SUMMARY TABLE

Name

Image

Price

Rating

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SPERRY
Top-Sider 
OUR TOP PICK

Sperry Top-Sider Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe, Brown Distressed, 9.5 M US

4.8  /5

CLARKS
Jocolin Vista
BEST VALUE

Clarks Women's Jocolin Vista Boat Shoe, Navy Perforated Textile, 8 B(M) US

4.6  /5

COLUMBIA
Dorado PFG

Columbia PFG Women's Dorado PFG Boat Shoe, Silver Grey, Coastal Blue, 10

4.4  /5

OUR TOP PICK

Sperry Top-Sider Women's Authentic Original Boat Shoe, Brown Distressed, 9.5 M US

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Design

4.6

Quality

4.8

Comfort

4.7

Water Resistance

4.8

Non-slip

4.7

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General Impression

These classic women’s boating shoes from Sperry are constructed from 100% full-grain leather for a timeless look and are among the best women’s sailing shoes on the market. Premium materials are used in their construction and despite the preppy style – the wet/dry traction makes them ideal on slippery decks. The two-eye design features rust-proof eyelets complemented with functional, rawhide laces that can be relaxed or tightened, depending on your preference. The EVA heel cup absorbs shock so you can comfortably wear them all day while the rubber outsole is non-marking. All in all – an amazing shoe with a practical design perfect for sailing and many other activities.

Specifications

Brand: Sperry
Primary Material: Full grain leather
Comfort Traction: EVA heel cup is shock-absorbent
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but resistant to damp and with rust-proof eyelets
Breathable: Yes
Best Suited To: Casual cruising and yachting

PROS

  • Sophisticated look
  • EVA foam footbed for cushioning
  • Strong grip and non-marking sole
  • Leather inner sock

CONS

  • Need to care for the leather to prevent salt damage
  • Expensive compared to other women’s deck shoes
BEST VALUE

Clarks Women's Jocolin Vista Boat Shoe, Navy Perforated Textile, 8 B(M) US

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Design

4.5

Quality

4.4

Comfort

4.8

Water Resistance

4.6

Non-slip

4.4

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General Impression

Designed with a breathable, perforated textile upper, the Jocolin Vista women’s boat shoe combines a lightweight EVA sole with tan details. It exudes a classic moccasin style but with Clarks’ signature Cushion-Soft technology to ensure excellent cushioning and the ultimate in comfortable footwear. The heel height is a generous 1.18 inches for those who like a lot of ankle support while the footbed is removable and machine-washable. Adding to the Jocolin Vista’s appeal is the variety of colors it’s available in, ranging from peach to turquoise and classic black. All in all, one of the best boat shoes for women for those on a budget.

Specifications

Brand: Clarks
Primary Material: Textile
Comfort Traction: Ortholite footbed
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes, with a perforated upper and moisture-wicking lining
Best Suited To: Casual cruising and yachting

PROS

  • Easy care
  • Lightweight EVA sole
  • 100% textile design
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Perforated textile upper for ventilation
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Not stain-resistant
  • Slightly tight fit

ALEADER Women's Stylish Quick Drying Water Shoes Gray 8.5 D(M) US

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Design

4.3

Quality

4.4

Comfort

4.6

Water Resistance

4.6

Non-slip

4.5

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General Impression

Highly breathable, these ultra-comfortable Aleader shoes are constructed with a textile upper and an EVA/rubber sole, making them 100% vegan. They feature a lightweight Solyte midsole that’s both durable and bounces back while the outsole allows water to drain out and offers outstanding traction in all weather conditions. Also of note is the ComforDry sock liner that adds extra cushioning and the open mesh on the upper that helps to keep your feet cool and dry. These women’s boating sandals are available in a huge variety of colors, ranging from deep purple to light pink and pure white, making them the ultimate amphibious shoe for everyday wear.

Specifications

Brand: Aleader
Primary Material: Textile
Comfort Traction: Solyte midsole and easy-draining outer
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes, the mesh allows for air and excess water to drain out
Best Suited To: Competitive sailing and cruising 

PROS

  • 100% Vegan construction
  • Lightweight Solyte midsole
  • ComforDry sockliner for extra cushioning
  • Open mesh on the upper for breathability

CONS

  • Sizes tend to run large
  • Small seashell fragments can penetrate the mesh

Sperry Angelfish Linen Linen/Oat 7.5

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Design

4.4

Quality

4.6

Comfort

4.7

Water Resistance

4.3

Non-slip

4.3

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General Impression

Offering a feminine take on a classic, preppy style, these Angelfish Varsity women’s yachting shoes from Sperry are lighter and sleeker than their traditional counterparts. The hand-sewn leather upper features rust-proof eyelets while the 360° Lacing System ensures a customized fit. They’ve been designed with a memory foam cushioned footbed for greater comfort while the non-marking rubber outsole features siping to aid with traction. They’re available in a variety of pastel-inspired, two-tone colors so you can find the best women’s sailing shoes for you.

