Sue Pelling, yachting journalist, picks eight of the best sailing boots designed to provide security as well comfort and style

The more you look into the subject of purchasing the the best sailing boots – whether for offshore sailing or coastal cruising , the more complex it appears to become, particularly with so many options on the market at hugely varying price tags.

To simplify the matter, remember that regardless of what type of use they’ll have – offshore or lighter coastal cruising – essentially there are three important points to consider: safety (good grip and flexibility), comfort, and how waterproof they are likely to be. There are, of course, other considerations, such as budget, overall appearance, weight/bulkiness, and internal quick drying qualities because inevitably they will get wet at some point but consider the finer detail once you’ve ticked off the important factors.

While many brands of sailing boots are gender neutral, more and more companies are now recognising the demand for gender specific boots, and/or wider fit options. Although there is a good selection of stylish nubuck leather boots on the market, don’t rule out some of the more traditional rubber boots, which have extreme waterproof qualities, and generally lower budget.

Best sailing boots

Musto Gore-Tex Race Boot

Best for serious racers

Reasons to buy
• Technical
• Super grip
• Flexible

Reasons to avoid
• Fairly pricey

If you are a serious racer, then the Gore-Tex Race Boot, which has been engineered by Musto, using premium, full grain leather and ballistic nylon in the upper, is definitely an option to consider. Yes, it appears pricy, but as with all Musto technical clothing, you can be sure you are getting the ultimate piece of kit to cover all offshore/cruising disciplines.

Although we have yet to put these boots to the test, Musto say the Gore-Tex footwear membrane provides complete waterproof protection and continuous climate control. The boot is also lightweight, shock-absorbing, and has Grip Deck rubber and a Grip Flex tread to ensure exceptional, multi-directional traction on deck.

Buy it now from Musto

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Chatham Solor G2 leather sailing boot

Best for style

Reasons to buy
• Comfortable
• Stylish
• Full leather
• 2-year guarantee

Reasons to avoid
• Comes up small so need to go up a size

Chatham is renowned for its stylish yet functional footwear, and its newest addition to its best selling G2 collection, is no exception. The Solor G2 is manufactured using waterproof premium leather in rich walnut and, for comfort, has sole spring poron performance cushioning, which Chatham says is anti-bacterial and offers maximum comfort and shock absorption.

Other special features include pull tabs on either side, a breathable, eco-friendly Sympatex lining, and a white rubber, non-marking sole. Also, for peace of mind, the Solor benefits from Chatham’s unique 2-year manufacturer’s guarantee.

Buy it now from Amazon

GUL Fastnet Cordura Leather Boot

Best value-for-money leather boot

Reasons to buy
• Removable footbed
• Self wicking membrane
• Stylish
• Good value
• Drying hook

Reasons to avoid
• Sizing comes up slightly small/narrow

This classic-looking boot crafted using a combination of premium leather upper with navy Cordura breathable mesh panels, also features Aquatherm waterproof membrane technology to keep feet dry and warm while wicking away perspiration.

The Fastnet boot not only looks good on and off the water, but also offers exceptionally-good value for money for a boot of this quality and purpose. It has a non-marking, good grip rubber sole, and features a pull tab at the back with a corrosive-resistant eyelet. This eyelet is handy for hanging up when drying.

Buy it now from Amazon

Crewsaver Long Boots Sailing 07

Best for grip

Reasons to buy
• Good grip
• Wide fit design
• Drawstring, gusset top

Reasons to avoid
• Broad design for those with narrow feet

There’s a lot to be said for choosing a pair of boots from a company that’s passionate about living up to its name as far as design of safety marine products goes. As well as serving the leisure marine sector with quality safety gear for many years, Crewsaver specialises in advanced, marine survival products for commercial markets.

Not surprising then, the Crewsaver Long Boots Sailing 07 could be just the thing for really keeping your feet dry. They are essentially rubber wellies designed to keep you safe and dry. Thanks to a drawstring and gusset at the top, water ingress is kept to the minimum, and the specially constructed inner ensures feet are kept as warm and comfortable as possible. Finally it goes without saying as far as safety goes, the razor-cut sole offers very good grip on deck.

Buy it now from Amazon

Helly Hansen Women’s Nordvik 2 Rubber Boots

Best for cruising

Reasons to buy
• Lightweight
• Women specific
• Value for money

Reasons to avoid
• Lack of comfort for long-term deck use

A classic-looking nautical yellow welly that is ideal for coastal sailing/ less harsh conditions. Not that it wouldn’t stand up to extreme conditions, but for long periods on deck in the wet, this short, lightweight, rubber boot from Helly Hansen may not be quite so comfortable as other technical boots on the market.

The Women’s Nordvik 2 does however, have all the main attributes expected from this renowned sailing clothing specialist, including siped vulcanised rubber outsole for traction. As this boot is also specially designed for women, those with narrow feet may find they get a good fit.

Buy it now from Helly Hansen

Decathlon Aigle Glénan Sailing Boots

Best for fit

Reasons to buy
• Extensive R&D
• Tall, close fit
• Smart
• Value for money

Reasons to avoid
• Non moisture-wicking

As with all sailing kit produced for Decathlon, the Aigle Glénan sailing boot in classic nautical blue not only offers value for money, but is also smart-looking, 100% waterproof and has non-slip, lugged deck rubber soles.

As a company, Decathlon prides itself on its thorough R&D in collaboration with sailing professionals, which means you can be sure it’ll be a product fit for purpose. As with all the boots listed here, we’ve not tested it but according to customer reviews, the Glénan is a popular choice and comfortable. However, like many other basic rubber-style wellies that have rubber-backed absorbent foam insoles, this boot may not offer as much day-long comfort as some of the other, more expensive, technical brands.

Buy it now from Decathlon

Maindeck Tall Grey Rubber Sailing Boot

Best for value

Reasons to buy
• Good value
• Padded tie top
• Non-slip, non-marking sole
• Moisture wicking
• Tall

Reasons to avoid
• Grey colour option only

Avoiding water ingress is important particularly if you plan to spend long periods of time on the water. Thankfully, like the Crewsaver Long Boot, the Maindeck Tall Grey Rubber Boot is designed with a drawstring gusset top, which certainly helps stem the flow. Its non-slip, non-marking sole is also a plus point.

And, unlike some of the other rubber-welly style boots on the market, the Maindeck has a quick dry, moisture wicking lining, a reinforced heel, instep and toe, and a removable EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) cushioned insole for added comfort.

Overall, this is a good low budget option for looks, function and versatility.

Buy it now from Gael Force Marine

Le Chameau Pontus Femme

Best for women

Reasons to buy
• All day comfort
• Eco friendly
• Stylish

Reasons to avoid
• Budget top end

Designed specifically for women, and created for the most extreme sailing conditions, the Le Chameau Pontus Femme boot – named after Pontus, the Greek personification of the sea, is a luxury product crafted using premium 100% saltwater resistant leather.

To uphold the company’s eco-friendly ethics, this exceptionally stylish boot uses Sympatex – an eco-friendly fabric technology – in its lining, with a four-layer membrane and outer constructed from recycled plastics taken from the ocean. This breathable membrane is moisture-wicking and quick drying and, together with the sculpted footbed, helps provide the ultimate comfort even after a long day on the water.

Buy it now from Le Chameau

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

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This feature appeared in the […] edition of Yachting Monthly. For more articles like this, including expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a subscription to the cruising sailor’s must-read monthly magazine.

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