The boat shoe used to be designed for the sole purpose of being practical. A shoe that you could wear while you were on deck that would stop you from slipping, these days though they are seen as much more of a fashion item with all the top brands getting involved.

We thought we’d try and find the best boat shoes on the market and have looked through the best boat shoes reviews in order to find them. There are many different factors such as fit, style, durability and traction to consider before you can choose the best.

Here we have developed a buying guide to help you through the process to find the top rated deck shoes. So read on to make sure that you’re getting the best deck shoes for you that will keep you safe and make you look great in the process.

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How To Choose The Best Boat Shoes – Buying Guide

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Fit

Clearly fit is a vital part of any shoe and with boat shoes you want to ensure that they are a great fit due to traction and grip being such an important part of the shoe. All shoes should fit comfortably or you could find yourself with plenty of foot problems such as sore feet or blisters. Having shoes that don’t fit properly can ruin your day which is exactly what you don’t want when you’re out there on a boat.

There is a line of those that you can wear in shoes and this is true to an extent but this is not a situation you want to be in when you’re going to be out there all day. If you have the option of two shoe sizes and one is going to feel a bit tight and the other will feel a little loose, then it’s better going for the option that will feel a little looser. Boat shoes have plenty of lace that will allow you to have a great fit so that the shoes stay securely on your feet.

One way to ensure a great fit for your shoes is to get them from a reputable shoe brand. There is a reason why some shoemakers become a lot bigger than others, as it all starts with quality. All the brands that we have listed here have a reputation for making great shoes. That’s important as it gives you a level of trust knowing that it will be a well-made product. Many people have made the mistake of buying poorly made shoes thinking they’d be okay, only to find their feet hurting after only a short period. Wearing shoes from a well-known company will not only give you a better chance of your shoes fitting properly, but also lasting for a long time as well.

Another aspect when it comes to fit with boat shoes is whether or not to wear socks. This is something that you have to bear in mind before buying them as if you regularly wear thick socks then buying the same size boat shoe might not be the best idea. You need to determine where you’re going to be wearing the shoe and whether you’ll be wearing socks or not.

If you’re the type of person whose feet can get sore quickly, then you will also want to look for additional features for your boat shoe such as padding under the foot and at the collar of the shoe. This will give you extra protection and an extra level of comfort as well.

Once you have your shoes then it’s important, as it is with any shoe, to break them in so you avoid being uncomfortable. If you’re going to be out all day on the boat or out all night, then wearing new shoes might leave your feet with some problems. Before that you should try to wear them for shorter periods before wearing them for a full day.

Style

There is a reason that boat shoes have become so fashionable and it has a lot to do with their style. Most of the shoes have very similar design features as most are made with a leather sole with the rest of the shoe being made out of leather. They have a moccasin toe with the cross laces over the top and the two eyelets across the side.

With that design look comes a lot of different tips about where you could wear boat shoes and what you should wear them with. One of them is the sock question which we will expand on later but thankfully there are plenty of ‘invisible’ socks out now which can give people the best of both worlds in that respect. There are plenty of other bits of common advice though when it comes to boat shoes and style.

One of the biggest is where can you wear them? A clue in the name suggests, these are shoes that are made to work well while you’re out there on a boat. There are though other situation when it’s acceptable to wear them such as is you’re at the beach, out on your travels or wearing to them to the office if you have a more casual dress code. The only place when they don’t really work is more formal occasions when you’re wearing a suit and in the winter as then they would look out of place.

They are a dynamic shoe style-wise and look equally great if you’re wearing jeans or if you’re wearing shorts. They also suit people who are wearing chinos so they really are a shoe for most occasions, except when you need to look at for best at a smart-dress occasion.

Smart-casual is a term that confuses a lot of people but there aren’t many fashion items that define the term quite like the boat shoe. They are smart and stylish but lack the proper formality of an office shoe or the type you’d wear to a black tie event. Colors on the brown scale are by far the most popular choice when it comes to boat shoes and they go with many outfits, other colors are available and you just need to ensure that these match your outfit.

Once you have everything worked out in terms of the styling of your boat shoe, then you want to make sure that you know how to tie them correctly. The laces on a boat shoe can be a lot different to other shoes so you could do with learning a new way to tie them above your usual method. That usual method is fine as long as you have enough lace but there are other options such as a fishtail knot and a barrel know which might look a little smarter.

While you might be looking at boat shoes so that you don’t slip off on the surface of a boat, they are also a dynamic shoe that can be used for many different occasions and can fit into many different styles, so you are sure to find something that suits you.

