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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

Best boating shoe

Boating shoes

Spending time in the ocean or on a lake can be a lot of fun for the whole family. If that time is spent sailing a boat, shoes that can handle the rocky water and still offer grip can be extremely beneficial. Boating shoes offer high grip bottoms and a specific design that is built to work optimally on docks and ships. However, the market for boating shoes is quickly growing and there are several different brands and styles to choose from, making the decision much harder. 

Features to consider before buying boating shoes

Material of the shoe

Boating shoes are usually made of a few different materials that work well with seawater and hold up well under stress. Most boating shoes are made of leather with flat rubber soles that provide extra grip. However, several, newer boating shoes have been made out of canvas with water-resistant plastic or rubber built into the shoe as well.

Sole construction type

Much like dress shoes and boots, the sole construction for boating shoes is incredibly important to the longevity of the shoe. Goodyear welting is still the highest quality construction type with much of the rubber sole being hand-stitched directly to the top of the shoe. Cemented construction uses an adhesive to attach the sole to the top of the shoe which can be less reliable but more affordable. 

Flexibility and durability of the shoe

One of the biggest factors for any pair of boating shoes is how well they break-in and how well they last over time. The higher the quality of water-resistant leather and rubber sole, the better the boating shoe will break in and form to the foot of the user. At the same time, the quality of the leather and rubber sole determines how long the boating shoe will last in good condition.

Laces and tightening features

Many boating shoes are slip-on and do not have any laces, which helps prevent the user from snagging on anything around a boat or tripping on themselves. However, without laces, it is much harder for a user to ensure a tight fit on the boating shoe. That is why many boating shoes have other methods of tightening the shoe outside of laces. Shoes with these features can be very valuable. 

Boating shoes price range

Most boating shoes are $50-$150. 

Best boating shoes 2021

Top boating shoes

Sperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe

What you need to know: Sperry boating shoes are a top choice in boating shoes, and these are one of the highest quality and well-rounded options on the market. They are full-grain leather.

What you’ll love: The boating shoes have 360-degree lacing to tighten the entire shoe for a more secure fit. The boating shoes also have a synthetic sole that offers grip in wet and dry conditions. 

What you should consider: The boating shoes take several weeks or even months to break in for some users. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top boating shoes for the money

TOMS Men's Dorado Boat Shoe

What you need to know: These boating shoes are lightweight and affordable with a breathable canvas top. 

What you’ll love: The rubber soles offer a solid grip for casual boaters. The boating shoes also weigh just two pounds making them much lighter than other options.

What you should consider: The shoes have a narrow fit in comparison to other boating shoes which may ruin the sizing for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Honorable mentions

Adidas Outdoor Men's Terrex Boat Water Shoe

What you need to know: This is a more athletic boating shoe with an open upper mesh top that is extremely breathable. 

What you’ll love: The boating shoe has a perforated design to help drain out any water that gets inside the shoe. The rubber sole also provides optimal grip.

What you should consider: Some users report that the shoes have less traction on wet surfaces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Timberland Men's Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe

What you need to know: These are classically designed boating shoes with a 100% leather exterior. 

What you’ll love: The boating shoes have a circular lace design that tightens the entire shoe. Timberland also offers incredibly high-quality waterproof leather.

What you should consider: Much like Sperry boat shoes, these shoes take several months to break in which can be tedious and uncomfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top women’s boating shoes

Sperry Women's Bluefish Boat Shoe

What you need to know: These are well-constructed boating shoes with a leather and mesh top that offers durability and breathability. 

What you’ll love: Much like other Sperry shoes, these have 360-degree laces for full tightness and security. The shoes also offer better breaking in than most full leather boating shoes.

What you should consider: The padding on the shoes makes them a bit tighter and causes them to run small. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top women’s boating shoe for the money

Skechers Women's Go Walk Lite-15430 Boat Shoe

What you need to know: Affordable and comfortable boating shoes with a navy and tan design. 

What you’ll love: The Skechers 5Gen cushioning offers maximum support and comfort to the user. The synthetic sole also has several drainage ports to keep the interior dry. 

What you should consider: Some users have reported that the shoes run small and they need to buy a half size up.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Honorable mentions

Clarks Women's Jocolin Vista Boat Shoe

What you need to know: These are breathable boat shoes made with a textile exterior for a lightweight feel. 

What you’ll love: Cloudstepper foam makes the shoes extremely comfortable on long days. The waterproof and lightweight rubber soles add significant grip on wet and dry surfaces. 

What you should consider: The padding on the inside of the shoe wears down quickly with use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Tom Price writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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