When picking the best boat shoes, you face a choice between traditional moccasins that look the part but lack support and cushioning, or modern deck trainers that cover the sporty angle but are not understated. Is there a happy medium?

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 the best 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.

Then there’s the question of what type of boat shoe do you actually want in terms of their form and function. Here, the choice extends way beyond the traditional and much loved leather deck shoe through to latest-generation trainer style footwear made of super-fast drying materials and sporting all manner of performance enhancing features from in-built impact-reducing cushioning to water-repelling sole designs.

To help you pick your way through the mire of footwear choice, we’ve selected the best boat shoes out there right now for you to consider. From entry-level standards to stylish top-end selections, we’ve gone for some of the shoes we believe will deliver excellent service out on the water come what may. Keep reading for our pick of the best traditional deck shoes, or use the links below to jump to more specific sections.

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Traditional boat shoes

Crew Austell deck shoe

Best traditional deck shoe

The Austell deck shoe is about as traditional a deck shoe as you can get. Featuring 100% chocolate brown leather uppers and non-slip rubber soles, these shoes have been crafted to look great on and off the boat.

In creating its Austell deck shoe, Crew Clothing have paid total respect to the enduring appeal of this long-time design classic. So don’t expect anything fancy, it won’t be there.

But what you do get in return for your investment are a high quality pair of shoes built for purpose and built to last.

Reasons to buy: 100% leather, Non-slip; Look great on and off the boat; High quality

Reasons to avoid: A long-time classic, so don’t expect anything fancy

RRP: £79

Buy it now on crewclothing.co.uk

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Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

Dubarry XLT deck shoes

Dubarry Commodore XLT

Best lightweight boat shoes

YM editor Theo Stocker has been putting Dubarry’s Commodore XLT moccasin boat shoes through their paces for a few months now.

He believes they represent a happy medium between traditional moccasins and their sporty competitors.

Theo says: ‘Their key selling point is that they are, as the name suggests, extra light. In fact, they are roughly half the weight of my previous boat shoes.

‘Despite this, they still have a good degree of cushioning in the sole and are firm enough to give my foot some support, with the three-hole lacing keeping them secure on my foot.’

Reasons to buy: Extra-light, good cushioning, three-hole lacing

Reasons to avoid: Expensive, May prefer a stronger shoe for more support

YM tested – Dubarry Commodore XLT review

RRP: £169 / $199

Buy it now on eBay

Buy it now on Dubarry.com

Chatham Sperrin winter boat shoe

Hardy but breathable boat shoes

Chatham Sperrin boat shoes

Best winter boat shoes

The Sperrin Winter Boat Shoe is Chatham’s twist on its classic boat shoe, featuring three eyelet laces, contrast stitching detail, side laces and a heavy cleated sole for additional traction on slippery pontoons.

One of the key selling features is the sole spring poron insole, which promises to be cushioning, supportive, breathable and anti-bacterial.

Our tester wore them over several months and can vouch that they give their feet good all-round support, and the leather lacing kept them securely in place.

‘The eyelets are robust, which I have been impressed with as often this has been the first thing to go on previous pairs of boat shoes,’ they add.

Reasons to buy: Good all-round support, Sole spring poron insole – offers cushion, breathability and anti-bacterial; Robust eyelets; Available in UK sizes 6-15

Reasons to avoid: Thick leather takes a while to wear in

YM tested – Chatham Sperrin review

RRP: £89 / $62

Buy it now from Amazon

Buy it now from chatham.co.uk

Buy Sperrin Lady boat shoes from chatham.co.uk

Sebago Dockside Portland

Sebago Portland boat shoes

Best classic boat shoes

This classic-style boat shoe from US shoe brand Sebago is probably of greatest interest to the active sailor.

It’s constructed to be long-lasting and made from unique hot-stuff buffed leather conditioned with oils and waxes.

There are a variety of colour and material options too, making it easier to pick the best boat shoe for your needs.

Each pair is hand-stitched and features non-marking anti-slip soles, designed to offer stable grip in all conditions.

