Features of Top 9 Boat Shoes for Comfort on the Water

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 05, 2022

Features of top 9 boat shoes, including how to find top boat shoes, which materials are best for different boating activities, comfort considerations

You might be looking for a list of top 10 boat shoes, but it’s important to understand that the best boat shoes are an individual choice depending on the type of boating you do. You should also consider the season or climate and how long you’ll be on your feet while aboard. These tips for pinpointing the top boat shoes based on key features can help you make a good decision about what to look for and which pair to buy.

Features of Boat Shoes for Fishing or Cruising

You might be wondering about the best boat shoe features for fishing, or if there are different types of men’s and women’s boat shoes that are better for sailing? The top boat shoes for fishing generally include non-marking soles, slip-resistance, quick dry/quick drain materials and design, odor resistant technology, cushioning, and are completely waterproof. The best boating shoes for sailing or cruising have features such as flexibility, stability, water-resistance, slip-resistance, breathability, and non-marking soft rubber soles.

1. Slip-Resistance

Look for SRC-rated boat shoes for women or boat shoes for men that have the highest slip-resistance rating achievable. Slip resistant soles are a key safety boat shoe feature for both fishing and sailing. SRC is the standard rating that is given to footwear when they pass two tests: SRA and SRB, where SRA stands for slip resistant on ceramic smeared with sodium lauryl sulphate and SRB stand for resistant to steel smeared with glycerol and an SRC rating is given when the footwear has tested under both SRA & SRB conditions.

2. Ventilation

Look for boat shoes with ventilation ports and vented designs that allow breathability and comfort. Ventilation features are designed to promote air flow and will also allow water to drain out of the shoe. This is especially important when fishing and boating in tropical climates to keep your feet cool.

3. Arch Support

Arch support in boat shoes will help more evenly distribute pressure that is typically focused on the heel and ball of the foot by distributing some of that pressure into the arches of your feet. If you stand on a hard boat deck to reel in fish or while behind the helm, having extra arch support can help prevent fallen arches and/or plantar fasciitis. Some brands, such as Timberland boat shoes, offer designs with an EVA-cushioned footbed with arch support.

4. Non-Marking Soles

Non-marking soles don’t leave any marks on the deck of a boat. Black scuff marks on a boat deck are typically caused by shoes with black rubber soles and hard leather. These scuffs can be hard to remove from a non-skid boat deck. Look for non-marking soles made from natural rubber

5. Lightweight

For long boat trips or standing on a boat deck for hours, you may want to look for boat shoes that are lightweight and have EVA midsoles. EVA stands for the plastic which is made by mixing ethylene and vinyl acetate. EVA is also about 30% lighter than PVC.

6. Durability

Another feature of top 10 boat shoes is durability. Premium leather is one of the most durable boat shoe materials is often classified as water resistant or water friendly, but leather shoes are often heavier and won’t dry as fast as hydrophobic or mesh water shoes. You may want to take a pass on shoes that have metal lace eyelets, which can corrode or rust when saltwater fishing or cruising out on the ocean.

7. Quick Drying

Today’s hydrophobic and lightweight mesh materials, like those used to make the water strider versions of Sperry boat shoes for men and Sperry women's boat shoes, are fast drying. While some types of boat shoes are made from leather or canvas, they won't perform as well as synthetic materials in a consistently wet environment.

8. Odor Resistance

There are men’s boat shoes, women’s boat shoes, boy’s boat shoes, and girl’s boat shoes on the market that have odor control and anti-microbial technology.

9. Waterproof

If you want fishing or cruising shoes that can handle sprays and splashes from offshore trips, waterproof footwear is a must. This way, when your shoes get soaked in saltwater, you won’t be compromising comfort, stability, and safety.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.