7 Best Boat Shoes for Men (Reviewed!)

Boat shoes, also called top-siders or deck shoes, are a classic piece of men’s footwear. Initially, men’s boat shoes were intended for seafaring. They featured a slip-proof rubber sole, a water-repellant leather construction, and a shock-absorbent heel cup — perfect for running up and down decks and docks.

Modern boat shoes likewise feature these characteristics, but they’re worn just as frequently on land as at sea. Although they’ve been around since the 1930s, boat shoes first became trendy among landlubbers in the 1980s, thanks to the publication of “The Official Preppy Handbook.”

Since then, this iconic footwear has become synonymous with preppy East Coast summer style. Today, the best boat shoes for men still boast the original moccasin-style design but come in a wider variety of colors. Most boat shoes have two to three eyelets, a 360-degree lacing system, and soles with a herringbone pattern.

If you’re looking for the best men’s boat shoes on the market, you have a broad selection to choose from. Whether you want a classic tan leather moccasin or prefer something bolder, like red or navy blue, there’s a shoe out there for you.

We’ve put together some of the best men’s boat shoes reviews below, narrowing down the selection and saving you the time of sifting through numerous reviews. Read on for a list of our seven favorite boat shoes for men, plus a buyer’s guide and tips on how to wear and maintain your shoes.

(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Boat Shoes for Women)

The Best Boat Shoes for Men Reviews (Top Picks)

Below, we cover our favorite boat shoes for men in 2021. Note that although we present our favorites as a numbered list, this isn’t a ranking — we love all these shoes equally!

1. Sperry Men’s A/o 2-Eye Tones Boat Shoe

Sperry’s is the original boat shoe and renowned for its quality. The brand was founded by Paul Sperry, an avid sailor, in the 1930s.

He was inspired to develop the shoes’ signature herringbone sole after examining the paws of his cocker spaniel, Prince — who never seemed to slip on ice.

The Sperry Men’s A/o 2-Eye Tones Boat Shoe upholds the brand’s tradition of quality craftsmanship. The moccasin features a leather body that conforms to the foot for maximum comfort and an EVA shock-absorbing sole, ideal for rough seas.

The non-marking rubber soles are designed to avoid scuffing boat decks. The rust-resistant eyelets and slotted collar will hold up in rain or shine, while the full-grained leather uppers are resistant to salt and freshwater alike.

These shoes come in a wide range of colors, allowing you to choose anything from classic beige to stand-out red. Sperry’s also offers wide and extra-wide sizes.

Pros

  • Diverse range of colors
  • The cachet of the “original” boat shoe
  • Soft body conforms to the foot

Cons

  • Soles may squeak
  • Insole material disintegrates with time
  • Laces may fray

2. Columbia Boat Shoe

These sturdy boat shoes are a favorite among anglers. They feature waterproof fabric with a breathable design and a durable outsole that is great for gripping slick surfaces. You can safely and confidently wear this shoe on the boat or the dock, fishing pole in hand.

The Columbia Boat Shoe comes in seven different colors, offering a versatile design. Your feet will dry fast if they get wet, and you’ll remain comfortable, thanks to the interior mesh.

These shoes are 100% synthetic, made of a mix of canvas and leather. The tech lite midsole is lightweight and offers superior cushioning, made for long-lasting comfort.

Columbia makes sizes 7 to 17 and also offers extra-wide models. The simple lacing system ensures a secure fit, no matter what size you get.

Pros

  • Wide range of sizes, including extra-wide models
  • Interior mesh enhances comfort
  • Lightweight midsole is excellent for long, active days

Cons

  • Some people don’t like synthetic materials
  • Stitching may tear
  • Tight around the toe

3. Sperry Moc Boat Shoe

For a sportier version of the traditional Sperry boat shoe, in case you prefer this kind of style, check out the Sperry Moc Boat Shoe. The design resembles an athletic shoe, with a higher side and back, providing additional support for the feet and ankles.