Reasons to buy: Long-lasting, Variety of colour and material options, hand-stitched, Non-marking anti-slip soles

Reasons to avoid: Expensive, the insole only covers 2/3rds of the foot (leaving toes and ball of foot on leather)

YM tested – Sebago Portland review

RRP: £115 / $123

Buy it now on Amazon

Sebago Mapple

Sebago Dockside Mapple boat shoes

Best all-round boat shoes

Sebago’s summer range of boat shoes come in a variety of colour options and materials.

These hand-sewn deckies have a leather sock lining, 360° rawhide lacing and non-marking anti-slip rubber soles.

They are pricey but Sebago’s shoes have proven to be of consistently high quality and among the best boat shoes available.

For us, you can’t beat the traditional leather for a good quality boat shoe. The Mapple is our favourite of the new boat shoe designs – we’ll probably steer clear of the suede options…

Reasons to buy: Leather sock lining, Non-marking anti-slip, 360° rawhide lacing

Reasons to avoid: Expensive, Steer clear of the suede option

RRP: £115 / $114

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Buy it now from tradeinn.com

Sebago Portland Lea: boat shoes

Sebago Portland Lea Oiled boat shoes

Best summer boat shoes

Made from oiled leather, which promises to make them strong, these boat shoes are available in a two-tone tan brown and black with contrast stitching, writes John Stickland. After wearing them regularly, they barely show any signs of distress or cracking, and the stitching is all still intact.

The oiled treatment means even after wearing them in the rain, and while sailing, where they got regularly drenched in spray, the leather cleaned up really well, with no marks or stains and was still soft.

The leather sock lining makes the shoes comfortable enough to wear with or without socks, even when new, and I experienced no rubbing. There is extra cushioning to protect your instep arch, giving good support. A full-grain leather collar also helps keep your foot firmly in the shoe when barefoot.

Reasons to buy: Hard wearing, comfortable fit, available in UK sizes 5.5-11.5

Reasons to avoid: Expensive

YM tested – Sebago Portland Lea review

RRP: £120/$132

Buy the Sebago Portland Lea from Amazon (UK)

Tribord 500 women's shoe

Decathlon Tribord 500

Best value boat shoes

The Tribord range at Decathlon has impressed the Yachting Monthly team in other tests – notably their coastal waterproofs. These leather boat shoes are developed for inshore sailing in dry weather conditions.

Non-marking with a non-slip micro-grooved natural rubber outsole, these boat shoes are made in Portugal. The leather and accessories have been coated with a water-repellent treatment to resist saltwater.

Available in men’s and women’s versions and foggy blue or navy colours.

Reasons to buy: Non-marking with a non-slip micro-grooved natural rubber outsole, Coated with a water-repellent treatment to resist saltwater, Great price

Reasons to avoid: Developed for dry weather conditions, may not be suitable for more intense conditions

RRP: £39.99 / $37

Buy it now on Decathlon (UK)

But it now on Decathlon (US)

best-boat-shoes-chatham-galley-II

Chatham Galley II men’s leather boat shoes

Best athletic deck shoe

Available in five colourways, including a distinctive navy and tan option, the Chatham Galley II comes in whole sizes from 6 to 12.

Chatham tell us its Galley II design is athletic-inspired, and with its sporty looks and use of contrasting materials and colours, we can see exactly what they mean.

The Galley II also has anti-bacterial Sole Spring Poron performance cushioning for shock absorption and maximum comfort. Completing the picture inside the shoe, and enhancing its overall quality appeal, is a textile lining.

Reasons to buy: Wide range of colours and sizes; Anti-bacterial sole with shock absorption and comfort; Athletic

Reasons to avoid: Lace isn’t designed to be replaceable

RRP: £69 / $110

Buy it now from chatham.co.uk

Buy it now on Amazon

Tribord Sailing 500 boat shoes

Best flexible deck shoe

This is another classic choice from Decathlon. It’s made of flexible full-grain salt-water resistant leather, with a non-marking siped rubber sole.

There’s a padded leather insole and tongue, but no fabric linings that absorb foot odours.

