what kind of shoes to wear on a boat

boating shoes

When you pack for a weekend on the water, do you think much about the type of shoes you will wear? While you’re likely to grab your favorite flip flops or sandals, it’s much more important to pack some proper boat shoes.

Not only will this allow you to stay safer from slips and falls, but you’ll find they are actually more comfortable too. If you’ve ever owned a pair of boat shoes for their attractiveness when living in a warm climate, you’ll now want to focus your attention on buying them for the importance of boating life. Take a look at the type of boating shoes you’ll want to wear when setting sail.


Your boat shoes are made to keep you safe on board but they also offer a stylish option that you can wear around the boat and when docking to go on land. Make sure to first consider performance before aesthetic since you can always change shoes when you go on land if you need a different look.

The first consideration for safety is that the boat shoe should be water resistant. Make sure the material says that it is either water-resistant or quick-dry. Avoid shoes that are completely waterproof because you’ll actually find that the water will get trapped inside.

Look for something that offers a built-in way to drain. Neoprene and leather are popular choices for boating shoes, but make sure with leather that you give it additional care to protect it after use.

Another consideration is the tread pattern. You will find that boat shoes offer either anything from a modest tread to a more aggressive tread. Consider if you think that you’ll be in situations in which you need to hold on tight or if you plan to exclusive cruise in a leisurely way. The right tread will be a big consideration.

Next, consider what type of fasteners will work best for your situation. If you just plan to do some deep sea fishing or casual trips, you could go for a slip-on option. If you plan to do anything more, make sure to have fasteners such as laces or Velcro.

Style and color are some of your final considerations. Choose a sole light in color to avoid leaving scuff marks. Most choose something like a classic brown leather or a canvas boat shoe in order to have something that functions well on the boat but also allows you to fit in when leaving the boat for an outing. Something casual, functional, and stylish should be the goal.


Top brands on the market include Sperry Top-Sider, Speedo, and Vibram for men’s boat shoes. Check out Sperry’s Authentic Original Leather Boat Shoe and Astral Brewer 2.0 Water Shoes for some great options.

With the right stylish boat shoe, you’ll find that they are comfortable enough to want to wear traveling, doing business, or on a date. Make sure to consider the right safety options when purchasing your boat shoes and look for an option that you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of in many areas of life. 

Shoes are very important and I have tried many different types of shoes.  I could probably get by in quite a few different pairs, but there are a couple of things that I look for in a shoe that I am going to wear on the boat. 

1. A wide heel.  Shoes with a wide heel will help you maintain your balance far more than a narrow heel.  We sometimes fish on days that are slick calm, but more often than not, the boat is rocking and rolling and balance is at a premium. 

2. Cushion.  I want a shoe that is going to absorb the shock of long runs and hitting waves.  Good cushion and good arch support is also helpful for being on your feet all day.

3. Mesh.  On a boat your feet are more than likely to get wet.  Shoes that will allow the water to go straight through will remain lightweight and will also dry faster. New boat shoes go a step further than just mesh and also incorporate drain holes to get the water out fast and allow for air to circulate.

4. Good traction on the sole.  Most athletic shoes made today will have good traction. Specialized shoes with boat soles are really nice if you are getting in and out of the boat and trying not to track a ton of sand into the boat, but for the most part, any athletic shoe is going to prevent slippage. A Non- Marking sole is a must and today’s technology allows for soles of any color to be Non-Marking. You DO NOT want a shoe that makes marks in a Captains boat. Make sure your boat shoe or fishing shoe has a non marking sole.

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