A Sailing necessity or fashion statement, either way, the boat shoe is rising in popularity with both sailors and yachting fashion enthusiasts. But what is the best boating shoe out there, and what is the best way to wear them; Socks or no Socks?
To answer these questions, we have put this guide together, showcasing the best boat shoes, alongside the relevant boat shoe reviews – helping you to find the best pair for you and your needs.
What is a Boat Shoe?
Boat shoes are an American invention. They were inspired by the split pads of a dog's paws, and how they allow then to run on slippery surfaces without falling into mischief. Whilst boat shoes were originally designed for sailors, in many coastal areas they have become fashionable to wear as casual footwear.
Boat shoes are generally made of either leather or canvas with rubber soles. The rubber sole is the trademark of the Boat shoe; the non-slip element of them makes them into the perfect shoe for sailing. The design of the shoe also allows your feet to be protected from severe damage if poles or ropes were to fall on your feet.
Whilst these shoes were originally designed to be working shoes, in more recent times they have taken a more fashionable route. Whilst the canvas designs of these shoes give them a slightly more laid back look when the shoes are bought in leather they can be worn with more formal attire.
How to Wear Boat Shoes
There is a big debate in between wearers of boating shoes, do you wear them with socks or without socks.
Wearing socks with them has both positive and negative aspects. Wearing socks with the shoes, particularly when designed in leather can add to the comfort of the shoe. Socks will stop uncomfortable sticking when the foot sweats as well as aiding against rubbing and blistering.
However, the original function of the shoe was for sailing, and where there are boats, there is water. Wearing socks when wet can be incredibly uncomfortable and can cause some of the problems that you are trying to combat by wearing socks. Boat shoes are also cut further towards the toe, so wearing incorrect socks could also look a bit unusual.
Not wearing socks with Deck Shoes is the most common way to wear them. Particularly wearing them when sailing, not having socks will help to keep your feet comfortable. However, not wearing socks with any shoes can have consequences. Foot odour is incredibly common when not wearing socks, but there are ways to combat this.
Keeping your feet clean and airing your shoes regularly can quickly combat a smelly foot, and you can always use a foot powder to aid bad smells. However, rubbing and blisters are something that cannot be combated without a little bit of thought. Buying good fitting shoes can help, but spending time breaking them in will also make them more comfortable to wear.
There is no way to end this debate, and there are so many ways that you can combat all the problems presented with either option.
How to Choose a Boat Shoe
Depending on what you want your Boat shoe for, there are a few different things to look for in a good Deck shoe.
If looking for a shoe to wear whilst out sailing, drainage is something you will really need to consider. If the shoe you are wearing doesn't drain well, then you will spend days sailing with very wet feet. It's also important to think about how they dry out when completely soaked. If they don't dry well and you want to wear them sailing, then it's really important to think about this.
With Fiberglass being one of the most common boat materials you will want to think about whether your shoe will scuff the fibreglass or not. Every boat owner takes pride in their vassal, and the last thing they want is it scuffed by a substandard shoe sole.
Thinking about the sole of your shoe may be the thing at the back of your mind, but it is important. If a shoe scuffs easily then it will wear out quickly, so it’s always worth thinking about the design of your shoe and what the sole is made of.
You may also want to think about the design of your shoe. Some shoes are laced whilst others are more like loafers and slip-on rather than lacing. Whilst this may be a smaller thing to think about, it will change the look of your shoe as well as how you will wear them and how easy it will be to take them on and off of your feet.
Boat shoes are made of either leather or canvas, and choosing a material will also be important when you are thinking about what function you want them for. The leather is a more formal option whilst canvas is more practical, so if you want a good-looking shoe it would be logical to buy a pair of leather Boat Shoes to go with your suit.
Now all that’s left is to choose the perfect pair of boat shoes for you. Take a look at our boat shoe reviews below.
Best Boat Shoes Review - Comparison Table
Hopefully, you were able to find the best boat shoes for you here. Whilst all these shoes have fantastic qualities, my personal recommendation would be the Seafarer Premium shoes.
These shoes have been designed for sailing, and have the sporting background to keep you safe and comfortable whilst out on the water. However, if you want a smart shoe then I would recommend the Timberland Classic shoe, this shoe is a lovely smart alternative, but defiantly too smart to soak.
What did you think of our boat shoe selection? Are there any that you would have added to the list? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.