers brand unless youve been living in a cave the last 30 years or so and its a company you can trust to deliver comfortable, stylish casual apparel and footwear.
How To Break In Your Boat Shoes
As just mentioned, boat shoes take some breaking in and this process can take anywhere from a week to a month, depending on how much you wear them. But the short-term pain is a long-term gain, as theyll eventually conform right to your foot and become very comfortable.
When you take the shoes out of the box, feel around them with your fingers for any hard spots in the leather and massage them out. Feel inside the shoe as well, for any pointy thread ends that could prove an irritant and need to be snipped off.
Start wearing the shoes slowly at first just around the house for a bit, and then on short errands. If they create a hot spot or blister, cover it over with moleskin or a Band-Aid, and keep on wearing them.
To accelerate the breaking in process, some recommend soaking the shoes in water and getting them completely wet. Sop up the excess water with a towel , and then put the wet shoes on your feet and wear them until theyre dry . Saturating the leather with water allows its fibers to stretch and then shrink to the shape of your foot. I havent tried this personally, and thus cant vouch for its efficacy or safety.
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Ll Bean Casco Bay Boat Mocs
L.L. Bean is another household name in traditional boat shoes. While not as ubiquitous as Sperry, L.L. Bean shoes are an excellent choice for traditional sailing footwear.
L.L. Bean Casco Bay Boat Mocs are made in the traditional boat shoe style. They’re slip-on by design and feature a low-profile sole with a very slight heel. L.L. Bean uses a different sole design philosophy, opting for a non-textured material.
Counterintuitively, the L.L. Bean flat non-textured sole actually has excellent anti-slip characteristics. It’s made of sturdy leather that resists sliding on wet decks, and it features slight outsole siphons to increase grip on wet surfaces.
The L.L. Bean Casco Bay Boat shoe is constructed with durable yet flexible leather that is comfortable and easy to clean. It features a leather liner inside, which works well with short socks and wears evenly over time.
That said, the leather liner is designed to work with or without socks. This is a plus, as it makes taking the shoe on and off easy after a day on the beach or walking around the deck barefoot.
These shoes feature a lace-up top with leather laces. They can be tied and left in place, as this is a slip-on shoe. The L.L. Bean Casco Bay shoe can be worn with or without socks, just like the Sperry mentioned above.
So What Shoes Do We Recommend
1. No shoes. In the tropics, youll actually be barefoot more often than not. So, the number one shoe to have aboard a boat is actually no shoe at all, but thats not what this video is about.
2. Flip-Flops. The second most warn shoes by cruisers are flip flops or sandals offering more support. Ideally, the plastic or rubber shoes are the best. They dont corrode, mold or smell. Furthermore, theyre easy to wash the sand off, light to carry around and finally, if you lose them, its not the end of the world.
Flip flops are great for going into town on the dinghy, taking short walks and even walking along the hot sand on a beach.
Theyre not good, however, for gripping on the deck, hiking or when using them in the rain. They dont protect your toes on the deck from kicking fittings. During a hike, youll slide out of them. And flip flops simply get too slippery when its raining.
Simon, however, has a special use for his flip flops.
3. Adventure and Water Shoes. The best all-around shoe for a boater is a lightweight water shoe for adventure and travel. Now, these are not to be confused with the cheap $10 shoes you find at the touristy shops that are supposedly made for water yet fall apart after one use!
So, I use my Aleader Shoes on the deck and I also use them when its raining or when were going to shore for a walk, hike or anytime where my feet might get wet. I also wear them when flip flops wont provide enough support.
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Columbia Pfg Bahama Vent Slip
More than anything, boat shoes should provide traction on a boat deck. Thats how they got their name, after all, but not all boats shoes are the same, including when it comes to traction.
Columbias PFG Bahama Vent Slip-On offers a ton of traction, whether youre on deck or land.
It also includes other features, such as a lightweight feel and overall comfort that make it one of the best shoes for fishing especially when you spend a lot of time on your feet when fishing or during any other outdoor activity.
The PFG Bahama consists of an upper assembled from canvas and leather and provides excellent airflow for better breathability and overall comfort.
It even looks like a traditional water shoe and has some of the same attributes, including how well it drains and disperses water. You even can wear it in the water without the feeling of excess sogginess that you experience with some other boat shoes.
Its also made with a thinner material that makes it easy to slip on and off, while the Techlite midsole provides plenty of cushion without adding extra weight to the shoe.
- Sizes may run a bit large
The Columbia PFG Bahama Vent Slip-On keeps your feet comfortable while giving you all the traction you need, whether on a boat deck or any other terrain.
Sperry Mens Authentic Original Leather Boat Shoe
At 86 years old, the Sperry Top-Sider is still one of the best boat shoes around. The shoes original innovations were a grooved sole that would grip the deck of a boat without leaving scuff marks, as well as a 360-degree lace-up design to keep the shoes from falling off. These features are still present, but now they lend more iconic preppy style than utility. Wear them with jeans, a button-up shirt and a sport coat on business casual occasions, or dress them down with jeans and a tee for an elevated weekend outfit.
More proof that Sperry is still king of the boat shoe market? The brand has teamed up with John Legend on a number of campaigns and collaborations over the last few years.
