EDITOR'S PICKS


Best Overall
Helly Hansen Skagen F-1 Offshore Men's Sailing Shoes

4.9/5

  • HH® Quick Dry
  • HH® Max-Vent
  • HH® Pro Guard
  • UV-Activated Antibacterial Technology
Recommended
Best Quick Dry
Helly Hansen AHIGA V4 Hydropower Aqua-Trainers

4.9/5

  • HH® Quick Dry
  • HH® Max-Vent
  • HH® Pro Guard
  • Antimicrobial
Recommended
Most Versatile
Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoes

4.5/5

  • Quick Drying
  • Water Resistant Leather
  • Adaptive Wave-Siping™ Disperses Water
  • Removable Full-Length Compression Molded EVA Footbed

MORE PICKS TO CHOOSE FROM

Whether it's your first time out on the water, going laser sailing, or your umpteenth sailing trip, a good pair of sailing shoes is essential to your safety. Designed specifically for use on wet surfaces and slippery conditions. They'll improve traction and keep your feet comfortable during long days on the boat.

In this guide to sailing shoes, we're highlighting the best sailing shoes on the market from top boat shoe brands and offering helpful tips to ensure you find just the right pair. So grab your sailing hats and let the adventure begin.

What Type Of Shoes Is Best For Sailing?

Sailing shoes are designed specifically for wet conditions, such as on a slippery boat deck or wooden dock. While some are fashioned after athletic shoes, others styles are closer to boots or gaiters. Those referred to as boat shoes or deck shoes are typically made with a canvas or salt water resistant leather upper, a non-marking rubber sole, and a slip-on silhouette similar to a loafer.

Do You Wear Socks With Sailing Shoes?

While some people prefer to go sock-free, most prefer to wear socks with their boat shoes. Without them, you risk getting painful rubs and blisters that can quickly ruin your day on the water. Stick with performance socks designed specifically for use in soggy conditions. Slip a pair of low-cut, no-show socks under your boat shoes for a laid-back, European look that doesn't fall short on protection.

What To Look For In Boat Shoes

Sailing shoes are designed for everything from dinghy sailing to deep-sea fishing, so you'll want to shop for styles designed specifically for your intended end-use. Here are a few key product features that make for a great pair:

Non-slip rubber sole

The primary purpose of sailing shoes is to provide traction. Look for pairs with non-slip, non-marking soles that keep you safe in wet, slippery conditions. Some soles feature durability and anti-slip properties.

Performance fabric

While traditionally crafted with leather, most pairs today are made with quick-drying fabrics with added breathability and water resistance.

Mesh construction

Many boating shoes feature strategically-placed mesh panels to improve ventilation and drain away excess water. They'll help keep your feet dry and comfortable all day long.

Adjustable fit

Any good pair of water shoes is designed with laces or adjustable straps for a customizable fit. If you're shopping for kids, stick with simple velcro straps.

Removable insole

Opt for a pair with fully removable insoles for easy cleaning and faster dry times. Slip them out in between uses so they can fully dry.

Antimicrobial treatments

The best boat shoes are treated with innovative antimicrobial treatments that minimize foot odors, prevent mildew growth, and keep fungal infections at bay.

Avoid flip-flops and open-toe shoes as they are an injury risk, thanks to the number of deck fittings on most yachts.

The 12 Best Sailing Shoes for Every Sailing Adventure

Helly Hansen Skagen F-1 for Every Sailing Adventure

Best Sailing Shoes Overall

overall 

4.9/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Helly Hansen Skagen F-1 Offshore Men's Sailing Shoes

Features:

  • HH® Quick Dry
  • HH® Max-Vent
  • HH® Pro Guard
  • UV-Activated Antibacterial Technology

These best-selling Skagen F-1 Offshore Men's Sailing Shoes from Helly Hansen are undoubtedly some of the sailing shoes on the market today. Unlike some of the other sailing shoes, their non-marking rubber soles come equipped with a multi-zone traction pattern for an excellent grip on any surface. A seamless, breathable upper protects your feet while traversing rocks or a messy deck full of sailing gear. The padded EVA insole is finished with a quick-drying, antibacterial treatment that keeps blisters and athlete's foot at bay. Whether it's dinghy sailing or offshore fishing, these comfortable sneakers are up for the task.

Material

N/A

Weight

725g

Best for

Coastal sailing, Dinghy, inshore Sailing, Ocean Offshore Sailing

Pros:

  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • Great grip
  • Dry very fast
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Narrow design

Helly Hansen AHIGA V4 Hydropower Aqua-Trainers

Best Quick Dry

overall 

4.9/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Helly Hansen AHIGA V4 Hydropower Aqua-Trainers

Features:

  • HH® Quick Dry
  • HH® Max-Vent
  • HH® Pro Guard
  • Antimicrobial

These Ahiga v4 Hydropower Aqua-Trainers from Helly Hansen make an excellent addition to any woman's sailing gear. The lightweight, water-friendly sneakers come equipped with a high-grade EVA midsole and siped HellyGrip rubber outsole for superior comfort, stability, and arch support. Perhaps that's why they're one of the brand's best-selling styles! Complete with a quick-drying, antimicrobial performance fabric upper and EVA insole, they'll keep your feet dry and protected through any sailing conditions. Sport them for a canoeing trip, a day on the yacht, or even just a trip to the beach!

