The Top Boat Shoes of 2024 – Reviews by Hollywood Life – Hollywood Life

The Best Boat Shoes for Your Next Sail

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The existence of boat shoes came into being thanks to an ex-navy sailor named Paul Sperry and his dog. Sperry was trying to come up with a solution that could help him walk on slippery decks when he noticed his dog doing the same on winter ice. His dog's grooved paws gave him the idea to cut a similar pattern into a rubber sole, and that's how we got boat shoes. Today, the basic idea still stands, with some exceptions and enhancements.

Boat shoes are also known as topsiders and deck shoes. In the 1980s, boat shoes were associated with a preppy lifestyle, but not anymore! Lately, this style has been adopted by a large number of people and has become a classic wardrobe staple. Their construction and design make them great not only for boat decks but also as ideal footwear for summer adventures.

Whether you’re buying these shoes for boating reasons or as a fashion statement, you need to learn a few things about boat shoes first so you can get your money's worth. Our guide to the most popular boat shoes of 2024 has everything you need to know.

Comparing the Top Boat Shoes of 2024

Sperry Boat Shoes  —  Best Overall

With the legacy of developing effortless, classic products, Sperry's collection of hand-crafted boat shoes still dominates the market today. These boat shoes combine style and function, and in return, you get a durable shoe with a signature, 360-degree lacing system that includes rustproof eyelets for a tight, secure fit. These razor-cut soles offer the ultimate dry and wet traction, offering you comfort and durability on slick surfaces.

Featuring a shock-absorbing EVA heel cup, this pair of boat shoes work best as casual summer shoes. They have a hand-sewn, leather construction, making them a stylish alternative to regular walking shoes or canvas sneakers. Plus, you can pair these shoes with a casual button-down shirt and pants, then top off your outfit with a stylish pair of sunglasses and you're good to go! But that's not all. These shoes are great for sailing and when you want to chill out on the beach. We’ve chosen these shoes as our best overall pick because they're lightweight, flexible, and ideal for wearing near the water.


  • Comes with a synthetic sole
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • High-quality and long-lasting
  • Classic, timeless design


  • Soles stretch out a bit

Dockers Boat Shoes  —  Budget Pick

If you want a casual, classic look on a budget, the Dockers Boat Shoes are your go-to pick. They’re made of genuine hand-sewn leather, making them long-lasting and durable. The cushioned footbed and flexible construction give you an easy, nautical feel. The molded EVA heel cup offers maximum comfort, so much so that you can wear these shoes all day long. You can also pair these classic shoes with jeans, shorts, or khakis to add a touch of pizzazz to your daily outfit.

The sole offers traction on wet or slippery surfaces so you don't need to worry about slipping in the water. The width of the shoes is suitable for those with wide feet. Plus, it's available in a range of colors so you can mix and match these shoes with your wardrobe to get the perfect look.


  • Features a rubber outsole
  • Has a flexible construction
  • Durable and long-lasting build
  • Comes in a variety of sizes


  • Must be broken in

Dockers Beacon Boat Shoes  —  Best Water Protection

Made of leather with a rubber sole, the Dockers Beacon Boat Shoes feature a revolutionary stain and a new water guard that withstands liquids, preventing your shoes and feet from getting wet. In addition to sea water, you don't have to worry about spills or stains while wearing these shoes. Plus, the double goring on each side makes these shoes easy to pull on and take off without any issues.

These shoes feature NeverWet technology, which creates water-resistant wear, preventing you from falling and slipping. Available in a variety of brown hues, these shoes are the perfect sport-inspired shoes to pair with jeans, shorts, or khakis to achieve a laid-back look. Plus, the footbed has been treated to promote good foot health and prevent odor. The lightweight EVA outsole helps provide flexibility and comfort. If you're fond of water-based activities or fishing, then these shoes are a must-have.


  • Insoles are removable
  • Features a speed lacing mechanism
  • Available in several styles and hues


  • May be a bit high maintenance

Columbia Boat Shoes  —  Most Causal

Made with 100% rubber, the Columbia Boat Shoes can resist heavy use and rough terrain. The midsole of the shoes is comfortable, providing cushion for your heels and helping you take each step with confidence. There are ports around the midsole that regulate the flow of air and water, which makes it easy to dry off the shoes and adds to their breathability.

