Best shoes to wear on a sailboat

November 3, 2015

The right shoes help sailors keep their footing on a boat while steering, and help sailors prevent it from capsizing in rough currents or strong winds. When deciding which boating shoe will join you on your next trip to sea, consider the following features.

Best shoes to wear on a sailboat


Good boating shoes need excellent traction—meaning they need a lot of different types of tread to be able to hold you in place on wet surfaces—like the deck of a ship that's being rocked every which way by waves. You won't be a very effective sailor if you're slipping and sliding all over the place while trying to sail. Various hybrid tennis shoes have the best traction.


Since you're surrounded by water and may fall into the water—or have water wash up over your shoe—it will need good draining capabilities so you aren't trying to sail in a waterlogged, wet shoe the whole time. This means a shoe with plenty of mesh or holes in it around the body of the shoe, which will allow water to escape.

Drying Ability

Does the boating shoe dry quickly? Since wetness is inevitable and will occur regularly, will the shoe be able to dry as quickly as possible in the sun or the open air, or will it be damp for many hours in the future? This is more important than you might think and effects both the comfort and longevity of the shoe itself. You'll want a shoe made from material that does not absorb water deeply, like a thin cloth, plastic or mesh that allows a lot of air to flow through it.


There are a wide variety of shoes that have great traction, the ability to drain and then dry quickly, but will they hold up under the constant abuse of a lake or the salt water from the ocean? Leather shoes are particularly vulnerable and will fall apart quickly after getting wet and then drying repeatedly. So keep this in mind when purchasing a boating shoe.

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