This sport mocassin comes in three shades, grey, tan, and navy. The upper is made of water-resistant leather and features a cool mesh upper for fast drying, preventing painful blisters.

If you need extra arch support, the removable cushioned footbed has you covered. The memory-foam insole molds to the shape of your foot over time, providing fantastic comfort.

Of course, you get the usual Sperry sole featuring a slip-proof EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) footbed that will keep you safe on wet and slick surfaces.

Pros

  • A unique design resembling an athletic trainer
  • Memory-foam cushioned footbed
  • Higher sides and back than a typical boat shoe, for added support

Cons

  • The athletic style makes this shoe great for outdoors but not everyday wear
  • May cause sweaty feet
  • Material stains easily

4. Vionic Lloyd Slip-On Boat Shoe

These boat shoes stand out because a podiatrist designed them to alleviate aches and pains. It should come as no surprise that this is comfortable footwear. The Vionic Lloyd Slip-On Boat Shoe offers arch and heel support to accommodate extended wear.

The upper is made of pliable oil-treated leather, while the rubber sole features excellent shock absorption and grip.

If you have foot troubles like plantar fasciitis or overpronation, take a look at these boat shoes. Vionic is a brand of orthopedic footwear. The thing is, these stylish shoes are designed so that nobody will be able to tell you’re wearing orthopedic footwear. You can be comfy and stylish.

You can get these in sizes 7 to 13. They are only available in medium width.

Pros

  • Excellent arch and heel support
  • An orthopedic shoe disguised as a boat shoe, meaning maximum comfort
  • Solid shock absorption

Cons

  • Limited sizing, only available up to size 13 and only in medium with
  • Only two colors available, navy and brown
  • Pricier than some other brands, likely because of the orthopedic extras

5. Dockers Men’s Beacon Boat Shoe

Docker’s is another brand name synonymous with the preppy lifestyle. These boat shoes are an updated version of the classic moccasin, offering a more robust sole and durable upper made of 90% leather and 10% rubber.

The shoes come treated with NeverWet, an anti-stain and water guard, so they easily repel spills. Plus, instead of just relying on eyelets for ventilation like some boat shoes, this model features mesh netting on the side to promote airflow.

Additionally, the footbed is treated with CleanSport NXT, a unique antimicrobial technology to prevent bacteria growth and control odor.

The Dockers Men’s Beacon Boat Shoe shoe is stylish, functional, and affordable. The tie closure offers a secure fit. Double goring on each side ensures they are easy to slip on and off. The lightweight EVA sole is flexible yet comfortable.

Pros

  • Mesh inserts promote airflow
  • Treated with antimicrobial technology and a stain guard
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Causes blisters if not worn with socks
  • Sizes tend to run smaller than average
  • The sole insert falls apart quickly

6. Timberland Men’s Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe

If you associate the Timberland name solely with hiking boots, you’re missing out. The Timberland Men’s Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe offers a timeless and elegant design.

This brand is known for quality manufacturing, and these shoes are no exception. They feature a strong moccasin toe and a comfortable synthetic sole, outfitted with an EVA insert for added support.

The upper is made of genuine leather and can stand up to the harsh boating lifestyle.

If you plan to wear these shoes with regular cotton socks, order half a size up as they tend to run snug. If you want to wear them without socks, they will be closer to your usual size. Sizing ranges from 6 to 15, and there are also half sizes available.

Pros

  • Top-quality manufacturing
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Elegant design

Cons

  • Sizes tend to run small
  • Take a long time to wear in
  • Stiff leather can cause blisters

7. Sanuk Men’s Casa Barco Boat Shoe

For a more casual boat shoe, opt for the Sanuk Men’s Casa Barco Boat Shoe. What sets these apart? They’re made of fabric, allowing your feet to breathe.

A fabric upper also requires less maintenance than leather. Plus, it stretches and adapts to your foot shape even faster than leather, requiring less time to wear in. This canvas shoe features laces, but if you want more room, you can remove them.

