9 Best Boat Shoes Reviewed: Men & Women Styles Compared

When going on a boating adventure or a boat fishing trip, you want to have the right footwear. Boating shoes come in non-marking rubber soles with strong tread and traction for a wet deck.

Boat shoes will help keep your feet cool while offering great traction as you move around the boat. This review will break down our favorite boat shoes and help you make your boat shoe decision.

Preview

Product

Material

Available Sizing

Check Price

Sperry Men's A/O 2 Eye Boat Shoe,Tan,11 M US

Sperry Men's Authentic

Leather

5-16

Timberland Men's Classic 2-Eye Boat Shoe,...

Timberland

Men's Classic 2-Eye

Leather

6-15

Columbia Men's Drainmaker IV Boat Shoe,...

Columbia

Men's Drainmaker IV

Textile

7-15

Dockers Men's Castaway Boat Shoe,Tan,11.5 M...

Dockers

Men's Castaway

Leather

7-15

Tommy Hilfiger Men's Bowman Boat shoe,Coffee...

Tommy Hilfiger

Men's Bowman

Leather

7-13

adidas outdoor Men's Terrex Climacool Boat...

adidas

outdoor Men's Terrex Climacool

Mesh

7-14

Sperry Womens A/O 2-Eye Boat Shoe, Classic...

Sperry Women's Bluefish 2-Eye

Leather

5-12

adidas outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool Boat...

adidas Outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool

Textile

8-11

Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoe...

Sperry Authentic

Leather

5-10 toddler, 1-13.5 Little Kid, 1-13.5 Big Kid


Benefits of Wearing Quality Boat Shoes

There are many benefits when it comes to wearing boat shoes over regular shoes. Boat shoes are designed for anglers and others who plan to spend time around water.

They are specifically designed for the in/out nature of boating and the slick, wet surfaces involved when on a boat deck or pier. Boat shoes are best in warmer climates because they tend to have low profiles and are not designed to be worn in cold weather. However, there are boat shoes made specifically for colder climates.

Boat shoes are perfect for fishers who want better stability and balance on the water, want to keep their feet dry, and would like greater breathability in their shoes. Boat shoes are similar in model but tend to be broken up into two categories: traditional and athletic.

Traditional boat shoes tend to be made of leather, suede, or canvas and are great at wicking water away. Athletic boat shoes tend to be more cushioned and are best for long runs or hikes after boating, but do not tend to wick water away as well as traditional boat shoes.


A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Quality Boat Shoes

Material

Boat shoes come in materials such as full-grain leather, synthetic leather, canvas, suede, and nubuck. Leather is typically preferred because leather can easily be treated to repel water. Leather is also a more traditional choice and creates the most fashionable shoe. However, canvas shoe options tend to be more athletic choices and are great for anglers who plan to go running after a day on the water.

Tread & Traction

Boat shoes need to have a sharp tread for traction when boating. Anglers will often be stepping on wet surfaces. Whether you are on the boat or the dock, you want shoes that won’t slip and will give you the traction you need to move around easily. Look for boat shoes with deep tread and traction technology. 

Comfort

There are a variety of different boat shoe models that all offer different comfort levels. Consider whether or not you need ankle support or arch support on a long day trip. If you do, you may want to choose a boat shoe model with added support built-in so you won’t tire or experience significant pain halfway through the day.

Water Resistance Features

Boat shoes come in both waterproof and water resistant models. Waterproof boat shoes can be submerged fully in water and will retain their structure. Water resistant boat shoes cannot be submerged in water but can get wet.

If you plan to go diving, we recommend waterproof boat shoes unless you want to remove your shoes before your drive. Water resistant boat shoes tend to be best when considering other outdoor activities such as running or hiking because water resistant shoes tend to have more cushioned and supportive insoles.

