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Reviewed by our Gear Geeks:

BEST BOAT SHOES FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN 2021

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 32 different Boat Shoes and write reviews of the best.

The result is 20 of the best Boat Shoes on the market today.

joao paulo carvalho

Joao Paulo Carvalho

Journalist
A journalist with a passion for gear, photography, traveling and writing.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

Any man or woman with a sense of style has a pair of boat shoes in their wardrobe. Also known as deck shoes, these simple, functional, and extremely versatile everyday loafers have kept their classic appeal since 1935 and become a staple throughout spring and summer—whether you’re on or off deck.

For this reason, we’ve prepared for you a guide on the best boat shoes for men and women

At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find a buyer’s guide to help you make a smart purchase as well as plenty of outfit ideas. 

Whether you want a pair of boat shoes to go sailing, fishing, or just for running errands around town, we’ve got them all!

Now let’s dive into our list.

BEST MEN’S BOAT SHOES

When it comes to seaworthy style, Sperry is the most recognizable loafer, combining form and function. But it’s their comfort that is most remarkable.

With genuine leather materials hand-sewn for durability, a signature 360° lacing system with rustproof eyelets for a secure fit, and razor-cut wave-sipping soles for the ultimate wet/dry traction, the Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe from Sperry hits it out of the park in terms of construction, comfort, and style. Definitely one of the best boat shoes you can find.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Genuine leather
  • Weight: 10.4 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Beautiful design
  • Great fit
  • Durable
  • Non-slip/non-marking
What we don’t like:
  • A few buyers have pointed out that the actual shoe color is lighter than the one displayed on the website

It features moccasin construction with OrthoLite insoles for enhanced shock absorption and comfort as well as a shock-absorbing EVA heel cup.

With nearly 30 options to choose from, you’re bound to find a top-sider catered to your taste. Remember that a Sperry shoe will often stretch a wee bit.

Whether lounging on the deck of a boat or strolling through town, you’ll be in perfect nautical style with the Timberland Men’s Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Full-grain and nubuck leather
  • Weight: 14.9 oz
What we like:
  • Strong construction
  • Comfortable
  • Sleek design
  • Durable
  • Good support
What we don’t like:
  • Nothing!

Industry-leader when it comes to high-quality outdoor wear, their line of ruggedly casual boat shoes is a true reflection of the craftsmanship, comfort, and durability Timberland became known for. 

It features hand-sewn premium full-grain and nubuck leather uppers, a foam EVA insert for added comfort and support, a 360-degree rawhide lacing system for a custom fit, and grippy rubber outsoles for maximum traction on slippery and wet surfaces.

From Adidas, an unconventional boat shoe has been making waves. The Terrex Boat S.RDY demonstrates how sailing and boating has become a less elitist hobby. Most boat shoes look like Sperrys, slip-on moccasins with non-marking, rubber soles. Not these.

The Adidas Boat Shoe is also a more sustainably produced water shoe that brings a bit of sport into boating with a spillover into all water sports. In fact, it looks more like beach-walking, kayak-friendly water shoes. But is it a reliable footwear for all water activities or just a non-marking boat shoe with good grip?

We tested these water shoes, putting it through its paces to answer these questions.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Lace Closure
  • Open Mesh Upper
  • ClimaCool
  • Traxion Outsole
  • Perforated Adidas Drainage System in Midsole and Outsole
  • Stretchable Heel Insert
What we like:
  • ClimaCool technology that keeps the feet cool
  • Open mesh uppers that ensure breathability
  • Perforated Adidas drainage system that results in quick-dry capabilities
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Stretchable heel inserts that meet the needs of those enduring plantar fasciitis
What we don’t like:
  • A little abrasive without socks

Why not combine the Dockers distinguished khaki pants with a pair of their soft and well-made boat shoes? 

The brand which first introduced khakis as a casual alternative to jeans and dress pants back in 1986, has since then expanded into a wide range of apparel and accessories including loafers.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Genuine leather
  • Weight: 13.2 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Well-made
  • Very light
  • Quick-drying
What we don’t like:
  • Couldn’t find anything!

Hand-sewn and crafted from rich leathers, the Vargas Boat Shoe features the classic two-eyelet design, a grippy rubber sole for maximum traction on wet surfaces, a cushioned EVA footbed for unmatched comfort along a molded EVA heel cup for extra support. 

Due to its classic style, you can wear them with shorts, jeans, or of course khakis and take them from the beach to your everyday activities.

