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Best Waterproof Boat Shoes to Keep Your Feet Dry

Wearing Waterproof Boat Shoes

Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a good soaking at sea knows how uncomfortable cold, soaked toes can be! As a result, a sturdy pair of waterproof boat shoes are a must. Aside from personal discomfort, there's also the matter of remaining safe on board. If you can't feel your toes, your safety is likely to be jeopardized.

Sailing shoes have gone a long way since they first came into existence. Sailors, and amateur boaters, now have access to a wide range of comfortable, stylish, waterproof, and most importantly, functional sailing footwear.

But, what makes for good boating shoes? Let's find out.

What Makes a Functional Pair of Boating Shoes?

1. Grip

When sailing, losing your balance can be disastrous. So when it comes to boat shoes, traction should be your primary consideration. Your soles should keep you straight and sure-footed whether you're on damp or dry surfaces. Heavy lugs found in hiking boots aren't the best choice for the water.

Instead, choose a new pair of shoes with a subtle tread pattern and superior grip ability. Maximum contact with the ground is ensured with this tread, and a little siping here and there adds to the traction.

2. Waterproofness

Seawater sprays and splashes are unavoidable. So, if you want a genuinely seaworthy sailing shoe, you'll need waterproof footwear; not water-resistant or water-repellent, but completely waterproof. Vessi is well known for producing sneakers and shoes that are waterproof, breathable but not sweaty. Suitable for all environments. Furthermore, the shoe should be quick-drying. If your footwear becomes wet, you risk losing comfort, stability, and, ultimately, safety.

3. Material

Deck shoes have traditionally been made with a leather upper. It was the most reasonable choice for the high seas due to its natural water resistance and durability. Leather isn't your only option, though. It might not be the best option, too, given recent improvements in the footwear business. Leather, while initially water-resistant, can quickly succumb to dampness.

Furthermore, leather is not stain-resistant, which means that if it gets wet, water spots will appear. Furthermore, leather boat shoes are less adaptable and flexible than their non-leather counterparts. You can use almost any material these days as long as it's water and stain-resistant. The material should also be breathable to combat the heat of the beating sun.

4. Non-Marking Soles

Many stiff rubber soles leave an imprint on whatever surface they come into touch with, even if you don't notice it. On surfaces like hardwood floors, the stains are significantly more visible. Unfortunately, neither you nor your deck is safe.

A non-marking rubber sole is required to avoid the unpleasant look of black stains on your deck. It is usually stated in the product descriptions. If it isn't stated anywhere, the shoes are likely not non-marking. Non-marking soles are also more flexible by default because the material is less stiff and hard. Here are the best waterproof boat shoes available today.

The Best Waterproof Boat Shoes

1. Vessi Weekend Sneaker

Men

Women

Kids

Vessi's Weekend Sneaker collection is designed to match everything you love to wear while still keeping you safe when out at sea. The Weekend Sneakers feature a mud, liquid, and sand resistant material that allows you to focus on enjoying your boat ride rather than your feet.

One of the best parts about these walking shoes (oh yes, they're great for boat use and everyday use) is that they're 100% waterproof thanks to the patented tech used to make them. Dyma-Tex is made with an integrated layer that allows the sweat and heat to escape so your feet can breathe while keeping all the elements out.

These shoes come in versions for men, women, and kids - so no one has to miss out! The kids' lines are also super simple to slip on and off when they're on the go. The best part? The Weekend collection can be machine washed in cold water and on a gentle cycle. Just make sure to only air dry.

Pros:

  • 100% waterproof

  • Dry and comfortable

  • Environmentally friendly and made from vegan materials

  • Machine washable

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable knit material

Cons:

  • They run small

  • Not true to size

  • Aren't actually non-marking

2. Sperry Authentic Original 2-Eye Shoe

Men

The Authentic Original 2-Eye line is a true icon of prep elegance. They're hand-stitched, employing time-honoured craftsmanship, superior materials, and the unique wet/dry traction that makes them famous. Sailors adore the versatility, while city-dwellers love its classic cool vibe.

The most famous silhouette from Sperry brand, inspired by the sea and designed for people from all walks of life. Rawhide laces and rust-proof eyelets with a 360° lacing system provide a tailored fit on full-grain leathers and moccasin construction.

Genuine hand-sewn moccasin construction moulds to the shape of your feet for long-lasting, broken-in comfort. A non-marking rubber outsole with characteristic Sperry razor-cut wave-siping for optimum wet/dry grip is combined with Ortholite cushioning for all-day comfort.

Pros:

  • Moccasin-stitched toe design

  • Rust-resistant eyelets

  • Hand-sewn structure

  • Shock-absorbing EVA heel cup

  • Non-marking outsole with wet/dry traction

  • 360° lacing system for a secure fit

  • Uppers are made of full-grain, unlined leather

  • Can resist the impacts of fresh and saltwater for long-lasting use

Cons:

  • Sizes run large

  • Narrow fit

3. Timberland Classic 2-Eye

Men

Timberland's world-renowned men's sailing shoes and loafers are a weekend-style staple inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of seaside communities. Choosing a good pair of classic deck shoes made for style and comfort is a great idea to welcome in the warmer weather. These Timberlands are handcrafted, tough, and long-lasting.

