Best boat shoes for sailing: From leather moccasins to high-tech deck trainers

Ask any two sailors about their favourite boat shoes and the answers are likely to vary as widely as the craft they sail. Rupert Holmes and Phil Sampson take a look at some of the best deck shoes on the market.


Staying safe while looking good is not always possible in today’s hi-vis health and safety conscious world. Happily though there’s plenty of footwear manufacturers out there who have succeeded in bucking the trend with shoes which are not only super-safe in potentially hazardous environments but tick all the fashion boxes too. And best of all, nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to boat shoes.

The marine scene poses a number of unique footwear challenges. Firstly, there’s the question of how well they perform in both wet and dry conditions – will the uppers keep you snug and warm when it’s raining, for example, or will they overheat your toes on one of those hot and sunny summer days?

Slip resistance is vital too, for there’s no point in having boat shoes which turn heads if they also turn into a pair of skates whenever the deck gets swamped by a wave. Don’t forget that non-marking soles are also essential if the ire of the boat owner is to be avoided.

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