Boasting that classic deck shoe look that never goes out of style, the iconic Docksides from Sebago features moccasin construction, which means that the leather wraps around the foot, thus creating a flexible and comfortable fit that just gets better with wear. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Leather or Suede
  • Weight: 2.1lbs
What we like:
  • Durable
  • Stylish
  • Affordable
  • Good grippy sole
What we don’t like:
  • It requires some break-in time—as most boat shoes do
  • A few buyers have complained about squeaking

The moc toe stitching is beautifully complemented by an around-the-collar rawhide lacing. Plus, a molded EVA foam insole for comfort and support and a non-slip and non-marking rubber outsole.

Clearly, Sebago has tried to make the best boat shoe with this line up, and there are many reviews that reflect this success.

When it comes to both sports- and menswear, Polo Ralph Lauren requires no introduction. And their line of boat shoes is a genuine reflection of what the brand became renowned for—high-quality, refinement, and timeless aesthetic. 

 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Waxed, burnished leather
  • Weight: 4.95lbs
What we like:
  • Great fit
  • Comfortable
  • Well-made
  • Extra weight makes for a solid stance on the deck
What we don’t like:
  • Tassel is a little too long

Crafted from waxed, burnished leather, the Polo Ralph Lauren Merton Boat Shoe features a single-needle-stitched toe, reinforced heel with a signature tacked lace knot detail, rawhide laces through antiqued metal grommets, and rope-inspired treads honoring its nautical roots.

These are for boaters who like heavier shoes.

This loafer is of a classic caliber and will prove durable and reliable. Feel the leather and notice the difference between it and others.

Slip into our next pair of boat shoes for a taste of the island escapism lifestyle Jimmy Buffett sang so much about. This is a loafer designed for a carefree lifestyle and comfort.

The Margaritaville Men’s Anchor Lace Boat Shoe looks great and has the performance to match. 

 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Leather/Mesh
  • Weight: 2lbs
What we like:
  • Beachy look
  • Comfortable
  • Great fit
  • Breathable
  • Durable
What we don’t like:
  • Couldn’t find anything to complain about!

It features a breathable leather mesh upper section for airflow, a soft padded tongue and collar that keeps your ankles from chafing, a foam insole for unparalleled comfort, a palm tree on the side along with a printed anchor on the rubber outsole ensuring that tropical look. 

These loafers dry quickly, making them ideal for both beach and boat. The Margaritaville boat shoes might not be classically designed, but the practical components propel it into consideration for the best boat shoe for a specific kind of lifestyle. A great one.

The Yarmouth from Eastland perfectly embodies what the brand has been committed to since 1955—crafting high-quality, heritage-inspired, and comfortable footwear praising its Maine roots.

 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Full-grain leather
  • Heel Height: 5/8”
  • Weight: 14 oz
What we like:
  • Top-quality
  • A classic look perfect for everyday wear
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
What we don’t like:
  • It requires a breaking-in/stretching period—so be prepared for uncomfortable first walks
  • A few buyers have not enjoyed the memory foam insert, claiming it made the shoe tighter

This one-eyelet slip-on boasts the classic and versatile design every boat shoe wearer desires. It features hand-sewn moccasin construction, 100% American Horween leather, and Eastland’s exclusive active memory foam comfort insole which supports and conforms to the curves of your foot.

Also, a shock-absorbing rubber outsole for traction and support and a handcrafted rawhide lacing for that polished look.

Designed by a podiatrist, the Lloyd Boat Shoe from Vionic offers an unbeatable combination of science and style that will carry you through your day comfortably and elegantly. 

 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Leather
  • Weight: 14 oz
What we like:
  • Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
  • Quality materials
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent arch support
What we don’t like:
  • Limited size options for tall men

It features an oil-treated leather upper, a soft interior, arch and heel support for extended wear, a 360° lacing system with leather laces and metal eyelets, as well as a rubber outsole with siping tread for added traction.

Highly suitable for those who suffer from overpronation, plantar fasciitis, or joint pain.

From the dock to pool parties to lounging around the house, the Hey Dude Wally Sox Loafer is a modern and versatile boat shoe for those who appreciate a more hip style and comfort. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Recycled fiber
  • Weight: 7 oz
What we like:
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Modern-casual design
  • Many different styles and colors
  • Good grip on wet deck
What we don’t like:
  • The outsole wears down quickly — not ideal for heavy walking or hiking
  • Sizing runs small

It features a low-top, wide chukka construction allowing total circulation of the toe area, a bi-component knit upper material that provides a flexible fit, a memory foam insole, and a soft, oxford cloth lining.

