Casual summer wear involves not just t-shirts and flimsy pants but a suitable choice of footwear as well. Among them, boat shoes seem to have become quite popular in recent years, mostly due to how comfortable, lightweight, and flexible these shoes can be. These particular shoes are just as easy to wear as sneakers or sandals with the added benefit of being rather fashionable and pleasing to look at. As such, they can easily be paired with formal attire if needed, which is something that cannot be said about sneakers.
To say that boat shoes are versatile would be quite the understatement considering how ‘flexible’ they are when it comes to style and general aesthetics. These type of shoes both look good and are extremely practical, which is precisely what you should look for in a pair of shoes of any kind. Having said that, let us take a look at the ten best boat shoes the market has to offer at this point in time to get a better idea of what’s out there.
Best Boat Shoes – Reviews
10Kenneth Cole Men’s Unlisted Santon Boat Shoe
Handmade from 100% imported leather, these shoes feature a soft and impressively smooth exterior that is both durable and stylish. At the same time, the low top shaft provides comfort and support while the heavy-duty synthetic sole provides optimum flexibility and superior grip on all kinds of surfaces. Available in a variety of colors including red, brown, grey, sand tobacco, black and so on, they are rather trendy and go well with pretty much any outfit.
9Nautica Men’s Doubloon Boat Shoe Slip-On Loafer
Featuring a modern loafer style design and construction, the Nautica Men’s Doubloon Boat Shoe Slip-On Loafers are a premium grade pair of shoes available in a wide range of colors. Thanks to a soft breathable exterior, these shoes are lightweight, stylish and durable. Equipped with a well-padded insole that includes a high-quality fabric lining, it provides you with optimum comfort and support. Furthermore, the rubber outsole is robust and heavy-duty and gives you all the grip and traction you need.
8Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Bienne Boat Shoe
The Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Bienne Boat Shoe is a pair of slip-on’s from this rather popular brand, a pair of shoes that stands out for all the right reasons. Featuring a 0.5-inch heel and a 100% leather construction, these shoes come in 5 different colors including tan pull up, tan tumbled, brown, black and black/cream. Smooth, soft and stylish, these shoes come equipped with moc-toe stitching along with leather lacing at the collar and vamp areas. Crafted with a heavy-duty rubber sole, they provide optimum grip and tract on all kinds of surfaces.
7Sperry Men’s Leeward 2-Eye Boat Shoe
Available in a wide range of assorted colors, patterns, and designs, the Sperry Men’s Leeward 2-Eye Boat Shoe is an imported pair of slip-ones that are made with 100% genuine leather. Featuring a hand-sewn construction, this shoe comes with a low top shaft that offers optimum support and comfort. The heavy-duty leather used to make these shoes are resistant to water and stains and is ultra-durable and reliable. The heel is shock-proof and absorbs impact, offering additional comfort, while the 360-degree lace-up system provides a secure grip and comfortable fit.
6KINGSHOW Mens M1525 Boat Shoes
Made from premium quality faux leather, the KINGSHOW Mens M1525 Boat Shoes feature a heavy-duty exterior with a simple lace-up system. Equipped with mesh around the foot, it provides optimum breathability and comfort. Light in weight, smooth, and very stylish, these boat shoes are ideal for any casual or formal occasion. Crafted with a robust outsole made from high quality, durable rubber, this exquisite shoe is resistant to slipping and offers a good grip and hold on any surface.
5Timberland Men’s Piper Cove Fg Boat Shoe
Ideal for outdoor use, casual outings or for a formal occasion, the Timberland Men’s Piper Cove Fg Boat Shoe features a classic design that never goes out of style. Made from 100% genuine leather and textile, the shoe features a soft, smooth premium exterior that is breathable and durable. The outsole is made from heavy-duty partially recycled rubber and offers optimum grip and traction. Available in a range of great colors and designs, these shoes are handmade and come equipped with removable footbeds that prevent foot fatigue.
4Margaritaville Men’s Anchor Lace Boat Shoes
Known for their premium quality and high-end design, the Margaritaville Men’s Anchor Lace Boat Shoes are one among the best of its kind. Made from sturdy leather, mesh fabric and rubber, these shoes feature a lace-up system with a stylish contrast stitching around the front of the shoe. The collar and tongue are padded with soft cushioning, offering you with comfort and support, while the foam insole gives you that soft, comfortable feel. Stylish, durable, and quite breathable, these shoes feature a heavy-duty rubber outsole giving you optimum traction and grip and come equipped with a printed anchor at the base for an added bit of style.
3Dockers Men’s Vargas Leather Handsewn Boat Shoe
Available in a wide range of subtle colors including rust, raisin, tan navy and chocolate, the Dockers Men’s Vargas Leather Handsewn Boat Shoes are crafted with 100% high-quality leather. Featuring a strong upper that is both soft and stylish, this particular shoe comes equipped with an EVA footbed that is well padded along with an EVA heel cup that provides comfort and support. What’s more, the sole is constructed from heavy-duty siped rubber that provides optimum traction and grip on all kinds of surfaces including wet surfaces.
2Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Bowman Boat Shoe
The Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Bowman Boat Shoe is a high-end fashion pair of shoes that are uniquely crafted with premium-grade, imported leather material. Featuring a wide assortment of colors, these shoes are available in dark blue leather, coffee color, black, navy grey, and many more subtle shades. Light in weight, durable, and robust, the shoe features a rubber outsole that provides optimum grip and hold and all kinds of surfaces. With a low-top shaft, thsi quality shoe is extremely stylish and can be worn on formal and casual occasions with no limitations to speak of.
1Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Faxon Low Sneaker
The Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Faxon Low Sneakers are the ideal pair of boat shoes to accentuate any outfit. Made from a blend of high-quality cotton and suede material, these shoes feature a low top shaft that is comfortable and offers just the right amount of support. Equipped with a simple lace-up system, it includes metal eyelets and a stylish stripe at the midsole with the brand logo embroidered on the side of the shoe. For optimum grip, this exquisite shoe features a heavy-duty synthetic sole that is both durable and light in weight by most standards.
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Finding The Perfect Boat Shoes
Although most boat shoes enjoy a certain versatility when it comes to the outfits they can be worn with, which gives people a lot of freedom when choosing their attire. Originally designed to improve adherence on humid surfaces, boat shoes have since evolved in an all-round, practical type of shoes that can be worn with almost any clothes. Light in weight, flexible, and quite comfortable, boat shoes are rather easy to come by, yet not all can be expected to meet the same standards. To ensure you’re getting the right quality, you should take the time and learn as much as you can about what makes a good pair of boat shoes and what to look for when buying one.
The Optimal Design
Considering the fact that most boat shoes are moccasin-like by design and generally distinguished by their low cut construction, you should look for a pair that features soft, non-skid rubber soles with laces that run through between 2 to 3 eyelets. Ideally, you want a pair that allows you to cinch the laces around the shoe for a tighter fit if needed. Bear in mind that boat shoes are made with canvas and leather, which means that they are lightweight enough to be worn as slip-on footwear if you want to.
What To Look For
- Material – The material construction of a decent pair of boat shoes should involve rawhide leather or a sturdy type of canvas. A lot can be said about the type of leather that’s best suited for a pair of boat shoes, suffice to say that people tend to have different opinions on what constitutes a suitable type of leather. You should be safe as long as you go for a seemingly sturdy leather, or for a thick canvas if you plan on wearing the shoes casually.
- Color – It is common for boat shoes to come in a variety of colors but most people prefer darker brown shades for practical reasons. Many people prefer darker shades because they are easier to look after maintenance-wise and also because they are versatile enough to go with any type of attire. At the same time, boat shoes with a burgundy complexion with gray bottoms tend to go well with anything but denim and thick jeans.
- Fit – You want a pair of shoes that fit regardless of the model, no doubt about it. When it comes to boat shoes, however, you will find that many people tend to choose shoes that are a bit loose on the foot as they are commonly worn for casual occasions. What you need to understand is that boat shoes generally need to be worn for a while until they mold onto your feet for a perfect fit. Keep in mind that canvas boat shoes tend to get a lot looser over time so perhaps go for half a size smaller shoe just to be safe.
- Brand – A lot of world-renowned brands have gotten onto the boat shoe market over the years, so you are likely to find top-shelf shoes if you go looking. Although slightly more expensive, boat shoes made by Eastland, Rancourt, Quoddy, Ralph Lauren, or Tommy Hilfiger are guaranteed to meet the utmost standards of quality and durability. As such, you can expect them to be a bit pricier but also well-made and boasting the type of design that enables you to wear them casually for the most part.
The Fitting Issue
It is important to understand that some boat shoes require some breaking in, mostly the leather ones for obvious reasons. A common mistake people make is to buy whichever model they feel the most comfortable wearing, which results in quite a bit of discomfort long-term. The reason behind this lays in the flexible nature of these shoes, which almost guarantees that they will become looser over time. If you can, try to go for a shoe that’s half a size smaller and wear them around the house for a few days before you take them outside.
Boat Shoes & Warm Weather
As we already established, most boat shoes are highly flexible by design, which means that they might change their shape ever so slightly over time. What you want to do is to always wear them in warm weather. This allows the materials in the shoe to stretch out and then contract around your feet, creating a perfect mold in the process. Not just that but they are also practically built for warm weather by default, so it’s not like you have many options to wear them during the cold season.
We should point out that it is very common for people who wear boat shoes to be creative with the way they tie their laces. Take rawhide laces, for instance, which are among the sturdiest yet fashionable laces out there. Because of their aesthetic value, you can experiment with different ways to tie them in order to enhance the overall look of the shoes. With a barrel knot, you get a more preppy look whereas a tassel knot is guaranteed to add a little more style. It is also common for people to go for a chain knot with rawhide laces because of how easy such a knot can be tied this way. At the end of the day, it usually comes down to personal preference and how creative you are as an individual.