The lightweight rubber construction used in the manufacturing of these shoes makes them lightweight and comfortable to wear. Secure grip and an adjustable fit make these shoes stable on wet surfaces. Plus, they feature an Omni-Shield design that keeps your shoes dry and clean, resisting liquid absorption. These shoes are lightweight, long-lasting, and comfortable, making them a worthy investment.


  • Soles offer a secure grip
  • Lace-up closure
  • Available in various colors
  • Durable midsole build


  • A bit narrow for wide feet

Timberland Boat Shoes  —  Best Value

Inspired by a laid-back lifestyle at sea, the Timberland Boat Shoes have a timeless appearance and a sturdy construction with a 360-degree lacing system. The brand is known for their high quality, so you know you’re getting the best value for your money. These shoes have a secure fit and a stable grip. The grippy rubber outsole offers optimal traction on wet or slippery surfaces, while the hand-sewn leather upper offers an attractive yet functional build.

Whether you’re boating or taking a leisurely walk down the street, you'll find these shoes comfortable. The best part is that you'll find them in a range of colors to match your outfits.


  • Environmentally-friendly design
  • Low, comfortable heel
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Feature a rustproof outsole


  • Insole support could be better

Buying Guide: Boat Shoes

If you've been at sea soaking up the sun and water you know the importance of a good pair of boat shoes. A sturdy pair of these waterproof shoes will not only save you from personal discomfort, but also ensure your safety on slippery docks. Boat shoes have evolved a long way since they first came out. Now you can find these shoes in a range of stylish, comfortable, and functional colors and designs.

In this section, we'll go over important information that will help you select the right boat shoes for your needs.

What Are the Top Features To Consider?

Here are the important factors you should consider before buying a pair of boat shoes:

Waterproofing ability

This is the entire reason for getting boat shoes, right? You need to make sure that the waterproofing ability of the shoes you’re buying is top-notch. You won't be able to avoid splashes and seawater sprays while you’re on the boat, so it's best to make sure that the shoes are completely waterproof, not water-repellent or water-resistant.

They should also be breathable and quick-drying so you can enjoy maximum comfort. Wet footwear will make you feel unstable, uncomfortable, and ultimately unsafe, so this factor should be your top priority.


It might take some time to break your boat shoes in. That said, it's important to find the right fit since you'll be wearing these shoes without socks. Boat shoes will fit the same as your normal shoes but you should choose a pair that feels a little snug because, with time, they'll stretch out and become a bit loose. Experts recommend going half a size down from your regular size. If you're in between sizes, then go for the smaller one. This is more important if you don't plan to wear socks with them. Make sure the heel doesn't move too much otherwise it may cause shoe-induced blisters.

If you have the option to try out the shoes, make sure that they're free of tight areas that may chafe your feet.

Grip and traction

Grip and traction are the two factors that are essential in helping you maintain your balance on wet ground. This is important because you'll be walking on slippery or wet surfaces. The soles should have a tread pattern to give you a better grip.

Make sure that your boat shoes are durable enough for you to walk on sand or uneven surfaces while keeping your feet comfortable and protected. Your soles should have excellent grip and traction above all else.


When it comes to boat shoes, there isn't any right or wrong material. Each material has certain pros and cons. But finding the right one for your needs can be a bit difficult. You'll find boat shoes in leather, mesh, and canvas, among other materials.

If you're getting shoes for wearing on the boat and not just for fashion, make sure that the material is quick-drying. This will not only ensure your comfort but also guarantee good hygiene by preventing mold and mildew growth due to dampness. The material should also be lightweight. This corresponds to how well it drains because wet and soggy shoes will only weigh you down.

Whether you’re going with leather, canvas, or any other type of material, you need to pick one that feels the most comfortable and natural to you.

Choosing a Pair of Comfortable Boat Shoes

You're going to spend a major chunk of your day wearing these shoes so they better be comfortable! Otherwise, your entire trip will be ruined. The material should be breathable so your toes and heels don't feel hot or uncomfortable. This will also prevent sweating, which can cause bad odor.

To find comfortable shoes, look for ones that have internal padding. This will prevent your feet from chafing and make it easier for you to walk for a longer time. Plus, if you buy shoes that are comfortable, you'll want to wear them more.