Reasons to buy: Wide range of colours and sizes; Anti-bacterial sole with shock absorption and comfort; Athletic

Reasons to avoid: Lacks durability in long-term

RRP: £55 / $37

Buy it now on Decathlon (UK)

Buy it now on Decathlon (US)

Chatham Bermuda II G2 boat shoes

Best classic deck shoe

These are an absolute classic design, in waxed breathable nubuck with all-around lacing and a razor cut rubber sole.

They are unlined, which means there’s no fabric that can absorb foot odours if they are worn without socks.

Reasons to buy: Classic design; Razor cut rubber sole; All-around lacing

Reasons to avoid: Premium price; Unlined inner can’t absorb foot odours

RRP: £110 / $170

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on eBay

But it now on chatham.co.uk

Dubarry Regatta boat shoes

Best deck shoe for durability

The Dubarry name is synonymous with sailing footwear and has an outstanding reputation for durability.

The Regatta deck shoe combines elements of a traditional style, including leather and nubuck, with technical fabrics.

The result is excellent water resistance, reasonably quick drying and excellent protection against wind chill.

A dry soft and dry fast finish means that, unlike many leather boat shoes, these won’t become hard and inflexible after a dunking in the sea.

Reasons to buy: Durable; Excellent water resistance; Quick-drying, won’t become hard and inflexible

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £139 / $199

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on eBay

Buy it now on dubarry.com

Quayside Sydney boat shoes

Best multipurpose deck shoe

This long-running, popular and highly rated traditional boat shoe is made from oiled nubuck with hand stitching and all-round lacing.

A cushioned footbed improves comfort, while the rubber sole offers a decent grip. Discreet mesh side gussets improve breathability.

Reasons to buy: Hand-stitched; A cushioned footbed and discreet mesh; Good value

Reasons to avoid: Will likely struggle in very wet conditions

RRP: £50 / $100

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on eBay

Wuzzos

Wuzzos bespoke boat shoes

Premium boat shoes with a difference

Wuzzos is a new name in the boat shoe market, currently selling a couple of different varieties for men and women, each available in a variety of leather finishes.

As is often the case with deckies there is little that particularly stands out at first glance – to a degree, a boat shoe is a boat shoe is a boat shoe. But one difference they have over other boat shoe offerings is the option to add embossed text to the shoes in a couple of font sizes and colours (gold, silver, plain).

This, combined with the made-in-Europe build, hand stitching and sewing, and good quality leather mean they are clearly aiming at the higher end of the boat shoe market, with a luxury brand feel.

This luxury feel continues on delivery of the shoes, which arrive with your name embossed on the box and initials on the care card. These are far from necessary, of course, but does make the whole experience of purchase feel bespoke.

The boat shoes themselves have razor-cut soles so should provide a good level of grip. The leather is fantastically soft and the soles offer a great level of padding. All in all, they are initially impressive and they should work well on the water.

YM tested:

YM tester Toby Heppell said: ‘I was really impressed with the grip they offered. ‘The boat upon which I was testing the shoes on had had the helm footrest removed as it was due to be repositioned.

‘This meant standing at the wheel while helming with nothing to brace against. ‘We were sailing upwind in around 20 knots AWS without any reefs and so had a significant amount of heel.

‘I can honestly say that there was not a single moment in an entire afternoon’s sail that I did not feel securely planted to the deck. Very impressive.’

Wuzzos boat shoes are available in both men’s and women’s styles.

Reasons to buy: Fantastically soft, great padding; Hand-stitched and feel luxurious, Personalisation options

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £100 (plus £15 for personalisation)

Buy it now on wuzzos.com

Modern deck shoes

Zhik Fuze boat shoes

Best deck shoe for comfort

Zhik Fuze review

This Australian company’s kit tends to be at the top end of the price range, but that hasn’t stopped it from drawing plenty of advocates.

They argue that, if your time off work and on the water is limited, a little extra investment to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible, even when the weather turns nasty, is easily justified.

The Fuze deck shoes are very lightweight, flexible and comfortable, with excellent support. A one-way drainage system is incorporated in the sole.

Reasons to buy: Lightweight; Flexible and comfortable; One-way drainage system

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £110 / $119

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on eBay

best-boat-shoes-nrs-mens-vibe-water-shoes

NRS Men’s Vibe Water Shoes

Best deck shoe to wear barefoot

Available in a full range of half sizes from UK 7.5 to 12.5, the NRS Vibe Water Shoe has been designed to be worn with or without socks.