Boat Shoe Features

Consider the different boat shoe features available on varying models such as a non-marking sole, water-wicking uppers, padded insole, durable heel, or a handsewn leather exterior. Find out what features you need and make sure that those features are found in your boat shoe selection. Boat shoes with the most features tend to be the priciest, but also last the longest.

Price

Boat shoes tend to cost anywhere from $40 to $200. More expensive boating shoes tend to have better features such as stronger sole traction and more durable laces. These shoes may be a better value over time because they are more durable. We recommend choosing the highest quality shoe that fits within your budget.


9 Best Boat Shoes Reviewed

1. Sperry Men's Authentic

Our top pick

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

5-16

Traction

Good — wave-siping soles

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Sperry Men’s Authentic boat shoe is our top pick for best boat shoes for men. This model is made with beautiful leather that comes in more than a dozen styles. Sperry is well known for being a top fashion choice among many anglers. The Authentic boat shoe model has traditional leather colors such as cream, tan, brown, and black. Other more unique colors include madras, washed blue, washed gray, navy flags, and black amaretto.

The leather is also handsewn for a beautiful aesthetic and more sturdy construction. Rustproof eyelets keep laces connected without deteriorating. This model also comes with razor-cut soles for superior traction in both wet and dry environments. Sperry uses a cutting technique called Wave-Siping to move water away from the bottom of the shoe and make movement easy on deck and off. The heel has a beveled edge, so anglers can brace themselves on a sloped surface.

Alex wrote on Sperry,

“I’ve been buying these Sperry shoes for years and every time I buy a new pair I am reminded why. They are comfortable, easy to work into a number of outfits, and durable.”

These boating shoes are expensive, however, and won’t work as a bargain boating shoe pick. Some users noted that the insoles on these boat shoes can curl over time. Curling most likely results from frequent submersion in water.

We recommend avoiding submerging these shoes in water. Sperry Authentic boating shoes are made for water exposure but are not waterproof. These leather boat shoes are fashion forward, high-quality, and come with razor-cut soles.

Pros
  • Numerous color options
  • Rustproof eyelets
  • Razor-cut soles
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Insoles can curl

2. Timberland Men's Classic 2-Eye

Runner Up

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

6-15

Traction

Good — siped rubber

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Timberland Men’s Classic 2-Eye boat shoe is our runner-up choice. These boat shoes have a completely leather exterior and are both fashionable and durable. These shoes come in several leather color choices from steeple gray and tan to dark brown and root beer brown. Timberlake is known for its classic colors and styling choices with louder accents.

For example, the navy blue boat shoes have contrasting dark brown leather laces. The leather is waterproof, not just water resistant and does well even when submerged in water. The rubber sole has a gripped pattern for stronger traction on the boat.

The laces are high-quality rawhide, and the upper of each shoe is hand sewn together. These boat shoes have a narrow toe box compared to other models, and anglers who prefer a wide toe box may be disappointed. The fit for normal/narrow toe box anglers will be ideal.

Jack wrote on Timberland,

“Love these shoes. Can wear them on so many occasions.”

These shoes are great for walks or lounging around, but they struggle to hold up on intense hikes or runs. These boat shoes are also on the expensive side. However, we recommend these shoes as a great option for anglers who want beautiful, well-crafted leather boat shoes.

Pros
  • Waterproof Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Gripped Traction
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not good for running, hiking

3. Columbia Men's Drainmaker Iv

best boat shoes for fishing

Material

Textile

Available Sizing

7-15

Traction

Good — rubber outsole

Shoe Height

Ankle

The Columbia Men’s Drainmaker lv make the best boat shoes for fishing. These men's boat shoes have a rubber sole and come in sizes 7-15. The rubber sole provides reliable traction on wet surfaces, and the comforting synthetic textile of the shoe material feels soft to the touch. The straps are adjustable and let anglers create the perfect shoe fit.