Plus, two lacing options and an extremely flexible ultra-light outsole.

From business casual to beach-wear, the Globalwin Men’s Boat Shoes fit perfectly in almost every situation and check all the boxes when it comes to comfort, quality, and above all, price.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Synthetic fiber
  • Weight: 1.4lbs
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Sleek design
  • Quick break-in period
  • Lightweight
  • Quick-drying
What we don’t like:
  • They are a bit narrow
  • They are comfortable but not ideal for heavy walking — as the majority of boat shoes are

It features a faux leather upper, a textile lining for a comfortable fit, a non-skid rubber outsole, and the classic moc toe design for an all-time classic look

The Rockport Men’s Perth Moccasins boasts the iconic boat shoe design we’ve all come to know and love, with the comfort we need for all-day wear, and the heavy-duty construction to last for many seasons.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Full-grain leather
  • Weight: 1.01lbs
What we like:
  • Sturdy construction
  • Comfortable: they fit like extra skin after a few uses
  • Classic look
  • Lightweight
What we don’t like:
  • Couldn’t find anything!

It features hand-sewn full-grain leather construction, EVA footbed and heel cup, a synthetic insole, and a grippy rubber outsole. 

This is a timeless loafer: your grandfathe

r used to wear these, as does your son too.

Celebrating the essence of the classic American cool style, the Bowman Boat Shoe from Tommy Hilfiger delivers an outstanding level of comfort and sophistication whether you’re at the helm, relaxing on the dock, or at any summer event in between. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Genuine leather
  • Weight: 2lbs
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • True to size
  • Beautiful design
What we don’t like:
  • Most buyers have complained about the laces which are rather thick and difficult to keep in a decent bow, therefore, easily scattered.

It features a moccasin toe design, a leather upper, an around-the-collar lacing system, a synthetic insole, and a rubberized outsole for easy navigation on wet surfaces. 

Tommy Hilfiger loafers, like the rest of their line of clothing, can sometimes be flamboyant. Not these ones. TH has made these boat shoes as classic as can be in a well-designed construction that feels like quality.

Stylish and functional, the Beacon from Dockers is a sport-inspired lace-up boat shoe built to cradle your feet in comfort all through the warm weather months. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Genuine leather
  • Weight: 15 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • NeverWet also keeps them cleaner than average untreated loafers
  • Stylish
  • Breathable
  • Well-constructed
What we don’t like:
  • Nothing!

These casual-wear deck shoes come packed with features including the CleanSport NXT, an anti-microbial technology that provides odor control and promotes good foot health as well as the NeverWet, a revolutionary water and stain guard that keeps liquids from attaching to the leather of these loafers.

Plus, it’s designed with a combination of genuine leather and mesh netting for improved breathability, double goring on each side for an easy slip on and off, six eyelets for a blister-free and secure fit, and lastly, a lightweight EVA outsole for maximum comfort and flexibility

The Casa Barco from Sanuk might not look like your traditional boat shoe but it still carries that nautical flair that every summer shoe owner craves. Plus, a casual design that can be dressed up or down with confidence.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Cotton
  • Weight: 8.96 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Beautiful design
  • Nice fit
What we don’t like:
  • A few customers have said that it rubs a bit on the heel when you don’t wear socks

It features a canvas upper, a molded EVA footbed that’s removable for easy cleaning and the option to be worn with or without laces while still feeling snugly on your feet. The pair has also been treated with antimicrobial additives so you don’t need to worry about stinky feet after a long day.

The brand even went the extra mile to design smiley faces on the rubber outsole so you leave joyful marks as you stroll along the shore. They might represent the happy place your feet find themselves in, as walking and just standing in these loafers is not at all unpleasant.

If you’re trying to remain budget-conscious when searching for boat shoes but you’re not willing to compromise on comfort and style, then you might want to take a look at the Unlisted Santon Boat Shoe from Kenneth Cole. 