The premium EVA insole has been treated with an antimicrobial wash, reducing odor. This is especially important for canvas shoes because they are less water-resistant than leather, and lingering dampness can cause odors.

The shoe comes in diverse shades, from subdued gray and navy to a bold dusty red. You can keep them fresh by merely washing the canvas with dish soap and water when they get dirty.

Pros

  • More casual-looking canvas upper
  • More comfortable to wear in than leather shoes
  • Simple to wash and maintain

Cons

  • Less water-resistant than leather
  • Prone to stains
  • Not suitable for more formal contexts

(You can also check our top pickups of Sailing Boat Shoes)

Best Boat Shoes for Men Buyer’s Guide: Your Guide to Selecting the Best Product

Above, we’ve covered some of the best boat shoes for men. Still not sure which ones are right for you? That’s what this buyer’s guide is for.

Here’s what to consider when selecting boat shoes:

  • Materials: Traditional boat shoes are made of leather, but you can also find modern models made of synthetic materials, canvas, and more.
  • Orthopedic support: If you have foot problems, prioritize boat shoes with good arch support and shock absorption.
  • Color: Traditional boat shoes come in beige or tan, but today’s styles offer various hues, from red to navy and beyond.
  • Water-resistance: If you plan to wear your boat shoes on the water, you want them to be water-resistant and dry quickly. Look for assets like venting to deter moisture.
  • Fit: Different brands vary in terms of size offering, with some going up to size 17 and others stopping at size 13. Also, not all brands offer wide sizes.

Using Your Best Boat Shoes for Men The Right Way

You can wear boat shoes to the beach, for traveling, and even to the office if you work in a business casual environment.

There are no hard and fast rules for wearing boat shoes, but here are some basic pointers:

  • Only wear boat shoes with no-shoe socks. Socks detract from the stylish shoe.
  • Wear boat shoes with shorter-length pants. You can roll your pants if you want to. Opt for cotton trousers that skim the tops of your shoes and then cuff them for a casual look.
  • Pair them with a polo. Boat shoes are notoriously a preppy style. Run with it and wear them with a polo shirt.

Maintaining Your Boat Shoes for Men

It’s critical to take care of your boat shoes and keep them looking fresh. If they are worn, they will start to look more like slippers than outdoor shoes. That’s a little more casual than you probably want to look.

To help keep leather shoes looking their best, apply a protective spray before you first wear them. Let it dry for 24 hours before you take the shoes out.

If you get a stain on your shoes, use a dry brush to remove it. Don’t use water or stain remover, which can worsen the mark. Instead, move the brush over the stain in one consistent direction to remove the dirt without scratching the material.

Finally, there’s the issue of odor. Use baby powder to keep odors related to moisture and sweat at bay. You can also put dryer sheets into your shoes overnight. They will be fresh in the morning.

Best Boat Shoes for Men Comparison Chart

ProductPriceMaterialSoleUnique Features
Sperry Men's A/o 2-Eye Tones Boat Shoe$Full grain leatherRubber SoleDiverse range of colors, soft body conforms to the foot
Columbia Boat Shoe$LeatherSynthetic SoleWide range of sizes, interior mesh enhances comfort
Sperry Moc Boat Shoe$LeatherRubber SoleMemory-foam cushioned footbed
Vionic Lloyd Slip-On Boat Shoe$Removable leatherEVA SoleExcellent arch and heel support
Dockers Men’s Beacon Boat Shoe$LeatherRubber SoleMesh inserts promote airflow, affordable price
Timberland Men's Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe$LeatherRubber SoleTop-quality manufacturing
Sanuk Men's Casa Barco Boat Shoe$CottonRubber SoleMore comfortable to wear in than leather shoes, simple to wash and maintain

Wrap Up: The Best Boat Shoes for Men

As you can see from the above guide, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to boat shoes for men. Ultimately, the question of which shoe is “best” is a matter of personal preference. You’re sure to find something to suit your taste based on our reviews.

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