ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SAILING SHOESSAILING SHOES REVIEWSSPERRY AUTHENTIC ORIGINAL BOAT SHOEDUBARRY ULTIMA STRETCH BOOTSGILL TALL YACHTING BOOTSGILL TRAPEZE SAILING BOOTSGILL COMPETITION SAILING BOOTSRUGGED SHARK GREAT WHITE DECK BOOTSHELLY HANSEN MIDSUND 2 RAIN BOOTSSPERRY SOJOURN DUCK CHUKKA BOOTSBODY GLOVE SEEK WATERSHOERONSTAN SUPERFLEX BOOTSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SAILING SHOESHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SAILING SHOESTYPE OF SAILINGDINGHY SAILINGCRUISINGRACINGLOCATION AND WEATHERMATERIALSOLE TYPECOMFORT Thinking about sailing shoes may bring up visions of well-dressed people lounging on deck in — you guessed it — deck shoes. These are most likely in nautical colors paired with a Breton t-shirt and chinos to complete the look. That’s what the adverts say anyway. But finding the best sailing shoes for you involves a lot more than a Monaco-backdrop. Sailing shoes provide all sorts of protection and are a key part of your sailing equipment. Finding the right sailing shoes means taking into account lots of variables, including the kind of sailing you’re planning on doing. We don’t like cold feet or busted toes here at The Adventure Junkies, so read on to learn about the best sailing shoes for you. Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/mtilghmaPhoto by istockphoto.com/portfolio/pominoz QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SAILING SHOES Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoe GILL Tall Yachting Boots Gill Trapeze Sailing Boots GILL Competition Sailing Boots Rugged Shark Great White Deck Boots Helly Hansen Midsund 2 Rain Boots Sperry Sojourn Duck Chukka Boots Body Glove Seek Watershoe Dubarry Ultima Stretch Boots RONSTAN Superflex Boots SAILING SHOES REVIEWS SPERRY AUTHENTIC ORIGINAL BOAT SHOE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Casual cruising yacht sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: Sperry Authentic Original Two-Eye Boat Shoes MATERIAL: Full-grain leather BREATHABLE: Yes PROS: Smart look, EVA foam footbed for cushioning, leather inner sock, siped outsole gives reliable grip CONS: Need leather care to prevent salt damage DUBARRY ULTIMA STRETCH BOOTS Check out the latest price on: West Marine BEST FOR: Cruising and racing sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Cordura BREATHABLE: Yes PROS: Easy slip-on design, durable Cordura material, fast drying water resistant finish, stretching Lycra panel, GORE-TEX lining, classic look CONS: Expensive, need washing in freshwater for optimal longevity GILL TALL YACHTING BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Cruising and racing sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: Gill Tall Yachting Boots MATERIAL: Rubber BREATHABLE: No PROS: Waterproof, reinforced instep plus toe and heel, hardwearing, quick-dry lining removable insole, tie top CONS: Not very low-profile, not very warm in cold climates GILL TRAPEZE SAILING BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Keen dingy and small boat racing sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Neoprene BREATHABLE: No PROS: Reinforced top side, grippy soles, 5mm neoprene offers warmth, VELCRO fastening CONS: Can be very tight-fitting, pricey for beginners GILL COMPETITION SAILING BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Serious dinghy sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: Gill Competition Sailing Boots MATERIAL: Rubber BREATHABLE: No PROS: Quick-dry lining, excellent grip, reinforced instep plus toe and heel, low-profile for fast movement CONS: Pricey, not breathable for hot weather RUGGED SHARK GREAT WHITE DECK BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Boat fishing trips, tough weather conditions WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Rubber BREATHABLE: No PROS: Great for heavy weather, warm with socks, soft cuff, removable cushioning footbed, good grip CONS: Heavy and clumpy HELLY HANSEN MIDSUND 2 RAIN BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Cruising and racing sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: Hello Hansen Women’s Midsund 2 Rain Boots MATERIAL: Rubber BREATHABLE: No PROS: Excellent grip gum rubber soles, back pull tab, suitable for boat use and land use CONS: Wide tread may pick up stones and gravel, no tightening cord on cuff SPERRY SOJOURN DUCK CHUKKA BOOTS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Coastal cruising sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Leather/Rubber BREATHABLE: Yes PROS: Rubber toes plus leather upper create comfortable waterproofing, neoprene bootie adds extra support, removable compression molded footbed, anti-microbe treatment on footbed, rustproof eyelets CONS: Wide tread pattern could pick up gravel on land BODY GLOVE SEEK WATERSHOE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Beginner dinghy sailors WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Neoprene/Mesh BREATHABLE: Yes PROS: Easy to slip on, VELCRO and bungee closure, non-slip reinforced sole CONS: No cold protection, no ankle support RONSTAN SUPERFLEX BOOTS Check out the latest price on: West Marine BEST FOR: Warm water dinghy sailing WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A MATERIAL: Neoprene BREATHABLE: No PROS: Very flexible for full