The 7 Best Women’s Sailing Shoes of 2021

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Sperry Top-Sider Women’s Angelfish Loafer at Amazon

"The shoe is guaranteed to win you fashion points, as well as keeping you safe on board."

Best Comfort: Helly Hansen Women’s Sneaker at Amazon

"Protects your feet from heavy deck fittings and rocky shores."

Best Style: Sebago Women’s Bala Slip-On Loafer at Amazon

"Gets extra style points for being Kate Middleton’s sailing shoe of choice."

Best Budget: Sperry Women's Crest Boat Shoe at Sperry

"One of the most affordable options that still receives consistently good reviews for quality and style."

Best Quick-Dry: Adidas Women’s Boat Shoe at Amazon

"Ideal choice for dinghy sailing, kayaking, canoeing and even walking through the shallows to your yacht tender."

Best Waterproof: Gill Short Cruising Boots at Amazon

"Your feet will stay warm and dry throughout the day, greatly enhancing your enjoyment of being out on the water."

Best Practical: Rockport Women’s Sailing Club Work Shoe at Amazon

"Looks cute while fulfilling a genuine safety function."

Over the years, sailing shoes have progressed from a practical choice for yachting enthusiasts to a fashion category in their own right. The best sailing shoes offer style and safety in equal measure. They should protect you from slipping on wet decks or stubbing your toes on protruding cleats, and still look good back in the clubhouse. Things to look out for include non-marking, non-slip soles and comfortable material that can get wet without being damaged.

Read on for our picks of the best women's sailing shoes available.

Best Overall: Sperry Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe

Sperry Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe
What We Like
  • Stylish

  • Durable

  • Comfortable

What We Don't Like
  • Minimal arch support

The Sperry Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe receives excellent reviews for its ability to combine comfort, practicality and style. As the boat shoe that started it all, it's still hand-sewn with full-grain leather uppers, moccasin construction, and rawhide laces. Available in four colors (black, brown, navy and tan), this shoe is guaranteed to win you fashion points, as well as keeping you safe on board. The rubber sole features a solid grip that gives you traction on wet decks and slippery piers ​but is low-profile enough not to track mud onto your decks. Best of all, these moderately priced shoes feature a padded footbed to provide enduring comfort for long days spent out on the water.

Best Comfort: Helly Hansen Women’s Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sneaker

What We Like
  • Traction

  • Quick-drying

  • Practical

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

For unparalleled comfort, opt for the Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sneaker. Featuring a sporty design, these low-cut, lightweight sneakers have a synthetic open-mesh upper. This material is both flexible and breathable (a real plus in hot weather). The shoes dry quickly, thereby reducing the likelihood of chafing after getting wet. The removable molded EVA midsole provides extra support, while structural overlays on the outside of the shoes protect your feet from heavy deck fittings and rocky shores.

The shoes also feature several elements designed for practicality and comfort. Antibacterial technology keeps your footwear smelling fresh even after repeated soakings; while reviewers particularly like the multi-directional grip system on the soles. The latter offers superior traction on deck, so you never have to worry about slipping or falling even in rough seas.

Best Style: Sperry Women's Authentic Original Skimmer Boat Shoe

Sperry Women's Authentic Original Skimmer Boat Shoe
What We Like
  • Casual

  • Feminine

  • Quality material

What We Don't Like
  • Run large

Fashionistas will love the Sperry Women's Authentic Original Skimmer Boat Shoe. The hand-sewn moccasins are classy and feminine, with delicate stitching and 2-eye detailing. They stand out from other docksiders for their slender shape and feminine colors, so whether you wear yours on the deck or to the marina bar after hours, you’re sure to turn heads. Practical elements include a traction-ready rubber sole featuring the signature Sperry Razor-Cut Wave-Siping, EVA-foam midsoles for shock absorption and Ortholite insoles for all-day comfort.