A winter tread pattern on the rubber sole also works well for cold climates where snow or ice might be present. For example, if you also plan to go ice fishing, this is a great boat shoe choice. This boat shoe also has a sturdy frame and additional foot support compared to traditional boat shoes. The shoe comes in black, gray, and blue color options. 

Some anglers have noted that this shoe has a tighter fit compared to other athletic shoes, and anglers may want to size up a ½ size for the perfect fit. The other common complaint with this shoe is the lack of a traditional boat shoe style. This shoe was designed to be an athletic boat shoe ready for running, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Rhodes shared on Columbia,

“This shoe allows me to venture into the surf in order to cast a bit further and have my feet protected from rocks & sharp shells. The only design feature I would prefer is better lacing, perhaps a slip on version.”

This is a great boat shoe for athletic enthusiasts who plan on walking, running, or hiking while boating.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Athletic shoe for running, hikes
  • Sturdy frame
Cons
  • Not fashionable
  • Tighter fit

4. Dockers Men's Castaway

boat deck shoes

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

7-15

Traction

Average — Rubber sole, lacks grip

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Dockers Men’s Castaway is our choice for best boat deck shoes. We like that this boat shoe is affordable while still being made from 100% leather. The rubber sole is durable and provides needed traction on wet surfaces.

The shoe comes in sizes 7-15; however, the shoe only has two colors available: tan and raisin. The aesthetics of this shoe are similar to that of more expensive brands, including the traditional moc-stitched toe. Anglers have also noted that this shoe doesn’t need time to break in and feels comfortable immediately.

Harl wrote on Docker’s Shoes,

“This is the third or fourth pair of shoes of this style and I love the way they feel and last. The most enjoyable shoe I have ever owned.”

Anglers have said that this boat shoe lacks arch support. Traditional leather boat shoes are not well known for cushioning or arch support, but this particular shoe has a thinner sole. If arch support is important to you, we recommend ordering a ½ size larger and adding an orthopedic insole.

This shoe also lacks a handsewn upper, which means that the top of the shoe may separate from the bottom over time. For anglers who want an affordable, traditional leather boat shoe, we recommend this model.

Pros
  • Leather
  • Affordable
  • Rubber sole
Cons
  • Lack of arch support
  • Not handsewn upper

5. Tommy Hilfiger Men's Bowman

best made boat shoes (most stylish)

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

7-13

Traction

Bad — no grip

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Bowman is the best made boat shoe on our list and arguably the most stylish. It is expensive, but the all-leather exterior and rubber sole are well worth it. The leather laces are also beautiful and add a touch of elegance.

Laces follow the around-the-collar or 360-degree lacing pattern. This shoe comes in numerous colors from black and coffee bean to tan and cognac. Most sole colors are white on this particular boat shoe, which lends an air of sophistication to the shoe. This shoe fits true to size. The moccasin toe stitching is a classic design element. The word “Hilfiger” is stamped across the tongue of the shoe for fans of the brand.

The rubber soles are non-marking, so they won't scuff up your boat deck. Unfortunately, these boat shoes are one of the most stylish options on our list but also have the least amount of traction. These boat shoes are best for short outings and everyday wear.

If you plan to wear these while boating, you may want to consider another pair with better traction. However, this shoe is made with the highest-quality materials and is both comfortable and durable. If you want a beautiful, stylish shoe that is well-made, we recommend this leather boat shoe.

Pros
  • Leather
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Lack traction

6. adidas outdoor Men's Terrex Climacool

best boat tennis shoes

Material

Mesh

Available Sizing

7-14

Traction

Good — Traction outsole

Shoe Height

Ankle

The Adidas Outdoor Men's Terrex Climacool is the best boat tennis shoes choice for anglers. This athletic boat shoe is great for anglers who want a sturdy, breathable, and affordable athletic-inspired boat shoe.

This shoe has a guaranteed perfect fit with an adjustable and stretchable heel insert. It fits true to size and drains water well after being submerged. These boat shoes are lightweight and comfortable. We also like that the outsole has a traction grip that can help anglers avoid slipping on wet surfaces. Mesh upper is both ventilated and has a drainage system to keep the shoe cool and eliminate water.

