The Best Sperry Boat Shoes
Were sorry to have to lead with Sperry and it may be the stereotypical shoe of New England prep wear, but when you think of boat shoes, you think of Sperry. Thats because Sperry practically single-handedly ignited the boat shoe trend through its high quality and variety of stylish boat shoes. And to be fair, Paul Sperry invented the worlds first boat shoe in 1935 to prevent slipping on deck. Thats why we couldnt talk about the best boat shoes without throwing at least one pair of Sperrys your way.
Of course, given the variety of Sperrys boat shoe offerings, its an impossible task to pick just one great pair. Thats why we went through Sperrys more than 130 styles and picked multiple styles that it seems only Sperry could make.
Rancourt Read Boat Shoe
Rancourt is yet another made-in-Maine shoe company, but hey, its not a bad thing to have a region that clearly makes the best boat shoes. We love the Rancourt Read Boat Shoe. In addition to the normal trappings of the best boat shoes, such as Horween Chromexcel leather, a great benefit to these shoes is the ability to choose a shoe width. You can stop pretending your feet fit into other narrower boat shoes and finally get the shoe width you need. Unfortunately, these boat shoes are made to order, so itll be some time before you get them, but theyre worth the wait.
Ll Bean Mens Casco Bay Boat Mocs
If you havent picked up on a trend yet, Maine makes the best boat shoes in the world. L.L. Bean is both an inheritor and a carrier of that tradition, and its Mens Casco Bay Boat Mocs are top-notch. The Casco Bay Boat Mocs are, as the name implies, a true cross between boat shoes and moccasins. Theyll handle boating and fishing, but are comfortable enough for hanging in the backyard too. An all-leather upper and leather lining keep things durable and comfortable while a siped rubber outsole keeps sliding on wet surfaces to a minimum.
Read Also: Gluten Free Sunblock
Marks And Spencer Leather Boat Shoe
Staying in the UK, Marks & Spencer makes straightforward shoes inspired by simple, classic designs. Thats what you get in the Marks and Spencer Leather Boat Shoe. The leather is soft and comfortable and ready to wear right out of the box, and a classic siped sole will help give you extra traction and slip-prevention you need.
Pick these up in a classic tan, which is more of a light brown, or a dark navy blue. Or treat yourself and buy one of each and youll always have a classed-up boat shoe option for every outfit.
The Best Alternative Boat Shoe Brands
While we lead with Sperry, you shouldnt think theyre the only name in boat shoes. They may be the standard but trust us, there are plenty of incredible brands out there making worthwhile Sperry contenders.
Dont believe us? Take a look through the rest of our list of the best boat shoes for men below!
Read Also: Remove Mildew From Boat Seats
How Do You Tie Boat Shoes
The best boat shoes can be a little difficult to tie because of their material. Most of the time, boat shoes will use flat, leather laces that are on the shorter side. There really isnt a tip to tie these kinds of laces aside from one: patience. Dont allow yourself to get too frustrated when tying the best boat shoes or you might break a lace. Nobody wants to break a lace.
Sperry Gold Cup Handcrafted In Maine Tri
For our first pick, we wanted something strong for the best boat shoes. Scrolling through the Sperry website, there was one shoe that stood out among all others: the Mens Gold Cup Handcrafted in Maine Authentic Original Tri-Tone Boat Shoe. The Handcrafted in Maine part of the name indicates this is Sperrys premium line of shoes and this shoe absolutely delivers.
It uses leather from the Horween Leather Company, one of the best and oldest continuously running tanneries in the US. The shoes are hand punctured and stitched and incorporate Vibram soles for traction and top-quality perforated leather linings for supreme softness, breathability and comfort. But what really brings these shoes together is the tri-tone color scheme of red, ivory and navy. Nothings more awesome or more American or more boat shoe than handmade shoes in America in the good old red, white and blue.
You May Like: Mildew Off Boat Seats
Sperry Mens Authentic Original Kick Down Boat Shoes
These next Sperrys wont be any more useful near the water, but the Mens Authentic Original Kick Down Boat Shoes make going from spiffy to casual incredibly easy. These boat shoes have a kick down heel, so you can keep the heel up for the full boat shoe look or flip them down for more casual slip-ons. Soft nubuck uppers take care of your foot and an Ortholite cushion keeps your sole happy for an all-around winner of a boat shoe.
Quoddy Classic Boat Shoe
If you only want the best boat shoes, then you need to go to Quoddy. What the brand lacks in variety it makes up in quality, timeless design and customer service.