Because of its sturdy construction and timeless appearance, the Timberland Authentics Three-Eye Classic Lug is still a true icon today. The 360° lacing system guarantees a secure fit, and the leather lining provides a luxurious underfoot feel. The shoe soles are durable, supportive, and environmentally friendly. In addition, you'll have traction thanks to the rubber lug outsole.

These shoes also feature gripping rubber outsoles for optimal traction in slippery or wet conditions and a hand-sewn quality leather upper. So whether you're resting on the deck of a boat, at the office, or wandering around town, you'll find yourself dressed in these ruggedly casual shoes frequently.

Pros:

  • Sturdy construction

  • Timeless appearance

  • 360° lacing system

  • Rubber sole

  • Durable

  • Supportive

  • Environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Half insole support

4. Dockers Vargas Leather Handsewn Shoe

Men

These Dockers sailing shoes are made with care and will keep your look traditional and easygoing. The hand-sewn genuine leather uppers have a conventional boat shoe form and a classic eyelet design for a relaxed, nautical vibe.

The cushioned footbed and heel cup, along with the flexible design will provide tailored comfort for all-day wear. You can pair these classic shoes with shorts, jeans, or khakis.

Pros:

  • Uppers made of genuine leather

  • Cushioned EVA footbed

  • Moulded EVA heel cup

  • Handsewn

  • Flexible build

  • Easy to slip on and off

  • Durable rubber outsole

  • Great traction in damp conditions

Cons:

  • Need to be broken into for a comfortable fit

5. Columbia Dorado CVO PFG Shoe

Men

With the Dorado CVO PFG, Columbia offers a superior product for performance offshore fishing. This is thanks to a proprietary outsole design, rapid drying materials, speed lacing, and a super soft footbed. Columbia's unique PFG technology is what really sets these shoes apart. In addition to water and stain-resistant mesh construction, the synthetic top of these shoes keeps your feet safe no matter how filthy things get.

The superior traction Omni-GRIP outsole is created to provide safe support in wet conditions. In addition, the Techlite midsole provides excellent cushioning and high energy return. The low durometer EVA used also helps for maximum comfort and stress absorption. This Columbia men's sneaker is also available in various colours and sizes.

Pros:

  • Breathable mesh upper

  • Great midsole cushioning

  • Wet grip traction

  • Water and stain-resistant

  • TechliteTM midsole for cushioning and energy return

  • Non-marking wet grip outsole with razor siping

  • Lightweight and durable midsole

  • Advanced traction sole with siping for slip-resistant mobility on wet surfaces

Cons:

  • Narrow fit

Frequently Asked Question About Boating Footwear

1. When do you need boat shoes?

If you own large boats, such as a huge fishing boat or a yacht, a boat shoe is exactly what the doctor ordered. On these types of boats, the right shoes give excellent traction to keep you safe and comfortable.

The good news is that sailing shoes aren't just for the water. They're arguably more popular on land than on the water. Not just because of how they look but also because they're handy for anyone who lives in a warmer area and spends time around the pier.

2. Do you actually need to wear socks with your boat shoes?

It's certainly recommended, and here's why:

a) It's possible to become sick from not wearing socks with boat shoes

Not wearing socks with your shoes when boating can lead to foot fungus issues like athlete's foot. Bacteria flourish in warm, dark, and damp settings, making boat shoes an excellent breeding habitat. Wearing socks will help keep your feet dry and prevent this.

Basically, when you wear socks with water shoes you add an extra layer of protection to control the moisture that naturally accumulates in your shoes. A great pair of socks keep your feet happy, dry, and, most importantly - healthy.

b) Going sockless can be uncomfortable in boat shoes

During the "breaking in" period, traditional boat shoes are infamous for being uncomfortable. This is because it takes time for the leather to mould to your feet, as it does with many other types of leather shoes. It can be a painful process, resulting in blisters and hotspots that can be avoided by wearing socks.

c) Wearing boat shoes without socks can cause them to deteriorate

If you've ever taken off sailing shoes or any other form of a closed-toe shoe without socks, you might need to squeeze your nose. Because boat shoes are most typically worn during the summer months, your feet naturally create a lot of sweat. As a result, your sailing shoes will develop a stink that is nearly impossible to remove when the moisture builds up.

You can avoid this by using socks developed specifically for sailing shoes. Wearing boat shoes without socks can cause damage to the insole of the shoes, in addition to generating intense odour. In addition, the insole will loosen and pull back when moisture builds up, causing damage that is impossible to cure without replacing the insole entirely.

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