The Top 5 Best Sailing Shoes

Buying Guide

Have you ever tried to successfully sail rockier waves with standard shoes that have no grip or ones that just aren’t comfortable for extended periods of time? Maybe you don’t want to ruin your general shoes, and need something that will provide comfortability during sailing. Finding the best sailing shoes can be tough since you can’t try them on in person (if you’re buying online), but with our guide, we hope to help you narrow down the perfect selection. We’ll be discussing the benefits of buying sailing shoes, factors you should consider before you purchase your own set of sailing shoes, and tips on how you can choose the best sailing shoes for your desires and needs.

Benefits of Buying Sailing Shoes

There are quite a few obvious benefits of buying the best sailing shoes, and we’ll go deeper into that here. Also known as “boat shoes”, you may have seen this trend skyrocket in casual wear within the last ten years. Brands like Vans and Journey’s have a boatload (pun intended) of boat styled shoes for casual wear, but none for optimal usage during sailing. Pinpointing the differences between trendy footwear and usable footwear is key during times like this. Benefits of the best sailing shoes include:

Comfort: When it comes to boat shoes, they’re mostly made to contour the shape of your feet while you have to hold them firmly in place in the midst sailing. When it comes to the human foot and the bottom of a boat, the grip of a foot in the wrong shoe can harm your feet and cause them to hurt an extreme amount. Because of their comfortability and ease of use in terms of putting on, boat shoes are very common in fashion. The aforementioned is why we see waves of young people trekking into these trendy skater stores to purchase their own pair – comfortability. With fishing and sailing, you’re mostly always on your feet, and comfort is key. Without comfort during a physical activity as such, you’re not going to be comfortable. In return, you’re going to be miserable and your sailing experience will be ruined. Most boat shoes are made of canvas or leather, both of which are comfortable materials that allow your feet to breathe. Another aspect of comfortability comes from the treatment that the outer material of sailing shoes generally have. The best sailing shoes will have a coating around the leather or canvas to ensure that the water won’t penetrate and soak your feet as you ride those vicious waves.

Safety: Your average, inexpensive pair of sailing shoes may not be able to take the rough and slippery deck. Obviously, you’ve gone sailing before, and you know that the decks of a boat can get extremely wet due to the surroundings. Depending on the day, waves get more rough and a quality pair of boat shoes will ensure that you’re not slipping everywhere. If you sail alone, safety is key, and you must take precautions when it comes to something as simple as your footwear. While the uppers can be made from treated canvas and leather, the bottoms of the shoes must have a wonderful rubber to help with gripping. If your sailing shoes don’t have any grip, they aren’t meant to be taken on the waves with you – they’re meant to be worn as a fashion statement.

Cost: Compared to other hobbies and niches, shoes for those hobbies can get quite expensive. A great aspect of the best sailing shoes is that they are generally cheaper than other types of shoes. Quality sailing shoes are not only comfortable and durable, but they’re also great on the wallet and won’t burn a hole through your pocket. While sometimes the cost of the best sailing shoes can be a bit higher, in perspective, they pay for themselves because of the longevity of the shoe. Instead of having to buy a new pair every year, an initial cost versus the longevity of the investment will prove that the cost isn’t that bad, and quality sailing shoes reign supreme.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Sailing Shoes

Now that we’ve gone over some of the few benefits of buying the best sailing shoes, let’s take a look at a few factors that you must consider before actually purchasing said sailing shoes.

Your budget: The financial aspect of a purchase and your budget are two things you should always think about. Don’t run your wallet into the ground just because you think the most expensive pair means the best; this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the least expensive pairs end up being the best for those with a certain boating style or a specific style of walking/feet.

Know your size: The aforementioned is inevitable, but there are people who don’t know their genuine size and just continue going with a pair that matches their last shoe size perfectly. Learn how to find your own size properly or make sure to get professionally measured to ensure that you’re getting the best size possible.

Material: It’s not all about you – well, totally, anyway. Make sure you know the types of materials that are often found with boating shoes (canvas and leather), and pinpoint which is best and may work for you. It’s also beneficial to know different types of lacing styles and lacing materials. Researching on this more may help you find that one way works for your style better than others. Just because someone loves one style, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you and your feet, along with your boating style.

Before we get too far into the informational aspect, let’s take a look at some quick tips before jumping into the reviews.