One of the brands unique offerings is a design-your-own boat shoe option where you can pick every aspect of Quoddys Classic Boat Shoe, including the upper leather color, the kind and color of sole, the thread color, the hardware color for the three eyelets, the lace color and the lining color. Its almost like making it yourself, except you lack 80 years of experience in making high-quality footwear by hand.
But if you dont want to go through that process, Quoddy has in-stock options of its Classic Boat Shoe, including a whiskey leather color option.
Because Quoddy is in the business of premium boat shoes, theyre also in the business of premium customer service, too. If you wear down the sole of your boat shoe or beat the leather up over years of wear, you can send it off to Quoddy for repair and resoling for a fee. Your shoes will be like new again, except theyre already broken in.
You May Like: Do You Need Boat Insurance In Mn
Rowing Blazers X Sperry Lug Sole Boat Shoe
Stock on these is very limited, but theyre too cool not to include. Rowing Blazers added their twisted take on prep to the classic Sperry boat shoe, and the result is anything but traditional. These shoes have a thick lug sole and a color-blocked design. Rowing Blazers also swapped out traditional leather for nylon. The white lug soles are Vibram, so these boots are built to last.
Sperry Rowing Blazers Boat Shoe
How Should You Wear Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are the epitome of summerwear. Obviously, given the name, boat shoes were initially a go-to shoe to wear for boating, but theyve become very stylish in the mens summer fashion space. With that said, boat shoes dont make so much sense to wear during fall or winter. You can get away with wearing them in the latter half of spring, but the best boat shoes are made for summer. Its important to note that if youre actually wearing them for boating, they do have to meet certain standards. Specifically, youll need to ensure that the soles are non-marking. Some of the options on our list are more for style than seafaring, as the soles may not be deck-approved.
Boat shoes look great with flowy button-down shirts, short chino shorts or rolled chino pants and a pair of handsome sunglasses. If youre really trying to spice up your outfit here, consider even topping your look with a fedora if you can pull it off.
You May Like: How To Look Up Boat Hull Numbers
Clarks Un Pilot Lace Boat Shoes
Not everything Clarks does is a home run, but they do a few staples extremely well, including boat shoes. The Clarks Un Pilot Lace Boat Shoes are a textbook example of a solid boat shoe. The shoes are made from leather, use a lightweight rubber outsole and feature a soft footbed and textile lining for comfort. You probably wont turn heads, but you will have pretty durable boat shoes that didnt break the bank.
Why Wear A Boat Shoe
There arent a lot of casual summertime footwear choices for men. Especially if youd like to get extra lightweight and skip the socks. And especially if youre wearing shorts.
You can go sneakers, which are fine, but cant rise above the very casual. There are flip-flops, which dont look great and read as adolescent. And, theres the boat shoe. These slip-ons are as easy to wear as sneakers or sandals, but look a little sharper and can be paired with slightly dressier clothes. Plus, theyre fairly cool and quite comfortable. The boat shoe both looks good and remains functional you can wear them into water, and even if you wont find yourself cruising on a yacht anytime soon, they provide good traction on any kind of slippery surface.
These advantages aside, the deck shoe still has its critics.
There are those who say the boat shoe only belongs on a boat. But if a man were to strip his wardrobe of all the clothing and accessories that he didnt wear in correspondence with their original function, hed have to remove khakis , the wristwatch , the pea coat , jeans and work boots . . . indeed, so many articles of clothing were first created for another purpose before they ended up as everyday wear, that this man would have to go around almost naked. Just because something began its life to fulfill a particular function, doesnt mean it cant now be worn for its aesthetics.
Read Also: How To Clean Mildew Off Boat Seats
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.
The Dos And Donts Of Wearing Boat Shoes
Boat shoes can be a clutch part of your casual summertime wardrobe, taking you to pool parties, picnics, BBQs, dates, outdoor restaurants, beachside get-togethers, errands about-town, rooftop bars, and strolls along the boardwalk. Mind the following dos and donts and wherever you go in them, youll do it in style.
Read Also: How To Get Mold Stains Out Of Boat Seats
History Of Sperry Top Sider
After a nearly tragic sailing incident, Paul Sperry decided to create a non-slip boat shoe. He searched far and wide until inspiration stuck while Paul might slip and fall in the ice and snow, his dog Prince never lost his balance. Based on texture he saw on Princes footpads, he designed the now-famous herringbone-siped rubber sole in 1935.
Sperrys shoes quickly became popular with the New England boating community, but they werent well-known to the rest of the country until their endorsement by the US Navy in WWII. Returning veterans brought their favorite Sperry Top Siders home with them, and the rest is history!