Material

N/A

Weight

500g (W) / 600g (M)

Best for

Coastal sailing, Dinghy, inshore Sailing, Ocean Offshore Sailing

Pros:

  • Excellent grip
  • Quick dry
  • Light weight
  • Quis nostrud exercitation

Cons:

  • Sizing doesn't work for everyone

Sperry Sea Kite Moc Boat Shoes

Most Versatile

overall 

4.5/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoes

Features:

  • Quick Drying
  • Water Resistant Leather
  • Adaptive Wave-Siping™ Disperses Water
  • Removable Full-Length Compression Molded EVA Footbed

Looking for a pair of sailing shoes you can wear both on and off the boat? You can't go wrong with a classic pair of Sperrys. These Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoes infuse modern footwear technology with the iconic silhouette of their traditional deck shoes. An Adaptive Wave-Siping design disperses water underfoot to provide traction on wet, slippery surfaces. The molded EVA footbed can be fully removed for easy cleaning and a faster dry time.

Material

N/A

Weight

N/A

Best for

N/A

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • More versatile and range of use
  • Good support and cushion
  • Outstanding weather and slip resistance

Cons:

  • Sizing may be inconsistent
  • Only available for men

All in Motion's Men's Jay Apparel Water Shoes

Best on a Budget

overall 

4.7/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

All in Motion Men's Jay Apparel Water Shoes

Features:

  • Waterproof material
  • Closed-toe design
  • Non-marking outsole
  • Hook-and-loop closure

Shopping on a tight budget? Opt for an affordable pair that's versatile enough for any water adventure. These Jay Apparel Water Shoes from All in Motion combine the traction and support of sailing shoes with the comfort and breathability of water shoes. The waterproof design features a closed toe, non-marking outsole, and adjustable ankle straps with hook-and-loop closures. They'll keep you comfortable and protected no matter what the water throws your way.

Material

100% EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)

Weight

N/A

Best for

beach, pool, outdoor activities

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable no matter how wet they get

Cons:

  • Not available in Women design

Gill Offshore Sailing Boots

Best for Cold-Weather Sailing

overall 

4.9/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Gill Offshore Sailing Boots

Features:

  • Warmth and impact protection
  • A double-layer of protection
  • Thermal neoprene
  • Unisex

Rigged with a triple-layer design, Gill's Offshore Sailing Boots can be used year-round for more intense sailing adventures. External gaiters with secure elastic cords keep water out and warmth in. A thermo-molded, razor-cut outsole provides superior traction on wet and icy surfaces. Thanks to a reinforced heel, instep, and toe, you'll stay dry and comfortable during long periods on your feet. They're a must-have for offshore fishing.

Material

Outer-100% Nylon. Inner-90% Neoprene 10% Nylon.

Weight

N/A

Best for

Boating

Pros:

  • Unisex
  • Excellent value and very high quality
  • Very comfortable
  • Very warm and tons of grip

Cons:

  • No half size

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoes

Best for Fishing

overall 

4.5/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoes

Features:

  • Wet grip performance
  • Comfortable mesh upper
  • Water and stain resistant
  • Vented midsole

If you're shopping for weekend fishing trips, try these Tamiami PFG Boat Shoes. They're specifically designed for everyday wear on and off the boat. Equipped with Omni-Shield, the treated mesh and synthetic fabric upper repels water and avoids stains to keep your feet clean and dry. Razor sipping throughout the non-marking, non-slip soles guarantees a superior grip on any wet or dry surface. A lace-up front closure, heel tab, and sporty silhouette deliver style in addition to durability. With five colors to choose from, they're an easy addition to your active wardrobe.

Material

Mesh / Synthetic Overlays

Weight

N/A

Best for

Boating

Pros:

  • Design available for women and men
  • So comfortable and very lightweight
  • Very good quality 
  • Perfect for everyday life

Cons:

  • Can be a little hard to put on

Cat & Jack Oscar Toddler Water Shoes

Best for Kids

overall 

4/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Cat & Jack Oscar Toddler Water Shoes

Features:

  • Closed-toe design
  • Slip-on
  • Hook-and-loop closure
  • Pull-on tab

These Oscar Toddler Water Shoes from Cat & Jack will keep your little ones safe, whether they're fishing off the side of the boat or cannon-balling off the side of the dock. The closed-toe design prevents sand, rocks, and small debris from getting inside, while a treaded rubber sole provides a great grip on slippery surfaces. An adjustable heel strap with a pull-tab and hook-and-loop closure offers a secure, comfortable fit. At just $15, they're an easy, affordable option to toss into your beach bag or carry-on suitcase.