Kato wrote on Adidas,

“Definitely recommend for anyone doing any water activity that also requires footing to be secure.”

The laces are flimsy and may need to be replaced, but picking up a pair of athletic water-resistant laces isn't difficult. Laces can be swapped out at home. Anglers have reported that this shoe lacks the traditional boat shoe style that looks great on the boat.

If style is your goal, you might want to consider one of the traditional leather boat shoe options. However, this shoe is perfect for hikers, joggers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who want a sturdy, breathable, athletic shoe that is also water resistant.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Stretchable heel insert
Cons
  • Lacks style
  • Flimsy laces

7. Sperry Women's Bluefish 2-Eye

best boat shoes for women

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

5-12

Traction

Good — non-marking and gripped

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Sperry Women’s Bluefish 2-Eye are the best boat shoes for women on our list. These shoes have a classic leather boat shoe look but in a feminine style with a more narrow toe box. The laces still continue around the shoe in 360-degree style, and leather laces are also used for a refined look. The eyelets holding the laces are bronzed or an aluminum finish to match the aesthetic of the shoe.

These shoes come in several leather options from tan and classic brown to black. The rubber sole is non-marking and has a gripped sole to keep anglers steady when walking on wet surfaces. The heel is approximately ½" tall and creates a sturdy base for anglers while moving about. These shoes run slightly large, and we recommend purchasing ½ size smaller than your typical size.

Molly wrote on Sperry,

“These are exactly what I expected them to be. They are comfortable and as they start to break in, they look even better than before.”

These shoes do need to be broken in and may feel slightly stiff for the first few wears. They are also more expensive than comparable leather boat shoe brands, but Sperry is known for its high-quality and well made boat shoes that are as durable as they are fashionable.

Pros
  • Leather
  • Non-marking
  • Gripped sole
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Need to be broken in

8. adidas Outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool

Most comfortable women's boat shoes

Material

Textile

Available Sizing

8-11

Traction

Good — gripped sole

Shoe Height

Ankle

The Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Climacool are the best comfortable women’s boat shoes for anglers who want an athletic style. These shoes are also the most stylish athletic boat shoes we’ve found with their sleek silhouette and subtle accents. The upper is made out of Adidas’s signature Climacool mesh for extra breathability and ongoing cooling for those warm fishing days.

The midsole and outsole are water resistant and have a built-in drainage system to flush water out of the shoe. The outsole also has a gripped pattern to make sure anglers won’t be sliding around the deck. These shoes fit true to size. Laces do not tie, so this shoe can easily be slipped on and off.

Aaron remarked on Adidas,

“These shoes are a great summertime boating shoe thanks to their vented bottoms, and the look pairs well with anything from a dress to a bathing suit.”

These shoes, however, only come in a single color option: black with white accents. This shoe is also made with a textile material and not the traditional leather boat shoe material. This boat shoe is best for active women who want to feel comfortable while fishing and want to participate in other outdoor activities without swapping out their boat shoes for sneakers.

Pros
  • Breathable
  • Gripped soles for maximum traction
  • Sleek silhouette
Cons
  • One color choice
  • Non-leather

9. Sperry Authentic

best boat shoes for kids

Material

Leather

Available Sizing

5-10 toddler, 1-13.5 Little Kid, 1-13.5 Big Kid

Traction

Good — gripped soles

Shoe Height

Low cut/low profile

The Sperry Authentic is the best boat shoe for kids. This shoe comes in a variety of sizes, including toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes. Sperry Authentic children's shoes also come in playful colors, including aqua and rose gold, as well as red plaid and teaberry.

Standard black, navy, brown, and tan colors are also available. These shoes fit true to size and hug little feet for a good fit. Each shoe is made out of 100% leather for a stylish look and a secure fit. Because the shoes are made from 100% leather, it may take a few days for kids to fully break in their shoes.

