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The 9 Best Boat Shoes for Men To Wear All Year Long

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In many ways, boat shoes are arguably the most ideal footwear: They’re traditionally worn without socks, easy to slip on and off, and versatile enough to dress up or down. In short, consider them a casual staple for on or off a boat this 2021. And even though boat shoes haven’t been confined to decks for quite some time, the qualities that initially made them suitable for life on the water still make them desirable today. Just take their most innovative feature: rubber soles with thinly cut slits (known as siping) to prevent slipping. Let’s face it, we all know that you don’t need to be on a boat to take a tumble on a wet surface.

But attributes aside, boat shoes are an instantly recognizable menswear icon, and a style of shoe that’ll ensure you never run short of casual outfit options. Whether you’re after a traditional pair, or want to opt for a more modern interpretation, we’ve got the best boat shoes ready for your perusal.

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Sperry Men’s Authentic Original Float Boat Shoes

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Boat shoes as we know them today were invented in 1935 by American Paul A. Sperry after observing his dog’s mad skills on ice. And that’s how siping came about. Fast forward a couple of decades and Sperry’s namesake company is still innovating, as can be seen in this ultra-slick take on his OG creation.

Sebago Dockside Portland Boat Shoes

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You can thank the success of the sportswear company’s Dockside boat shoe, first released in 1970, for the strong association this style of shoe has with American prep. It was even directly referenced in The Official Preppy Handbook, a cheeky take on the so-called subculture of “prepdom.” These are as classic as they come.

Rancourt & Co. The Coggins Boat Shoes

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In this three-way collaboration, the heritage shoemaker Rancourt & Co. teamed up with renowned man of style, author and outdoor enthusiast David Coggins to design a limited-edition boat shoe to be sold on e-commerce platform Huckberry. Each pair is handcrafted from premium Horween Carolina Brown Chromexcel leather, inspired by Coggins’ travels to Beaufort, South Carolina.

Nautica J-Class Boat Shoes

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The modern, nautical-inspired athleisure brand aims to bring a sea-worthy style into everyday wear. Nautica’s vision is evident in this canvas boat shoe that has a much more casual vibe compared to the traditional deck shoe, yet still features all the utilitarian details that make the original so great: a lightweight feel, grippy rubber crepe sole, and easy slip-on style.

Clarks Un Pilot Lace Boat Shoes

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The British shoe company has been around since 1825 and has managed to remain a much-loved part of popular culture. Breaking Bad’s Walter White, as well as the hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan, are some of the brand’s biggest fans. So when it comes to its interpretation of the boat shoe, which includes a moisture-wicking footbed to keep feet fresh, you can understand why Clarks is respected for the shoe experts that they are.

Toms Claremont Slip On Boat Shoes

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Since American social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie founded Toms in 2006 after a trip to Argentina, the shoemaker has perhaps become the most universally linked to the idea of what constitutes a casual slip-on. So, for the Claremont, the company created a hybrid of its staple alpargata and the timeless boat shoe.

Manolo Blahnik Sidmouth Suede Boat Shoes

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For the more fashion inclined, opt for a boat shoe by one of the most legendary high-end footwear designers on the planet. Crafted in Italy from suede and lined with leather, these light-blue beauties feature full lace-ups and boast the boat’s more conventional rubber soles.

Adidas Terrex Boat S.Rdy Water Shoes

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Even the sportswear giants can’t stay away. The German brand brings its innovative spirit to the classic footwear staple via its cooling technology — its mesh upper provides 360-degree ventilation. Add to that a perforated drainage system in the midsole and outsole. Yes, an impressive new breed of boat shoe is born.

Allbirds Men’s Tree Skippers

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Allbirds has reinvented these deck shoes to look more like your goes-with-anything white sneakers — but with even more of a breezy feel. Constructed from ethically sourced eucalyptus tree fiber, the shoes are as flexible as they are lightweight. Plus, with a moisture wicking and odor-controlled insole, your feet will never feel freer and fresher.

Read more: Men’s Wardrobe Essentials

Bernd Fischer
Bernd Fischer is a freelance writer based in London covering style and grooming for The Manual. Before relocating to the…
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