range of motion, ankle seal stops most water getting in, bridge strap for support, padded heel CONS: Little ankle support, may not take heavy use COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SAILING SHOES PICTURESAILING SHOESMATERIALBREATHABLEPRICERATING PICTURESAILING SHOESMATERIALBREATHABLEPRICERATING Sperry Authentic Original Boat ShoeFull-Grain LeatherYes$$5.0 GILL Tall Yachting BootsRubberNo$$5.0 Gill Trapeze Sailing BootsNeopreneNo$$5.0 GILL Competition Sailing BootsRubberNo$$4.8 Rugged Shark Great White Deck BootsRubberNo$$4.8 Helly Hansen Midsund 2 Rain BootsRubberNo$$4.5 Sperry Sojourn Duck Chukka BootsLeather/RubberNo$$4.4 Body Glove Seek WatershoeNeoprene/MeshYes$4.3 Dubarry Ultima Stretch BootsCorduraYes$$$4.7 RONSTAN Superflex BootsNeopreneNo$4.7 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SAILING SHOES TYPE OF SAILING Equipment and clothing that you require for sailing very much depend on what type of sailing you’ll be doing. Whether it’s dinghy racing or classic cruising, your footwear needs to be right. DINGHY SAILING Dinghy sailing is probably the wettest kind of sailing (unless you’re into extreme performance yachts!) and so your dinghy sailing shoes need to cope. Dinghy sailing also involves shifting your body and weight quickly so clumpy shoes just aren’t going to cut it. To keep your feet warm and easy to move in wet conditions, most dinghy sailors wear wetsuit booties. Made from neoprene, these types of boots come in different thicknesses depending on what temperatures you’ll be sailing in. Some dinghy sailing booties also have reinforced top sections so they don’t wear out when you’re feet are under the straps. CRUISING Cruising tends to be a much more laid back affair than dinghy sailing and shoe choice is much larger. From deck shoes to sailing wellies, your footwear choice will depend on your boat, the conditions and whether you need to go on deck or not. The main consideration for cruising sailors is a non-marking sole. Black rubber marks are a big no-no on any boat! Cruising shoes should be reasonable waterproof in case waves come over, but also grippy, comfortable and easy to clean. RACING While many cruising yachts can also race, the act of racing is a more extreme form of sailing. What does that mean? It means that you’ll probably have a lot more water washing along the decks and into the cockpit. Yachts may also be more heeled over when racing than other types of sailing so it’s easier to slip. If you want to do some racing or will be sailing a racing yacht, grippy soles are a must. Sailing shoes should also be waterproof and with a low-profile so you can move quickly should you need to. LOCATION AND WEATHER Will you be sailing on a lake? At sea? In big waves? In flat water? Will it be cold? Hot? Tropical? No one wants cold feet right? If you’re sailing in a cold water area, you should plan your shoes for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Why? Because when the wind crosses water, it will often cool to the temperature of the water. Even on a hot, sunny day, sailing can get chilly if the water is cool. In cold weather, numb toes can be a real problem. If you’re planning on cold water sailing then remember to leave room in sailing shoes for warm, thick socks. On the flip side, if you’ll be sailing in warm seas and hot sun, you’ll need breathable sailing shoes that won’t leave your feet sweaty. Shows made from leather, mesh or GORE-TEX are usually very breathable. MATERIAL Sailing shoes come in all sorts of materials, mainly suited to conditions and environment. Dinghy sailing shoes need to allow you to swim in them should you capsize, hence being made out of neoprene. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer they’ll keep your feet. Other sailing shoes can be made out of rubber or plastic. These materials are waterproof, making them good for cold water sailing. Rubber isn’t breathable though, so for warmer weather, leather or breathable synthetics are a good choice. SOLE TYPE Non-marking soles are crucial for any type of boat. A passenger or crew member with a marking sole is liable to be made to walk the plank. Luckily, it’s hard to find marking soles in the sailing shoe industry. All the sailing shoes featured in our reviews have non-marking soles. Grippy soles are important as decks and cockpits can get very slippery. However, deep tread isn’t necessarily good and can pick up stones and gravel ashore which then scratch the gelcoat and wood on a boat. Neoprene booties usually have reinforced soles for longevity and extra comfort when walking up dinghy ramps. Cheaper booties might lack this feature and could wear out much faster but are great for beginners. COMFORT Uncomfortable shoes are terrible so it seems like a no-brainer to buy comfortable sailing shoes. But there’s often more to it than ordinary shoes. For instance, will you always be wearing socks? Sometimes, you might need to get out on deck quickly when you have to reef a sail. You may not have time to put socks on, so can you still wear and walk in your shoes without them? Do you find shoes often rub? If so, finding shoes with a softer opening might be a good idea. Blisters can get infected in saltwater environments, especially if you’re sailing in the sub-tropics and tropics. Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.