Size

Size seems like an obvious part of buying a shoe but for some it’s more important than others. It’s possible that you will be on your feet all day and be doing a manual task so the size of the shoes is very important.

When considering what size is best for you there are a few important aspects to consider. Firstly you will want to make sure that there’s a little bit of space between your big toe and the top of your shoes, about half an inch, as this will ensure that there is enough movement in the shoes so that your shoes don’t rub.

In terms of the ball of your foot, this should be able to fit snugly into the widest part of your shoe. If it feels like it is pinching the widest part of your foot then it’s likely that you need a shoe in a bigger size. Obviously the greatest test for this is when you’re walking as there shouldn’t be any tightness or gaps in the foot, if there is then you should look into getting another size as well.

Finally, when you’re wearing the shoe the back should be pressed against for ankle but not too tightly. If it’s loose then this will cause movement in the shoe which in turn can cause blisters. If your foot moves around like this then you clearly have a shoe that’s too small. Is should be tight to your ankle but without feeling restrictive.

If you’re hesitant about buying shoes online then you shouldn’t be. Places like Amazon have specified sizing guides which will show you whether you are buying the correct size and there is also generally plenty of information in the reviews and questions section. If you’re not happy with the size or fit of your shoes then you can send them back and get the next size up or down until you find the perfect size for you.

Durability

Boat shoes have to be well-made and hard wearing due to the amount of punishment that they take and the conditions that they are subjected to. If you’re on a boat then your shoes are going to be used a lot and will be exposed to the harsh conditions that saltwater can bring. If you’re off the boat then you obviously still want them to be very well made.

One of the greatest parts of most boat shoes is that they are made out of leather which is a notoriously strong substance. This will last you for years but they still need a bit of care and attention every now and again. The uppers are generally treated so that they are able to repel water and also be stain proof as well, so this is an important aspect to look out for when buying your boat shoe.

Another feature to look out for is with the eyelets. They’ll probably be the only feature of the shoe that is going to be made out of metal so you want to make sure that they are resistant to the corrosion that can come with saltwater. Otherwise you could be left with a good looking boat shoe but with eyelets that are rusting away. The laces are often made out of leather too which makes them stronger than most.

When it comes to any form of shoes, their durability is in the stitching so you want to ensure that this is to the highest of standards. Having a hand-stitched shoe from a top brand is perhaps the greatest way of ensuring this but it’s also important to check the product reviews and see what other people are saying about the quality of the shoe.

Water Resistance

If you’re on a boat and you’re wearing shoes that absorb water and don’t dry quickly then it could make for a very uncomfortable experience as you could find that your feet are constantly wet which is the exact reason why you need boat shoes to overcome the problem.

Boat shoes do this in one of two ways. Either they have shoes that are meant to resist and moisture from seeping in or they have the type that will allow water to come in but then dry very quickly. The former will do this by being made out of water-resistant leather than the latter will do this by having mesh at the sides of the shoe.

Leather has a good amount of natural water resistance already as it is hard for any moisture to come through it. With boat shoes, this leather is generally treated with a special oil that coats it to ensure its water resistance. The disadvantage to this though is that if water comes over the top of your shoe then there is nowhere for it to go.

Mesh uppers take a different approach as water can come into the shoe easily if it goes beyond the sole so there isn’t really any water resistance at all. What there is though is the ability to dry very quickly and obviously the water will run out of the shoe as soon as it comes in as there is nowhere for it to settle.

Which option you choose is a personal preference and if you’re not going to be treading through any water then it’s best to go for the leather shoe. If you’re working hard while you’re on a boat then a mesh shoe will dry quickly but also allow your foot to have a lot more breathing space as well.

Performance

When you talk about boat shoes then there has to be a performance element in the form of their ability to do their primary job. In terms of boat shoes that job is being able to feel comfortable while you are walking around a boat and more importantly having enough traction so that you won’t slip on slippery boat surfaces.

You might though be looking at boat shoes from strictly a fashion point of view, then you won’t care too much about how they perform in wet conditions as long as they look good and last you for a long time. Whatever reason that you want a boat show, they have got their name because they are made for being on boats and due to that they are made to perform.

In terms of performance you want your boat shoes to have a rubber sole and a high level of traction. This will ensure that you don’t slip while you’re on deck but you also want your shoes to perform in other ways too. If you’re sailing for example you want a shoe that is not going to restrict your movement and one that will feel comfortable for the whole day. There is also no point having shoes that perform if they break easily so having well-made shoes is also paramount. If you’re looking for these performance factors then boat shoes are best used without socks as this will prevent your foot from slipping while you’re wearing them.