A Mans Guide To Boat Shoes
In the 1930s, Paul Sperry, a former Navy Sailor, avid outdoorsman, and designer of duck decoys, bought himself an old schooner that he fixed up and made seaworthy. While he loved to sail it around Long Island Sound, he found to his dismay that the boats painted decks were royally slippery when wet. After one particularly bracing fall overboard, Sperry vowed to find a way to get better traction.
Sperrys first idea involved enhancing the grip of the deck itself by repainting it and sprinkling on the fine grit of emery dust. This did improve the decks traction, but, he discovered, If any part of the human anatomy came into touch with , it was like giving yourself a rub down with sandpaper.
So Sperry went back to the drawing board, this time deciding to alter the other side of the contact surface equation: the shoes he wore on deck.
Rubber-soled shoes seemed to be one key in providing a little more stick, but after making hundreds of experiments with them, none truly provided the grip Sperry desired.
Then one day Sperry noticed the way his dog Prince was able to agilely run over icy ground, and a light bulb went off. He examined the poochs paws and noted that the cracks and grooves on their pads provided a natural non-slip surface.
A drawing of the siped sole from Sperrys original patent application.
Read Also: Freedom Boat Club Lindenhurst
Sperry Plushwave Boat Shoe
We wanted something from Sperry that prioritized comfort above all else because hey, no matter what any shoe manufacturer says, any leather shoe can get uncomfortable after a day of walking. Thats what Sperry set out to fix with its Mens Authentic Original Plushwave Boat Shoe. You get the full-grain leather and laces you expect from Sperry, but this shoe uses what Sperry calls Plushwave technology, an ultra-light, cushiony, bouncy sole to keep your foot from getting tired while footing it around the city. We think the tan color will give you the most versatility, but honestly, the brown, navy and oatmeal colors will work with a million outfits too.
Sperry Mens Authentic Original Float Boat Shoe
Weve given you some of Sperrys absolute best, most premium options, but what about something a little more directly useful for water?
The new Sperry Mens Authentic Original Float Boat Shoe is a boat shoe designed to, yup, float in water, and its perfect for beaches and general spring and summer weather.
These boat shoes are made from an EVA material, so theyre super light, buoyant and waterproof. Size down a half size for the best fit and never lose your shoes on the water or deal with soaked steps again. Try wearing it on beach days for summer 2021 you wont regret it.
You May Like: Who Makes The Best Jon Boat
Sperry Gold Cup Orleans Boat Shoe
Next up from Sperry, we wanted to go for something classic that was a bit more affordable while still utilizing premium materials. You cant go wrong with the Mens Gold Cup Authentic Original Orleans Boat Shoe. This shoe uses full-grain leather uppers with lambskin linings and the typical rawhide laces.
Add in a cushioned heel cup, an Ortholite insert for the footbed and a latex outsole with siping and youve got one comfortable, durable, forever-stylish shoe for hitting the bricks or the upscale restaurant. You cant go wrong with the gorgeous brown amaretto color, but the black and grey versions are just as useful.
How To Choose A Boat Shoe
Different boat shoes dont look dramatically different from each other which you choose will come down to the subtle style differences you prefer, as well as the following factors:
Material. Pick a deck shoe in leather its both more durable and snazzier than canvas varieties, and can be paired with slightly dressier clothes for a sharper look.
Shoes made with Horween Chromexcel will be a little softer from the get-go and break in a little faster than other leathers, because of the amount of greases and oils its made with.
Color. Boat shoes come in a wide variety of colors these days, but its best to go with a darker brown. Its the most handsome, classic, and versatile color and will go with nearly everything. Navy is a runner-up in the versatility department it looks great with burgundy and gray bottoms, and decent with ones which are khaki-colored, though it doesnt look so hot with denim.
Most boat shoes have an elevated heel, but if youre a fan of more minimalist footwear, check out the boat shoes from Lems which have zero-drop outsoles that are so flexible you can completely roll them up .
Fit. Boat shoes take a while to break in , so dont expect them to feel like a dream right out the box. That being said, fit is quite important in a shoe youll likely be wearing without socks, and there are issues that breaking in wont fix.
Recommended Reading: How To Look Up Boat Hull Numbers
River Island Chunky Boat Shoes
We know what youre thinking and yes, a lot of boat shoes look kind of similar. The classic design has a timeless appeal that nobody tinkers with too much, but there is some room in that design for tweaks. Enter River Island Chunky Boat Shoes from the United Kingdom and ASOS. These brown suede boat shoes have a chunky rubber sole for added traction but mostly for a bit of street flair on what is typically a pretty conservative-looking shoe. Plus, the suede upper is super soft so youll be styling in comfort too.