Best Budget: Adidas Outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool Boat Shoe

adidas Outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool Boat Shoe
What We Like
  • Breathable

  • Traction

  • Comfortable

What We Don't Like
  • Run large

The Adidas Outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool Boat Shoe is one of the most affordable options on that still receives consistently good reviews for quality and style. Made with open mesh uppers, these boat shoes are the epitome of breathability. Many of the reviewers said the shoes are quick-drying and comfortable, so you can wear them all day long. And the heel features a stretchable insert to allow for a perfect fit, while the synthetic sole boats Traxion™ grip for stability on a range of different surfaces.

Best for Walking Around: Sperry Women's Crest Vibe Sneaker

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Comfortable

  • Slip-on

What We Don't Like
  • Run narrow

Comfy and cute, the Sperry Women's Crest Vibe Sneaker is lovely if you plan on strolling around after your day on the water. The heel features a stretchable insert to allow for a perfect fit and the footbed is padded for extra comfort, while the soles add stability on a range of different surfaces. All of this practicality comes in a pretty package, defined by the shoes’ sleekly feminine silhouette and their on-trend color schemes, including navy, oat, white, gray, and black.

Best Casual: Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sandals

Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sandals
What We Like
  • Fun colors

  • Breathable

  • Adjustable

What We Don't Like
  • No half sizes

  • Wide cut

The Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sandals are designed for those who want a shoe that is versatile. Sure, you can wear them on the boat, but you can also comfortably wear them hiking, walking, and beyond. Crafted with recycled polyester webbing uppers, these Teva's are durable and quick to dry if they get wet. Other practical features include the EVA foam midsoles (yay, cushioning!), injection-molded strap ends for adjustability, and Rugged Durabrasion Rubber outsoles that can take a beating.

Best Practical: Allbirds Women's Tree Skippers

Allbirds Women's Tree Skippers
What We Like
  • Machine-washable

  • Renewable materials

  • Odor-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • No half sizes

  • Minimal arch support

One of the few machine-washable boat shoes on the market, the Allbirds Women's Tree Skippers uniquely combines practicality and style. Made with eucalyptus tree fiber (hooray for eco-friendliness!), this shoe comes in four colors: white, black, gray, and mustard. The knit is ultra-breathable and the insole is moisture wicking and resistant to odors. Weary feet will welcome the soft feel of the proprietary foam that helps make for one of the lightest soles possible (and actually mimics the natural flexibility of your feet). Essentially, reviewers love that these shoes look cute while fulfilling a genuine function.

Final Verdict

Sperry products made this list a couple times and for good reason: They're the original boat shoes and have perfected the art of marrying style with function. We love the high-quality construction of the Sperry Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe, and that the rubber sole will help keep you upright, even when the seas are rough. They also add a touch of class to every outfit, so no need to change footwear to go to dinner.

What to Look For in Women's Sailing Shoes

Style

Boat shoes come in a variety of styles, including various colors (though brown, black, tan, and navy are the most popular) and lace types. It's really about personal preference. Remember: You don't necessary have to restrict the shoes to just a boat. They'd be equally fit for a casual work environment, on a date, or while traveling, so choose something that you could wear with the range of outfits.

Fit

If you're going with a leather shoe it might be a good idea to consider a half size down as the material will stretch over time. That being said, breaking in your shoes will only affect the width, not the length. If you're going to wear a sock, even occasionally, make sure there's enough room to accommodate.

FAQs

Are you supposed to wear socks with boat shoes?

No, actually. Boat shoes are intended to be worn without socks. That means they are often some of the most comfortable shoes around. However, if you'd prefer to wear socks, opt for the ankle variety.

Couldn't any type of shoe be a boat shoe?

Theoretically you could wear any type of shoe on a boat. However, what makes a piece of footwear a boat shoe is good grip on slippery services. It's also preferable to have a white or another light-colored sole so that it doesn't leave marks on the boat.

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