Finding the right boating shoes can be hard simply because wearers must strike the right balance between coolness, comfort, and practicality. Boat shoes can go from dockside to dinner with minimal effort, but there are a few considerations to make when finding the ideal pair of boating shoes.
What Makes a Boat Shoe?
A preppy essential, boat shoes are an integral part of the modern woman’s wardrobe. While most boat shoes are made of leather, sustainable shoes are typically made of canvas or another type of cloth. They’re usually top-stitched and hand-sewn, with up to three eyelets. One of the most crucial features of the classic boat shoe—and what differentiates it from standard shoes—is the herringbone engraved sole, which provides stability and grip on slippery surfaces.
What to Consider When Shopping for Boat Shoes
Today’s boat shoes take their styling cues from the moccasins worn by Native Americans. They provide comfort and protection for the wearer’s feet, as well as traction on wet and muddy ground. When choosing a new pair of boat shoes, consider factors such as:
- Where the shoes will be worn
- Whether they offer enough protection and support
- The level of grip provided
- How warm they keep your feet
- The sustainability and durability of the shoe’s materials
These are just a few of the things customers should consider when buying boat shoes. In the sections below, we’ll tell you which qualities to look for in a new pair.
Herringbone Soles are a Must-Have
Boat shoes were born of necessity. The first pair was created when Paul Sperry suffered serious injuries after a slip-and-fall accident on his boat. After he recovered, Sperry looked for ways to make boat shoes safer, and he found it in the form of the herringbone sole. These patterned soles provide additional grip, and they’re a crucial feature of modern boat shoes.
Water Resistance and Comfort are Crucial
Once you have found a pair of boat shoes with sturdy, non-slip soles, check for water resistance. Boat shoes are typically made with moisture-wicking uppers that keep the wearer’s feet somewhat dry. While many prefer leather boat shoes for their timeless style, sustainable canvas versions dry much more quickly. When choosing a new pair, look for reinforced heels and toes, which will ensure longer wear.
Most people wear the same size in boat shoes and regular shoes, but it’s important to choose a pair that’s a bit snug at first. These shoes will loosen and stretch as they’re broken in, so consider going down about a half size.
Leather is Still a Great Choice
While canvas is a sustainable option, many wearers prefer leather. It’s more durable than most synthetic materials, and it’s the perfect choice for occasions where sneakers are inappropriate. Choose boat shoes made of soft leather, as they’ll break in sooner due to their high oil content.
Pick a Timeless Color
Today’s boat shoes are available in a range of patterns and colors, but most wearers would be best served by choosing a pair in a dark brown shade. It’s versatile enough to wear with almost any outfit, and the color itself is timeless and sophisticated. If brown isn’t your color, navy blue is a great alternative.
The Right Pair Can Make Your Look Great
Boat shoes can be an integral part of the modern woman’s wardrobe. They’re smart and casual, and they’re flexible enough to offer year-round comfort. With the tips and tricks in this guide, anyone can find a great pair of shoes that will last them for many years to come.