To achieve this, the interior has been constructed to ensure barefoot comfort by way of low-profile seams and a non-absorbent EVA foam footbed which offers added support without absorbing water.

Any H2O which does manage to find its way inside is released via drainage ports in the instep. The uppers are made from quick-drying 1000D Cordura nylon and the non-marking rubber sole features a durable siped, sticky rubber rand outsole.

Reasons to buy: Wide range of sizes; Can be worn with and without socks due to drainage and quick-drying; Sticky rubber rand outsole

Reasons to avoid: More premium shoes offer better warmth and traction

RRP: £60 / $50

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on outdoorplay.com

best-boat-shoes-sperry-float

Sperry Authentic Original Float Boat Shoes

Best deck shoe for water protection

The Sperry Authentic Original Float Boat shoe is guaranteed to *ahem* float your boat. And even if the water does manage to get in, these shoes are more than up to the job as they are made from super-lightweight injected EVA, which floats.

In fact, Sperry Authentics have been designed to be water-ready and all about protecting you and your feet whenever you get wet.

To do this, they have strategically placed drainage ports on the waterline to help speed drying, vent holes in the uppers to ensure breathable comfort, and moulded wave-siping incorporated into the outsoles to provide sure-footed traction in all conditions.

Reasons to buy: Super-lightweight; Floatable; Speed drying

Reasons to avoid: Can get very slippery; Some consumers report sizing issues

RRP: £45 / $44.95

Buy it now on sperry.com

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Buy it now on Amazon

Croc Boat Shoe

Crocs Classic Boat Shoes

An appealing alternative boat shoe option

Crocs men’s Classic Boat Shoe is designed to be waterproof and lightweight thanks to the Croslite foam construction.

Other features include a soft fabric tongue, faux lacing, ventilation ports in the heel and forefoot to add breathability and help shed moisture.

The rubberised sole is promised to provide increased traction, flexibility and ‘360-degree comfort’.

Reasons to buy: Waterproof and lightweight, Good breathability sheds moisture, Rubberised sole provides increased traction, flexibility and comfort

Reasons to avoid: Long break-in time

RRP: £54.99 / $33

Buy it now on Amazon

Gill 2020 Race Trainer

Best race deck shoe

This British company has long offered top-quality kit at competitive prices.

The 2020 Race Trainer is designed for a secure fit and is made of breathable materials, including a mesh lining with minimal water absorbency.

The moulded insole and outsole both have fast drainage and there’s extra toe protection to reduce risk of injury.

Reasons to buy: Secure fit; Breathable material; Mesh-lining

Reasons to avoid: Lacks arch support

RRP: £100 / $130

Buy it now on eBay

Buy it now on Amazon

Musto Dynamic Pro II boat shoes

Best dynamic deck shoe

This technical boat shoe from Musto is designed for both yachting and dinghy sailing.

The sole uses sticky rubber for maximum grip, while the TPU welded overlay along the sides gives excellent lateral support.

EVA is used for the mid-sole to enhance comfort and protection.

The mesh construction dries quickly and provides plenty of ventilation, making these trainers ideal for summer use when the anti-microbial protection will also be beneficial.

Reasons to buy: Designed for both yachting and dinghy sailing; Grippy sole; Enhanced for comfort and protection

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £120

Buy it now on musto.com

Buy it now on tradeinn.com

Lizard Regatta boat shoes

Best technical deck shoe

This innovative Italian brand produces a range of excellent technical sailing shoes and sea boots.

The Regatta Shoe has a non-slip rubber outsole that provides excellent grip and is shaped to improve side protection.

The outer material is of a breathable mesh that promotes very quick drying and allows water to drain fast.

There’s also a removable anatomical footbed for extra comfort. The lacing system is designed for secure fastening.

Reasons to buy: Non-slip rubber outsole; Breathable mesh; Anatomical footbed and secure lacing

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £119 / $158

Buy it now on eBay (UK)

Buy it now on eBay (US)

Tribord Unisex Yacht Race boat shoes

Best value deck shoes

These may have a bargain-basement price, but they don’t skimp on quality.