Grip And Traction

The reason that all boat shoes have rubber soles is so that they offer enough traction and grip while you’re on the boat. When you add water to the smooth surfaces that are on most boats then you get a surface that most shoes can’t really cope with. Due to this it’s vital that your boat shoes offer more grip that will be found on your average shoe.

The decks of boats get wet, that’s a fact and something that everyone has to consider. Due to this there are a few important tips to ensure that you’re getting the best possible traction you can so that you’re staying safe at all times.

One of the first considerations and it seems like an obvious one, is to get a shoe that won’t come off. If you’re working around the boat then there may be times where you’re putting stress on your feet and applying pressure points on certain areas such as going up and down ladders or using your feet for leverage. You need to make sure that the heel of the shoe is tight to your ankle and doesn’t slip off, also not wearing socks will add to the grip of your shoe.

Having smooth rubber on the sole wouldn’t be ideal. You can imagine the bottom of your shoe to be like a car tire. You might see it in racing where they have the smooth tires and this is because it’s going to be a dry track, as soon as the rain comes when they will have tires with tracks and grooves which are there to clear away the water. When looking at shoes you need to see the same thing, tracks on the sole so it can push out the water so you can make contact with the surface properly.

On the outsole you can often find a softer rubber which will give you additional grip as well on the sides of your feet. This softer rubber will spread out slightly upon impact and make a large surface area in which to grip from. When you’re looking for soles though you want to make sure they are not going to mark your boat. Thankfully the soft rubber of boat shoes generally does a great job of not leaving a mark.

While you may look at these boat shoes and be tempted to pick them on style alone, you also need to think about exactly what you’re going to be using them for. If you’re going to be active around a boat then grip and traction come before style because it doesn’t matter how good you look if you’re slipping all over the place while you’re out at sea.

FAQs

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Q: Can I Wear Sock With Boat Shoes?

A: A lot of this question comes down to where you are going to be wearing your shoes and the conditions that you are going to find yourself in. Boat shoes are very well made and have become fashionable over the years. Due to this they can be worn on a number of different occasions including more formal places off the boat.

If you are going to be wearing them in more formal surrounding while you’re off the boat then these shoes can be worn with socks and wouldn’t look out of place in your outfit. They look great with jeans and chinos and especially if these are long then there is nothing to say that you shouldn’t be wearing socks.

Boat shoes though are generally seen as a summer shoe and therefore are won with different types of clothing such as pants that have been rolled up, three quarter length pants and shots. With all of these fashion items, wearing socks would look out of place. You may be sitting there though thinking that you think you’d be more comfortable in stocks. This is where those no-show socks can be a lifesaver as you can wear socks over your feet but they won’t be shown above your show.

The general rule with boat shoes is that you shouldn’t wear them with socks with the two fashion exceptions being if you’re wearing long pants or if you just can’t see them. If you’re wearing full-length socks though with shorts, then you might as well prepare yourself to be laughed at as it’s not going to be a great look for you.

There is also a safety and comfort consideration while you’re on a boat as well. Firstly, if you’re working while out at the sea then there is a good chance that you’re going to be getting your feet wet at some point. Wet socks are not ideal as they won’t dry quickly, keep your feet damp and will make you a lot more prone to blisters and sore feet.

Secondly, socks make it easier for your feet to slip in and out of a show. While this may be seen as a good thing if you just want to throw some shoes on and walk around town, if you’re on a boat then the only way that you want your shoes to come off is if you specifically untie them yourself. Therefore not wearing socks is safer.

It’s quite clear then that if you’re on a boat then you should not be wearing socks. Not only will you look better but your feet won’t have as many problems and the shoe will sit a lot more securely on your foot. If you’re off the boat, then think about getting some socks that can’t be seen over your shoe if you’re wearing pants that will expose your ankles, but if you’re wearing long pants then you can get away with wearing socks.

Q: How Can I Make My Boat Shoe More Comfortable?

A: Boat shoes are made to be comfortable, they generally are made out of soft leather and have a molded EVA base for added levels of comfort. If your boat shoes are uncomfortable then it could be that you have the wrong sized shoe or you need to replace your old ones. There may be times though if you are using them for a long time or if you have issues with your feet when you need to make your shoes a lot more comfortable.

If you’re not going to be around water then wearing socks, either short or otherwise, could add an extra level of comfort but if you’re looking for more support at the bottom of your shoe then you could invest in a pair of inserts into your shoe which would be able to shape to your feet and offer you a greater level of comfort. These would also dry quickly so could easily be worn with boat shoes in all circumstances.