Tips to Know Before Buying

Benefits and factors aren’t the only things you should know before purchasing the best sailing shoes. In fact, there are a few more tips you should be made aware of before checking out the forthcoming reviews. Some of these tips include the following:

  • Always buy the right size: No, really. There are many people who skimp out on the proper sizing in order to save money or because they think they can “break them in”. Buying the right shoe size is pivotal when it comes to the success of your sailing shoes. If you don’t buy the proper size, you’re risking your safety and making the quality of the shoe useless. When they don’t cater to your feet, you’re better off buying a pair with bad grip – as long as they fit comfortably. Not only can the wrong shoe size make you fall on the deck, but it can leave your feet sore for days or weeks – depending on when you stop using them.
  • Wear for the purpose: Instead of constantly wearing your boating shoes because they’re comfortable and with grip, make sure to only wear them when you’re sailing. Instead of running them down into the ground, use them for their purpose to make sure you get the most out of them. They aren’t made for general wear constantly, and could potentially harm your feet or posture if you buy a bad pair and continuously wear them.

Now, let’s get into some reviews of the best sailing shoes that the internet can offer for your budget and boating style.

Sailing Shoe Reviews

1) Helly Hansen Men’s Hydropower 4 Shoe

First up on our list is a pair of sailing shoes from Helly Hansen. Highly rated and well-received by the general public, the aforementioned pair of boat shoes comes in a variety of sizes and colors, while boasting a number of features. These features include the following:

  • Upper that’s synthetic/mesh
  • Mesh is quick drying, protects
  • Low top style of shoe
  • Molded EVA sock liner

The Breakdown of the Features

One thing that these Helly Hansen’s boast about is comfortability and breathability. Mesh is a great material for your feet to be able to breathe, but are they able to protect your feet against the water you face when boating? The answer in short, is yes. The synthetic/mesh upper not only gives you support and breathability, but the mesh also promises to have TPU stability and promises quick drying capabilities. The shaft of the shoe measures in a way that is technically “low top” because of the distance from the arch. Coming in black, grays, and blue tones, the variety of colors match the tones of the sea. The molded EVA sock liner ensures that the movement of the shoe will contour your feet and socks for comfortability and ease of use while wearing.

The Advantages of the Product

One of the advantages of this pair of shoes is the quick drying aspect. After all, you’re going to be spending most of the time wearing these on the water. Having a shoe that can dry quickly, while still being composed of mesh materials, is a shoe that’s successful. The protection fram and TPU stability ensure that you’re going to be able to wear these with ease without being uncomfortable. The bottoms of the shoe also have a contoured design that favors the areas of your feet that see the most pressure against the ground. Having this feature implemented within the rubber ensures that your safety is a priority when it comes to being on a slippery deck.

The Disadvantages of the Product

We can’t find too many disadvantages that put you at risk, but we can say that the lack of variety in colors is one of the large disadvantages. Of course, these are men’s shoes, so another disadvantage is that there aren’t size directly for women. It’s worth mentioning that all women can find their sizes in men’s by subtracting 1-2 full sizes from their normal size.


2) Adidas Outdoor Unisex Climacool Boat Lace Water Shoe

Manufactured by Adidas outdoor, these Climacool outdoor shoes may shoe promise to the average boater. Coming in a variety of trendy color schemes, features of the aforementioned include the following:

  • Low-top measurements from shaft
  • Climacool implementation ensures breathability
  • EVA tongue top
  • Heel insert that’s stretchable

Breakdown of the Features

One of the more notable features of this shoe is something called “climacool” that Adidas have implemented within some of their water shoes. The aforementioned is a type of material that’s open mesh and is implemented within this shoe for breathability purposes. Without this improvement on their water shoes, they wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable to wear on the water or on a rough deck. The heel insert that comes with this water shoe is stretchable to ensure that you’re going to be able to wear these shoes as if they were made for your feet. The Climacool Adidas shoe is also known as a low top shoe because of the measurement from the shaft to the arch. There are an array of colors to choose from, including lime green and bold blue color schemes, along with purples, oranges, and blues. With a larger variety than most, the choices can’t be beat.

The Advantages of the Product

One of the more notable advantages of this shoe is the Climacool technology that has been implemented within this style of shoe. Having a thicker upper infused with a breathable mesh ensures comfort and protection against the weather and rough water. With Climacool, this thick upper is breathable for those who need to air their feet out a bit. It’s also worth mentioning that those who find that shoes don’t cater to the contours of their feet, will find solace in knowing that this pair of shoes has a stretchable heel insert. Along with the aforementioned, it’s also worth mentioning that the EVA tongue ensures comfort and a better fit. EVA ensures that the material is going to expand to where you need it; where your feet need it. Without comfort, your shoe is basically useless – you’re better off going barefoot.

The Disadvantages of the Product

While the shoe does come in an array of sizes, if you’re a woman, you may have to subtract one to two full sizes from the men’s size. While this problem can be fixed upon by converting men’s to women sizing, it can be a risk to those who have never done it before. Other than the aforementioned, there aren’t too many disadvantages, as these shoes are affordable, attractive, and are of high quality.