In one review on Sperry, a customer says,

“Love how stylish this shoe is on my 3 month old. They fit him perfectly.”

The lacing system follows the adult Sperry shoes with 360 lacing and a handsewn moccasin toe box. Some kids have trouble with the leather laces, so parents may have to assist with re-tying while out on the boat.

These shoes are also more expensive compared to other kid's shoes, but the traction they offer to protect children on wet surfaces is well worth it. If you want a traditional boat shoe for your kid, the Sperry Authentic is the best on the market. 

Pros
  • Leather
  • Good Fit
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Expensive for a kid’s shoe
  • Leather laces difficult for young kids

Comparing Boat Shoes for Men & Women

Men’s boat shoes and women’s boat shoes are similar in many ways; however, women's boat shoes can be focused on fashion over functionality.

Cost tends to be comparable for both genders. When purchasing boat shoes for men or women, make sure that the shoe has strong traction and is water resistant or waterproof.


Sizing Your Next Boat Shoe

Leather boat shoes fit differently than standard shoes because they tend to stretch as they become worn in.

When looking at traditional leather boat shoe styles, you want to consider going ½ size to a full size smaller than your normal size. We recommend starting with ½ for best fit results. Athletic style boat shoes will fit similar to athletic shoes.


Tips for Caring for Your Boat Shoes

Caring for your boat shoes depends on the type of boat shoes that you have and the type of material used in their construction. For example, leather boat shoes have different care instructions compared to athletic textile-based boat shoes. Taking care of your boat shoes properly will increase their overall lifespan.

If you have leather boat shoes, use a water-based cream shoe polish to wipe down your shoe each month. After a particular dirty boating session, use a soft bristle brush to free dirt and then use a leather cleaner to wipe the dirt away. We also recommend using a leather conditioner approximately 1-3x a year to keep your shoes soft.

If you have athletic textile-based boat shoes, check to see if they are machine washable. You may be able to use a gentle cycle and cold water to wash your shoes in the washing machine. If not, use a damp washcloth with soap and water to gently wipe away dirt and allow your shoes to air dry.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use boat shoes for hiking or swimming?

Yes! Most boat shoes, sometimes called water shoes, are ready for beach strolls, hiking, diving, and kayaking, as well as boating. Brands will list the types of activities, so you can check each description to make sure. However, boat shoes tend to be made with the idea of ongoing physical activities in mind.

What’s the best way to clean my Timberland boat shoes?

Timberland boat shoes are best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a stiff brush. The goal is to remove the debris and dirt before thoroughly scrubbing the boat shoes. After scrubbing, a light rinse will remove the soap. Finally, place your Timberland boat shoes in the sun and allow the shoes to air dry.

Should I wear socks with my boat shoes?

You can wear socks with your boat shoes as well as go sockless. It’s up to you and whatever feels most comfortable. We do recommend wearing no show socks with your boat shoes if you intend to wear socks. Typical socks will stick up, far beyond the shoe’s edge, and won’t be aesthetically pleasing.

Are Sperry’s good boat shoes?

Sperry’s are good boat shoes; however, Sperry's are water-friendly, not waterproof. If you want a pair of waterproof boat shoes, then you will want to consider another brand. Some people also prefer athletic cushioning in their boat shoes (for example, Columbia Men’s Drainmaker lv). Many people love Sperry’s boat shoes because of their fashion forward aesthetic.


Conclusion

For a long day on the lake, we recommend Sperry Men’s Authentic boat shoe. Fashionable in design, a handsewn leather exterior, and razor-sharp soles make this the perfect boating shoe for most anglers.

For a more athletic boat shoe option that would better as a running shoe as well because of its added cushion, consider the Columbia Men’s Drainmaker lv. This model has a water-wicking exterior and wet-traction outsoles while offering athletic shoe cushioning.