Sue Pelling picks out 7 of the best boat shoes suitable for sailors with wide feet from the likes of Chatham, Sperry and Marks & Spencer...
As someone who suffers the perils of wide feet and, who has consequently spent years searching for the ultimate pair of comfy boat shoes, I have to admit it’s been a struggle, particularly trying to find boat shoes for wide feet that are not too clunky looking.
The size discrepancies between different footwear manufacturers sometimes helped; some with a slightly wider fit, but generally going up a size, or even choosing the men’s version to allow for the extra width were the only options.
Thankfully however, marine shoe companies have recognised the demand and are now beginning to manufacture wide fit options. Although they are still few and far between, particularly for women, there is a definite shift in the right direction. Sperry is one of the few companies to manufacture wide fit sailing shoes specifically for women, and they look good too.
On a personal note, although leading deck shoe brands Wuzzos, and Chatham don’t currently stock wide fit sizes specifically for women, I have found the Chatham Pippa and the Pacific Lady in the G2 range, and also the Wuzzos Whitakers to be by far the most comfortable women’s boat shoes for my wide feet.
Obtaining the correct fit for comfort for a shoe that will inevitably be worn all day on and off the water is very important. As well as the discomfort of ill fitting, tight shoes, you may find pinching on pressure points of the feet leads to blisters, corns, hammer toe and, worst case, speed up the onset of conditions such as bunions.
As a rough guide when trying on shoes, offer up the sole of the shoe against the sole of your foot and you’ll get an instant idea of whether the shoe fits the foot. Also, if boat shoes are to be used for sailing and not just as a general pair of shoes, it is essential to choose a pair of boat shoes specifically designed for sailing that offer good grip and have non-marking soles.
7 of the best boat shoes for wide feet
Men’s boat shoes
Chatham Men’s Rockwell II G2 – Leather Wide Fit Boat Shoes
Chatham has come up with the men’s Rockwell II – a wide fit version within its bestselling G2 collection. These are Chatham’s only wide fit-specific shoes available but are an increasingly popular option.
As with all Chatham’s deck shoes, they are manufactured using hand-stitched, premium leather and are available in three colourways – Navy Blue/Dark Seahorse, Walnut, Dark Seahorse.
These robust-looking classic deck shoes feature one-piece leather laces that run continuously around the top of the shoes to ensure a snug fit.
They also boasts Chatham’s new sole spring poron performance cushioning, which Chatham says is anti-bacterial and offers maximum comfort and shock absorption.
These shoes are available in a good range of sizes from UK 6-15, including 7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5, and have a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
RRP: £120 / $180
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Dubarry Regatta ‘ExtraFit’ Deck Shoe
Dubarry’s wide fit option is the Regatta ‘ExtraFit’ Deck Shoe, which comes in a range of sizes from 40-48 (UK 6.5 – 14), and two colourways – Navy or Donkey.
These stylish, canoe front deck shoes are manufactured using a combination of water resistant ‘DryFast-DrySoft’ nubuck, leather and fabric.
Together with Dubarry’s distinctive port and starboard coloured flash detail on the topsides, these shoes make for that all-important eye-catching, sporty look.
Dubarry says that the durable bi-colour cup soles provide superior traction, lateral stability and flexibility, which are real plus points when looking for ideal wide-fit boat shoes.
And the full-length leather removable footbed for underfoot offers ultimate comfort and stability.
Although we’ve not tried or tested them, these shoes look be suitable for both men and women. They look robust and comfortable for sailing, yet appear stylish enough to wear with shorts or chinos.
RRP: £139 / $199
Marks & Spencer Wide Fit Leather Boat Shoes Men
M&S is not a company that immediately springs to mind when searching for deck shoes but there is no doubt, these particular brown leather men’s shoes tick many boxes.
Not only are they wide fit, but also at £59 they are exceptionally good value for money.
According to Marks & Spencer, the shoes are manufactured using responsibly sourced leather, which ties in with the company’s ethics that all M&S leather products support sustainable manufacturing via the Leather Working Group.
These classic-looking boat shoes certainly look the part and offer that all-important wide fit option, as well as great value for money.
It is important to remember they are not made specifically for sailing but for general use. However, M&S marketing department assures us the soles ‘are made from a moulded TPR (Thermal Plastic Rubber)’.
RRP: £59 / $105
Sperry Men’s Sea Kite Sport Mocs
These Men’s Sea Kite Sport Mocs are available in US sizes 8-13 and retail at $109.95.
These classic three-eye boat shoes are Sperry’s sporty looking option for high performance use. Features include water resistant leather/mesh uppers, and a removable full-length compression molded EVA footbed.
The soles are built for purpose with non-marking, adaptive ‘wave-siping’ that Sperry says disperses water underfoot to keep you dry and comfortable all day long.
Orca Bay Fowey (Wide-Fit) Deck Shoes
The stigma attached to wide fit boat shoes is the fact that they have the potential of looking rather clunky and unattractive.
Thankfully, with more and more customers understanding the importance of good fit shoes, companies like Orca Bay have come up with fine-tuned versions to cleverly disguise wide fit options.
For example the Orca Bay Fowey (Wide-Fit) Deck Shoes for men that have been designed and made from a wider last, yet looks just as stylish as their ‘normal fit’ counterparts.
Double and hand-stitched using the finest leather, with full leather insoles, rawhide leather laces and salt-resistant, rust-proof eyelets, these Canoe-cut moccasins are right up there as far quality goes.
As you’d expect, Orca Bay Fowey boat shoes have non-marking, non-slip rubber soles, which makes them ideal for deck use as well as casual footwear.
Although the Wuzzos Whitaker boat shoes are not marketed as wide fit, they are definitely worth investigating. Having scoured the market for wide fit women’s deck shoes, I was intrigued to see how Wuzzos – the relatively new marine deck shoe specialists – faired in the search for comfort and style for my broader than average feet.
I was not disappointed. They not only perform well thanks to the bonded performance UV-repelling rubber non-marking, siped tread soles, but also the Whitakers are arguably the most cosy deck shoes I’ve worn.
Even from the outset, without socks, these shoes instantly seemed to mould to my feet thanks to the extremely soft, quality leather.
The leather is also infused with ‘Micro-Fresh’ – a smart antimicrobial technology that offers antifungal and antibacterial protection – to keep the feet fresh.
Women’s boat shoes
Sperry Women’s Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoe
The Linen Oat-coloured Sperry Women’s Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoes really do tick all the boxes as classic, wide-fit, women’s sailing shoes.
Not only do they look good, thanks to the stain and water-resistant hand-stitched, nubuck upper with air mesh breathable panels, but also these boat shoes have been designed for ultimate comfort with features that include padded tongue and moulded EVA cushion midsoles.
As with all quality deck shoes, the Sperry Women’s Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoes have rust-proof eyelets and a continuous ‘360° lacing system’ which helps to ensure a snug fit.
Making sure the shoes fit well around the top where the laces are is important to help reduce the risk of losing a shoe overboard, particularly in high-activity areas on deck.
As should be the case with all purpose-designed boat shoes, these Sperry shoes come with non-marking rubber outsole with ‘Wave-Siping’, which the company says offers the ultimate wet/dry traction.
RRP: £133 / $168
Check out more women’s boat shoes with our essential guide.
Looking for more protection? Check out our guide to the best waterproof boat shoes on the market right now.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.