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Synthetic fiber
  • Weight: 13 oz
What we like:
  • Vegan-friendly—for those who value this attribute
  • Budget-friendly
  • Stylish
  • Well-made
  • Comfortable
What we don’t like:
  • Nothing to complain about

It features the traditional two-eye design, a synthetic upper, a flexible sole, and a thin brown strip above the outsole giving it a nice touch. These loafers are slightly maverick in design and color scheme, going somewhat unconventional. But the look is unmistakably maritime and construction will likely hold up several year’s worth of sea air use.

BEST WOMEN’S BOAT SHOES

For over 70 years Columbia has been committed to making outdoor gear intended to keep you warm, dry, cool, and protected. And their line of women’s boat shoes is no exception.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • 100% Textile
  • Weight: 6 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Fits to size
  • Strong skid-proof sole
  • Versatile
What we don’t like:
  • There are only 2 color options
  • More sporty and hip than suitable for the yacht club

It features a combination of synthetic textile upper and open mesh, a lower durometer EVA for improved comfort and shock absorption, and their exclusive Techlite midsole for superior cushioning and high energy return. A nice marriage of style and comfort in probably the best boat shoe for women.

But it doesn’t stop there! The Delray Slip Boat Shoe is also treated with a Blood and Guts Technology to keep your feet dry and stain-free together with the Omni-Grip non-marking rubber outsole with razor siping for high traction on wet surfaces.  

One of the finest manufacturers when it comes to crafting boat shoes, Sperry’s take on a lighter, sleeker and more refined silhouette of their classic boat shoe is spot on in terms of comfort, functionality, and style. You’ll see these women’s loafers at premium yacht clubs.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Premium suede, nubuck, and tumbled leather
  • Heel measures approximately 3/4"
  • Weight: 8 oz
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Well-made
  • Durable
  • Plenty of colors to choose from
  • Timeless design execution
What we don’t like:
  • Tough break-in period

The Top-Sider Angelfish Varsity Boat Shoe features hand-sewn construction with a comfortable and padded tongue, premium suede, nubuck and tumbled leather uppers—which are stain and water-resistant, a memory foam footbed, and an EVA molded midsole for added support.

Plus, razor-cut wave-siping delivers ultimate wet/dry traction with non-marking rubber outsoles while the adjustable 360-degree lacing system ensures a secure fit.

Moc toe boat shoe designed specifically for walking, these Skechers are so comfortable and lightweight that several owners of these loafers describe them as “walking on a cloud.”

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Canvas and faux leather
  • Weight: 5 oz
What we like:
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Machine washable
  • Quick-drying
What we don’t like:
  • Nothing!

Built with canvas and faux leather, the pair comes with a 5 Generation cushioning system for maximum impact absorption and cushioned support. Plus, the Skechers Goga Max high-rebound insole for improved comfort, an inner soft moisture-wicking fabric lining to keep your feet dry after a long day, and a durable and grippy rubber outsole.

For the fashion-conscious, they’re also quite stylish and go well with virtually anything: shorts, jeans, and a casual dress.

A modern boat shoe with the look and feel of a pair of sneakers, but with the style and versatility of a water shoe. These loafers are the maritime version of Stan Smith’s with their iconic stripes.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • 100% Textile/Synthetic
  • Weight: 10.2 oz
What we like:
  • Stylish design
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Well-ventilated and quick-drying
  • Suitable for light sports
What we don’t like:
  • There are only 2 color options
  • According to many buyers, they do run a little large, so consider ordering a half size smaller than your regular size

Highly suitable for water activities like kayaking, canoeing, dinghy sailing, or simply a day at the beach, the Adidas Outdoor Women’s Boat Shoe features a textile and synthetic upper construction as well as 360 degrees of climacool made from perforated neoprene mesh with a soft lining and drainage system for enhanced breathability and quick-drying. 

In addition, a stretchable heel insert provides an optimal fit while the TRAXION outsole gives the perfect combination of stability and grip for everyday outdoor activities.

Designed with comfort in mind and a style that goes well with practically everything, the Jocolin Vista from Clarks will quickly become your go-to casual shoes throughout all warm weather months.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • 100% Textile
  • Weight: 6.8 oz
  • Heel Height 1.18 inches
What we like:
  • Super comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Classic design
  • Breathable
  • Quick-drying
What we don’t like:
  • Not stain-resistant

These maritime loafers for women will turn heads, but their practicality is probably more interesting.

The perforated textile upper ensures excellent breathability while the OrthoLite footbed together with the Cloudstepper technology will pamper your feet and provide them with a super soft cushioning.