Decathlon’s technical shoes are lightweight, with a mesh upper that benefits from a plasma coating that reduces water absorption by 40 per cent.

The sole is made of non-marking rubber, with deep drainage channels and an effective non-slip pattern.

Reasons to buy: Great value; Lightweight; Non marking rubber with deep drainage

Reasons to avoid: Some consumers complain too narrow; Not as long-lasting or durable as competitors

RRP: £45 / $50

Buy it now on Decathlon (UK)

Buy it now on Decathlon (US)

Best women’s boat shoes

best-womens-boat-shoes-chatham-pippa

Chatham Pippa II G2 women’s leather boat shoes

Best premium women’s deck shoe

Chatham has more than 30 years of shoemaking under its belt and so confident is the company of its Pippa II G2 women’s leather boat shoes that each pair comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Offered in half sizes from 3 to 7, with sizes 8 and 9 also available, the shoe comes in a choice of three distinctive upper/sole colourways to match your sails and your mood!

Crafted from premium washable leather with non-slip rubber soles, rust-proof eyelets and rot-proof laces, the Pippa II G2 also features Chatham’s new anti-bacterial Sole Spring Poron performance cushioning for maximum comfort and shock absorption. 

Reasons to buy: Wide range of colours and sizes; Premium washable leather; Antibacterial sole cushioning

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £105 / $165

Buy it now from chatham.co.uk

Buy it now from Amazon

best-womens-boat-shoes-tribord-cruise-100

Tribord Cruise 100 Leather Women’s Boat Shoes

Best women’s deck shoe for wearing barefoot

While billed as leather boat shoes, the uppers of Decathlon’s moccasin-style Tribord Cruise 100s also incorporate a thin lightweight mesh for increased breathability. As such, they are ideal for wearing without socks.

The shoes are fully laced all round to ensure a good, snug fit, and feature anti-rubbing protective strips and non-slip and micro-grooved natural rubber outsoles.

The outsole is also thicker at the heel for cushioning and comfort. Resistant to salt water, Tribord 100 boat shoes have detachable cotton insoles for easy cleaning and a small leather tab at the back helps make them easy to get on and off.

Reasons to buy: Thin lightweight mesh for increased breathability; Can be worn without socks; Good snug fit

Reasons to avoid: May struggle on a very wet deck

RRP: £29.99 / $35

Buy it now on Decathlon (UK)

Buy it now on Decathlon (US)

Helly Hansen Women’s W Ahiga V4 Hydropower

Best women’s deck shoe for summer

Helly Hansen is a giant in the outdoor clothing world and has heaps of experience producing marine gear.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that, at the time of writing, these were the top-selling women’s boating shoes on Amazon.

They are optimised for summer use and are very lightweight, extremely quick drying and highly breathable.

The siped HellyGrip rubber outsole is designed to maximise grip, while the high-grade EVA midsole promotes maximum comfort.

Reasons to buy: Optimised for summer; Lightweight, extremely quick-drying, highly breathable; Maximum grip

Reasons to avoid: Not suitable for all-day wear due to tight fit

RRP: £70 / $80

Buy it now on Amazon

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Keen Women’s Solr Closed Toe Water Shoe

Best open foot deck shoe 

Although many technical boat shoes are great at shedding water and are quick drying, there are times that a closed shoe just simply isn’t what you want.

However, flip-flops and open-toe sandals are a big injury risk thanks to the number of deck fittings on most yachts – stubbing your toes in a properly serious fashion is all too easy.

Keen is one of the very few manufacturers with a product that addresses this problem.

It has a water-resistant upper with recycled plastic used for the webbing, plus a comfortable quick-drying lining.

The non-marking rubber sole has deep drainage channels, plus siped zones to improve grip.

Reasons to buy: Water-resistant upper; Recycled plastic webbing; Quick-drying lining

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

RRP: £75 / $110

Buy it now on Amazon

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Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

Looking for more protection? Check out our guide to the best waterproof boat shoes on the market right now.

Need a wider fit? Check out our guide to the best boat shoes for wide feet.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated sailing page for more marine products.