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Sebago Makwa Brown Moccasin
If Sperry is the king of the boat shoe, then Sebago is its loyal prince. Founded in 1946, the American company has been making high-quality boating and deck shoes for decades. Their Docksides line features dozens of boat shoes, from mainstay nautical-inspired looks to some truly wild designs like their animal print penny loafers. These Makwa Brown Moccasins are literally a step above the competition with their extra-wide sole that gives them the appearance of a dressier shoe. With a beautiful multi-color design, these are some of the best mens boat shoes, and offer the flair of high fashion with the comfort and durability youd expect from a classic boat shoe.
Guide To Choosing The Right Pair Of Boat Shoes
Boat shoes or also known as deck shoes and topsiders are usually made with canvas and leather. But, if you are getting leather boat shoes, get a half size smaller than the average size. You want your shoes to be snug to your fit, especially if you choose to be sockless. Also, add some allowance for your toes to wiggle in.
The boat shoes are a classic piece in any mans wardrobe that can be worn from day to night. It comes in canvas and leather. However, leather gives you the vintage preppy vibe that is a unique feature of boat shoes. Leathers are also known to be durable and dressier than canvas. As this is worn for sailing, waterproof materials are preferred.
The classic pull-up leather called Horween Chromexcel, or CXL is the preferred leather type known for its elasticity and softness. Compared to other types of leather, Chromexcel breaks in faster, thus, more comfortable for the feet.
The non-slip sole feature of boat shoes is what led to its inception when Paul Sperry, a former Navy Sailor, tried to find a way to avoid skidding in his boat. He experimented on several materials such as black rubber soles. It was until he noticed his dog Prince running over icy water without sliding that he has his a-ha moment. This led to the conception of the herringbone pattern of sipes in 1923. This siping pattern, initially created by cutting slits on the rubber sole, provides better traction on wet surfaces.
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Collect Boat Shoes For Men Products With Premium Prices
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Watch out for coupons or discount codes that will help you get the best deal possible.
Be aware of the shipping cost, as well as any taxes if applicable.
Browse through different stores that offer a wide range of prices
It is important to always be on the lookout for boat shoes for men products that are not only of high quality but also have a low price.
What Are Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are moccasin-like footwear that are distinguished by their low cut, handsewn construction, soft, white, non-skid, non-marking, siped rubber sole, and laces that run not only through 2-3 eyelets on top of the shoes, but in and out of their sides as well this 360-degree configuration allows you to cinch the laces all around the shoe for a tighter fit.
While boat shoes are made with both canvas and leather, the latter is by far the most traditional and quintessential material, and the laces are typically made from leather as well. These laces, at least once cinched and tied, are largely decorative the shoe functions as slip-on footwear.
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A Pair Of Sperry Gold Cup Authentic Original Boat Shoes Wouldn’t Have Looked Out Of Place Three Generations Back And Will Still Have Fans Generations Into The Future
When we picture boat shoes, most of us see a pair that looks just like the Sperry Gold Cup Authentic Original Boat Shoes. They have the classic white soles with siping carved in for traction, the leather upper with the contrast stitching, and the laces crisscrossed over the tongue and running along the sides.
Some people love the look of the classic top-sider boat shoe, while others would rather wear just about anything on their feet. Love or loathe the styling, the Sperry Gold Cup Authentic Original is undeniably a good shoe. The leather is water-resistant and will last for years with a bit of care, the soles are thick and grippy, and a lambskin lining creates excellent foot comfort. Also, those laces aren’t merely decorative, but rather constitute a 360-degree lacing system that lets you customize the fit, so you get a shoe you can slip on and off yet that will reliably stay on your foot even as you run back and forth on deck, weighing anchor, trimming the mainsail, or reeling in that rockfish.
And while these are far and away the most expensive boat shoes on our list, a pair of Gold Cup Authentics will probably last you a decade, unless you’re a true old salt whose out on the water many days a year.
GearStyleMag.com called the Gold Cup shoes “a step above the rest with impeccable stitching and premium materials.”
Pros: Built to last for years, soft and supportive insole, water-resistant leather, classic design
Cons: Expensive, some find style dated
Toms Mens Dorado Boat Shoe
Who doesnt know about TOMS? If you dont, well then. maybe you are an alien!
All joking aside, TOMS is a brand known not only for its shoes, but also for its social responsibility, as it is built on the one for one model.
What that means, they delivering a free pair of shoes to a child in need with every shoe sale.
If you think about it, how cool is that? You wont find many brands that do that nowadays.
TOMS Mens Dorado Boat Shoe is a shoe that deserves your attention if you value style. It is perfect to wear for any casual summer outing, and it comes in a variety of colors to match your personal preferences.
Of course, we wouldnt recommend a shoe if it wasnt comfortable. And the TOMS Dorado Shoes sure are. They come with an OrthoLite cushioned footbed making walking with them an absolute joy for your feet.
As to their construction, they are made with high-quality synthetic textile so, they are very lightweight. The outsole also has a fashionable look that helps the shoe to look modern.
However, if you have wider feet, these shoes might not be for you. They are a little tight with their fit, according to some Amazon reviewers.
- A bit tight for people with wider feet
If style and comfort are what you want, you cant go wrong with TOMS Mens Dorado Boat Shoe.
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