3) Sperry Top-Sider Men’s SeaHiker GripX3 Boots

Much different in appearance than many we’ve mentioned and even many on the market, the aforementioned pair of Grip boots is manufactured by SPERRY. A well-known brand for innovation and design, these sailing shoes have features that include the following:

  • Rubber outsole
  • Synthetic materials
  • High top design
  • Velcro ankle adjustment

The Breakdown of the Features

With a Velcro ankle adjustment, instead of a set of laces, you’re going to be able to focus on the sea while being provided with more flexibility when it comes to the top of your feet. The high-top design ensures that your ankle is going to be protected from water, while being supported. The rubber outsole also ensures a great grip while providing an innovative design that doesn’t take away from the safety aspects of a great pair of boating shoes.

The Advantages of the Product

There are a few advantages to this product, despite what the appearance may look like. If you’re wanting something that’s going to protect more than a low top shoe will, you’ll want to try on this high-top pair of SeaHiker boots from SPERRY. Protecting more while providing more comfortability, the lack of laces ensures that you’re going to be able to move your foot more and be more flexible on the deck. Being more flexible in the foot and ankle area reduces the risk of injury, surprisingly.

The Disadvantages of the Product

One of the disadvantages of this shoe is that it doesn’t come with a lacing system implemented. The only area where you can adjust the size is around the ankle, which features a Velcro strap adjustment. It’s worth mentioning that the lack of laces ensures that the upper is going to be more breathable, and the overall shoe is going to be able to contour your feet a bit better.


4) Helly Hansen Men’s Fjord Canvas Shoe

Taking it back a bit, our next pair is manufactured by Helly Hansen and implements the traditional style of boat shoe – the canvas shoe. Coming in a variety of colors, this traditional pair of boat shoes features the following:

  • Canvas upper that’s premium
  • HellyGrip outsole
  • Variety of colors and sizes

The Breakdown of the Features

The HellyGrip outsole allows the Helly Hansen Fjord canvas shoes to have a good grip on the deck for those in the market for a traditional pair of canvas boat shoes. With a synthetic sole and a canvas upper that’s premium, you’re going to be quite comfortable on the water. Ideally, we believe that these are for those casual boaters on more calm waters.

The Advantages of the Product

There are a few advantages to the Fjord canvas shoes, including their color sections. With a variety of blue tones to darker tones like black and grey, you’re going to be able to get that traditional boater appearance like you’ve always wanted. Another advantage to this pair of shoes is the HellyGrip outsole that successfully protects from slipping. Despite the classic appearance, the HellyGrip implements a more advanced gripping technology.

The Disadvantages of the Product

Compared to the SeaHiker boots, the design of the aforementioned Fjord canvas shoe isn’t truly made for those who are constantly getting their feet wet. While these are more fashion wear than usable on the water, they’re still attractive in appearance and give that traditional boat shoe aesthetic that’s so trendy now-a-days.


5) Aleader Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Last on our list is a pair of water shoes that look like runner’s shoes, but implements gripping technology to keep you safe on the water. Manufactured by ALEADER, these water shoes have quite a few features. Some of these features include the following:

  • Water grip, cushion outsole
  • Solyte midsole
  • Air mesh upper
  • ComforDry Sockliner
  • Open upper mesh, hole on sole

The Breakdown of the Features

The ComforDry implementation is one you don’t want to miss out on, as the sockliner ensures that you’re going to be having a dry experience out on the water – your socks won’t get wet! The arch support within the insole ensures that your cushioning is fantastic and you won’t harm your feet with continual wear. It’s worth mentioning that the aforementioned features also ensure a cooler experience, allowing your feet to breathe. Speaking of, the air mesh upper ensures even further that your feet are going to be able to move and breathe at the same time.

The Advantages of the Product

The Solyte midsole ensures that your midsole is going to be as lightweight as possible, with a great amount of bounce – but not too much! Durability is also at the forefront of these shoes, as you don’t want a great pair of shoes running down quickly, now do you?

The Disadvantages of the Product

There aren’t too many disadvantages for this shoe, as they’re extremely affordable and reliable, but for women who want accurate sizing, you’ll have to convert ALEADER’s size chart for your feet. It’s worth mentioning that while a risk, you can still find your size upon researching and comfortably wear these men’s shoes.


The Final Verdict

We understand that you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to purchasing the best sailing shoes, and that’s okay – we’re hoping that our suggestion and guide have made (and will make it) easier for future purchases. If you’re looking for a suggestion on boating shoes, we highly suggest the Helly Hansen Men’s Hydropower 4 Shoe. Affordable in terms of budget, and with a great shoe structure, you’re going to have an easy time breaking these in and feeling comfortable. Coming in an array of neutral tones, the rubber sole and synthetic upper mesh ensures style and breathability – all in one.

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