Q: Are Boat Shoes And Water Shoes The Same Thing?

A: There is a huge difference between boat shoes and water shoes and they were made for two very different occasions. Boat shoes aren’t suitable for being in the water and water shoes aren’t going to be suitable for being in and around a boat as they don’t offer the same levels of protection.

The clue really is in the title. Boat shoes are made for being on a boat as they have soles with a lot of traction which is going to prevent you from slipping and falling. Water shoes are meant to be used while you’re in the water or shoes if there is a high chance that you’re going to be in the water.

Water shoes aren’t very stylish as they are meant for a highly practical purpose of allowing you to walk in the water. They don’t contain any leather and are made from a fine mesh material. They could technically be used on a boat but that’s not what they were made for and they are not ideal for walking any significant distance out of the water.

Q: How Should I Clean My Boat Shoes?

A: If you’re actively out and about on your boat then it’s inevitable that they are going to get dirty over time. There is the natural dirt on the boat as well as the saltwater that will come into contact with your boat shoes.

Therefore, it’s important that you clean your boat shoes on a regular basis if you want them to last for a long time. There are quite a few tips when it comes to cleaning your boat shoes but also making sure that they are well looked after so that they last as long as possible.

Caring for the leather is obviously paramount as even though it’s a tough material, it still needs protection from the elements. With your leather you can shine them with a shoe polish which will help to not only protect them from the elements but keep them looking great as well. This only works with smooth leather and it’s important to always check that you’re using the right product,

You want to make sure that any material isn’t left sitting on your shoes such as salt deposits and general dirt. These can be easily brushed off with a soft brush. If your shoes are made out of leather as most boat shoes are then you won’t be able to machine wash them. Instead, hand soap should be used to make sure that they are not being damaged.

When drying your shoes they shouldn’t be left in direct sunlight and obviously they can’t be placed in a machine dryer. Just allowing them to naturally air dry is the best solution. Boat shoes are usually very durable but it’s important to keep them as clean as possible to prolong their life.

Q: Will Saltwater Ruin My Leather Boat Shoes?

A: Saltwater is responsible for a lot of bad things and is synonymous with creating rust which is something that all boats have to protect against. Rust is also a consideration with your boat shoes as well due to the small amount of metal that is on them. There is also the consideration with your leather though as well as you want to make sure that it’s not going to ruin your stylish new shoes.

Thankfully it is a tough material so the salt water won’t ruin your shoes, not quickly at least. Saltwater though isn’t the greatest thing for any material which is why it’s important to take good care of your boat shoes by cleaning them with clean water and occasionally treating the leather with polish to maintain their water resistant qualities and look.

Globo Surf Overview

While you may be there considering which are the best sunglasses to wear while you’re out sailing or what type of shorts are going to look best on you, while you’re on the boat there is nothing more important than what is on your feet.

The style is obviously important to a lot of people, but not more important than safety which is what boat shoes were made for. They were meant to give you traction and grip on what are generally quite slippery surfaces so you can go about your day without being in danger of falling.

Thankfully all the marine shoes that we have looked at here provide a high level of safety so you can start to think a little bit more about which boat shoes are going to look the best on you. Whether you’re looking for sport boat shoes or mens boat shoes there are a range of different shoes which all look great. Other articles that you might be interested in kids water shoes, jandals, waterproof cameras, waterproof mp3 players and waterproof fitness trackers.

These types were originally created as Sperry shoes for men but plenty of other brands have no brought out their own version which has made for a very competitive market. When buying your men boat shoes it’s important to ensure that you are choosing the right size as this is important when you’re moving around the boat. You don’t want them to be too loose that they could fall off or too tight that they could cause blisters. It’s also important to choose which type of water resistance you ant as well with either the treated leather that will keep water out or the mesh that will dry quickly and be more breathable.

When you have your shoe then you can be happy knowing that you look great and you won’t be slipping either. Boat shoes aren’t just for boats anymore and you will see many people wear them when they are relaxing by a pool and you’ll see plenty at the beach as well. Not only that but they are now a fashion item that can be worn for many smart-casual occasion.

Whatever the reason you want to buy a boat shoe, they are a great item to have and hopefully this buying guide will help you with your choice and has answered any question you have so that you can pick the best boat shoe for you.

More Boat Reviews:

Globo Surf Boat Shoes Review

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I love your selection of shoes. Stylish, elegant, yet comfortable and convenient. Great choice!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!