Men’s and Women’s Boat Shoes | Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve gone through our handpicked selection of the best boat shoes on the market, there are a few things you should consider before buying your maritime footwear. What makes these kinds of loafers so iconic is their practical use in and around boating, an experience that has made them favorites for casual lifestyle activities. Read on:

Materials

The most common types of materials used for boat shoes are leather, canvas, and synthetic fibers. 

  • Leather: in the leather category, in particular, it is important to highlight the differences between each type: 
  • Full-grain leather: it takes the entire grain of the hide of an animal with all its imperfections. For that reason, it is the strongest and most durable kind of leather you will find.
  • Top-grain leather: it is the top cut of cowhide with the outermost layer of the skin removed for blemishes. It’s still strong and durable but less than full-grain leather.
  • Genuine leather: despite the genuine on the name, this is the lowest quality of leather you can get. It’s made with several layers of leftover low-quality leather mixed with glue and painted over for an improved look.
  • Suede: it’s a type of leather made from the underside of the animal skin, giving it a soft and smooth texture.
  • Nubuck: this is top-grain cattle leather that has been sanded and left with a velvet-like surface. 
  • Canvas: it’s a plain-woven fabric usually made of cotton or linen. It’s known for being durable, lightweight, breathable, and inexpensive.
  • Synthetic fibers: they are great for outdoor wear since they can offer much more durability and water-resistance than most natural fibers. 

Size

Regarding size, it is important to remember that no shoe will be perfect for everyone. Every manufacturer will have a variation in size—it’s very possible that with one brand a size 11 will fit you perfectly while with another brand a size 12 will be your exact fit. 

Also, keep in mind that leather is a material that is made to stretch and warp as you continue to wear your shoes. So be patient, because once they’re broken in, they’re going to feel much more comfortable. 

Other useful features:

  • Water Resistance: Although not waterproof, most boat shoes have been treated with oil or wax in order to repel water. After all, they were initially designed with the maritime setting in mind. Having said that, make sure you dry them properly before putting them away. But do not leave them in the sun to dry or use a blow dryer. 
  • Slip Resistance: Eventually, you might walk on wet and slippery surfaces, especially around the docks. So look for rubber outsoles with traction for maximum grip. 
  • Breathability: As you will be wearing your boat shoes primarily through the warm and humid seasons, a pair of well-ventilated deck shoes is paramount. Keep an eye out for any anti-microbial technology or your typical mesh netting that will help air flow freely into the shoe thus preventing your feet from sweating as well as odor buildup.

Now, we want to hear from you.

What’s your favorite pair of boat shoes and for how long have you had them?

Drop us a line in the comments below!

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about boat shoes

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    hould you wear socks with boat shoes?

    This is truly the million-dollar question when it comes to boat shoes.

    The truth is, deck shoes were intentionally designed to be worn without socks, but here’s the thing. 

    When you’re sailing, go without socks. Simply because your feet won’t slip inside the shoes, therefore you’ll have a better grip. 

    That said, if you have sweaty feet or you’re still in the process of breaking into your boat shoes, go with ankle socks—that way you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll feel comfortable and stay true to the original look.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    How do you wear boat shoes?

    Boat shoes are incredibly versatile. Men can pair them with jeans, shorts, khakis, and chinos while wearing polo shirts, tank tops, short sleeve shirts, and many other combinations.

    Women can style them with dresses, denim, jeans, etc.

    Since we’re not fashion experts here at divein.com, we’ll let the ones who know their stuff help you dress the part from head to toe.

    Click here for 50 stylish outfit ideas for men’s boat shoes. 

    Also, check out this video from a fashion blogger showing you 4 ways you can style your boat shoes: 

    For the women, we’ve got 14 stylish tips.

2 Comments

  1. Jim P.

    I need a pair of boat shoes for actual sailing, but I think a lot of these shoes seem like they’re for leisure wear or going to events. What are the best pair of boat shoes for sailing on a small yacht?

  2. Bradley Axmith

    Hi Jim! First of all, thank you for your question.
    You’re right, some of these boat shoes do seem to be made more for everyday use but a few models from our list were definitely designed with boating and sailing in mind.
    Our top 3 recommendation for sailing is the Dockers Men’s Beacon Boat Shoe, the Rockport Men’s Perth Boat Shoes, and the Margaritaville Men’s Anchor Lace Boat Shoe.
    They are comfortable, offer great grip on wet surfaces, and the last one delivers great breathability.

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