Material

100% Polyester

Weight

N/A

Best for

N/A

Pros:

  • Non Slip
  • Easy to put on
  • Offer a secure fit

Cons:

  • Boys only

The North Face Skagit Water Shoes

Best Lightweight

overall 

4.8/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

The North Face Skagit Water Shoes

Features:

  • Quick-drying
  • Lightweight
  • Antimicrobial mesh upper
  • Mono-mesh screens
  • Toggle closure

No matter the sailing adventure, these Skagit Water Shoes from The North Face are up for the task. Mono-mesh screens prevent debris from entering the shoe while allowing water to escape through the EVA midsole drainage system. The quick-drying, lightweight mesh upper is finished with innovative anti-odor and anti-microbial protection. Toggle closures eliminate annoying (and potentially dangerous) untied laces. A proprietary EXTS outside traction system offers superior traction on wet decks, slippery rocks, and dry land too. Needless to say, they're a wise addition to any adventurer's footwear repertoire.

Material

N/A

Weight

9.4 oz (265 g)

Best for

N/A

Pros:

  • Dry really quickly
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • No half sizes

Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoes

Best Deck Shoe

overall 

4.5/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoes

Features:

  • 360° Lacing System
  • Wave-Siping for enhanced traction
  • Hand-sewn construction
  • Full-grain leather uppers

Hit the boat deck (and the dockside restaurant) in style with Sperry's Authentic Original Boat Shoes. The time-tested silhouette offers the perfect balance of function and style. They're still hand-sewn using traditional craftsmanship techniques and premium full-grain leather. A 360-degree lacing system and Ortholite insole keep you comfortable during long days on your feet. Finished with the brand's signature Sperry Razor-Cut Wave-Siping, the preppy boat shoes provide an excellent grip on both wet and dry surfaces. Offered in a range of color combinations, there's something stylish for everyone's boating wardrobe.

Material

Full-grain leather uppers

Weight

N/A

Best for

N/A

Pros:

  • Available in different width
  • Very comfortable
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Not waterproof or water resistant

Columbia Men's Bahama Boat Shoes

Best for Vacation

overall 

4.6/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Columbia Men's Bahama Boat Shoes

Features:

  • Water and stain resistant
  • Vent midsole ports
  • Non-marking wet grip
  • Combination of canvas and leather upper

These Columbia Men's Bahama Boat Shoes make an excellent choice for an upcoming beach vacation and shoes for sailing. They're functional enough for the sailboat and stylish enough for a dockside meal. An Omni-Shield textile upper and rubber sole offer lightweight, breathable protection and support. Available in an assortment of color options, they're an easy addition to any man's summer wardrobe.

Material

Canvas / Leather upper

Weight

7.8 oz. / 222g (Size 9, 1/2 pair)

Best for

Fishing

Pros:

  • Very comfortable
  • Easy on and off
  • Nice quality shoe
  • Quis nostrud exercitation

Cons:

  • Can feel stiff at first
  • Only available for men

Gill Aero Sailing Boots

Best Sailing Boots

overall 

4.2/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Gill Aero Sailing Boots

Features:

  • Maximum grip
  • Secure fit
  • Neoprene and waterproof seamsNon marking rubber sole

If you're a dedicated sailor, it's worth adding a pair of sailing boots to your footwear repertoire. These Aero Sailing Boots from Gill offer maximum comfort, security, and traction. Crafted from 5mm neoprene with waterproof seams and zippers, your feet stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. The wrap-around, non-marking rubber sole features a reinforced heel, toe, and bridge support for added flexibility and a full range of motion. While they're suitable for any boating occasion, they're versatile enough for dinghy sailing, paddleboarding, and kayaking too.

Material

‎90% Neoprene, 10% Nylon

Weight

870 Grams

Best for

dinghy sailing, paddleboarding, and kayaking

Pros:

  • Keep you warm
  • Comfortable
  • Great construction and fit

Cons:

  • Sizing may run small
  • Calf area can run small
  • Difficult to get off and on

Helly Hansen Women's Ahiga Slip-On Sailing Shoes

Most Comfortable

overall 

5/5

Breathable

Comfort

Quick Dry

Cost

Helly Hansen Women's Ahiga Slip-On Sailing Shoes

Features:

  • HH® Max-Vent
  • HH® Quick Dry
  • HH® Pro Guard
  • Antimicrobial

Helly Hansen's Ahiga Slip-On Sailing Shoes offer all-day comfort and excellent reactions. It's got the same ergonomic midsole, treaded outsole, and water-resistant textile upper as the brand's best-selling Ahiga V4 shoes with a simple slip-on design. An antimicrobial treatment minimizes odors and helps keep athlete's feet away. They're a worthy splurge for any sailor with limited mobility.

Material

N/A

Weight

525g

Best for

Inshore sailing and marine lifestyle

Pros:

  • Super-light, breathable and comfortable
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Quick and easy to put on
  • Good nonslip sole
  • Dry fast

Cons:

  • Only available in one color
About the Author Ben Snatler