Specifications

Brand: Sperry
Primary Material: Full grain leather
Comfort Traction: Siped outsole to aid in traction
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes
Best Suited To: Casual sailing and cruising

PROS

  • A feminine take on classic sailboat shoes
  • Memory foam footbed for cushioning
  • Strong grip and non-marking sole
  • 360° Lacing System for a customized fit
  • Combine comfort and style

CONS

  • Need to care for the leather to prevent salt damage
  • Inner stitching around the pinky toe can be uncomfortable

Columbia PFG Women's Dorado PFG Boat Shoe, Silver Grey, Coastal Blue, 10

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Design

4.3

Quality

4.6

Comfort

4.5

Water Resistance

4.5

Non-slip

4.4

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General Impression

Treated to make them both water and stain-resistant, these women’s boat sneakers from Columbia are perfect for a day out on the water. They feature a cushioned insole for added comfort while the combination of synthetic upper and open mesh means that they’ll eliminate water quickly to keep your feet dry. The omni-grip is non-marking (so no unwanted tracks on your deck) while the EVA sole effectively absorbs shock with each and every stride.

Specifications

Brand: Columbia
Primary Material: Textile and rubber
Comfort Traction: Non-marking omni-grip sole
Water Resistance: Yes
Breathable: Yes, the mesh allows for air and excess water to drain out
Best Suited To: Casual cruising and sailing

PROS

  • Water and stain-resistant
  • EVA sole absorbs shock
  • Affordable ladies boat shoes
  • Open mesh upper for eliminating water

CONS

  • Color reportedly bleeds onto feet
  • Laces need to be double-tied to stay tight

Columbia Women's Delray II Slip PFG Shoe, Water & Stain Resistant Boat, Kettle/Dark Mirage, 8 Regular US

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Design

4.5

Quality

4.7

Comfort

4.8

Water Resistance

4.6

Non-slip

4.4

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General Impression

Constructed from water and stain-resistant material, these well-designed boating shoes for women from Columbia are lightweight and durable. The advanced traction rubber sole ensures they’re slip-free (even on wet ground) while there’s plenty of ventilation thanks to the mesh around the ankle so your feet stay cool and dry. Columbia’s made a name for its ultra-comfortable footwear, with outstanding cushioning for all-day comfort and a slip-on design that makes them ideal for boaters who don’t want the hassle of laces. The Delray is available in a variety of colors, including a women’s white deck shoe – perfect for any casual social event.

Specifications

Brand: Columbia
Primary Material: Textile upper and rubber sole
Comfort Traction: Advanced traction rubber sole
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes, the mesh allows for air and excess water to drain out
Best Suited To: Casual cruising and yachting

PROS

  • Slip-proof, non-marking rubber outsoles
  • Stain and water-resistant
  • Lightweight design
  • Ventilation ducts to keep feet dry
  • Plenty of cushioning

CONS

  • Slip-on design so can’t tighten shoes
  • Sizes tend to run large

XTRATUF Women's Canvas Sharkbyte Deck Shoe Light Gray (XSW-100)

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Design

4.8

Quality

4.6

Comfort

4.6

Water Resistance

4.3

Non-slip

4.7

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General Impression

These cute women’s boat shoes can be worn either on or off the boat. They feature a water-resistant canvas upper and a soft, slip-resistant Chevron outsole that offers solid traction on slippery decks. Designed without laces, there’s a rear pull tab so you can easily slip them off, not to mention a reinforced leather panel at the back for a sophisticated touch. The pigskin lining of these slip-on boat shoes for women provides a barrier against bacteria and they can easily be thrown in the washing machine if they get dirty. Canvas deck shoes for women are currently at the height of fashion, making these among the best sailing shoes for women looking predominantly for style.

Specifications

Brand: XTRATUF 
Primary Material: Canvas and leather
Comfort Traction: Slip-resistant Chevron outsole
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but resistant to damp
Breathable: No
Best Suited To: Casual sailing and cruising

PROS

  • Slip-resistant Chevron outsole
  • Constructed from canvas and premium full-grain leather
  • Casual look
  • Easy to remove thanks to a rear pull tab

CONS

  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Sizes tend to run large

adidas outdoor Women's Terrex Climacool Boat Sleek Water Shoe, Black/Chalk White/Matte Silver, 8.5 M US

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Design

4.7

Quality

4.5

Comfort

4.6

Water Resistance

4.5

Non-slip

4.4

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General Impression

Designed specifically to be worn in wet conditions, these Adidas boat shoes for women are constructed from a perforated neoprene mesh. Coupled with the moisture-wicking interior, this helps them to dry fast and keep your feet cool and dry throughout the day. There are strategically placed holes at the bottom so that water drains out easily while also offering added grip. The EVA midsole is soft and firm while the style is distinctively Adidas. Keep in mind that these shoes generally run large, so consider purchasing a size down.

Specifications

Brand: Adidas
Primary Material: Textile and synthetic
Comfort Traction: Traxion outer for stability and grip
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes, with Climacool open mesh for breathability
Best Suited To: Competitive sailing, high-intensity water sports

PROS

  • Lightweight design
  • Eliminate moisture and dry fast
  • Keep feet cool and dry
  • Rugged traction
  • Cushioned midsole to absorb shock

CONS

  • Sizes tend to run large
  • Narrow design

Gill Competition Dinghy Boots Boot Grey - Easy Stretch Waterproof Sprayproof - A Design Classic is Reborn

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Design

4.8

Quality

4.7

Comfort

4.6

Water Resistance

4.8

Non-slip

4.7

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General Impression

Offering reliable waterproof protection, these well-designed boots are equipped to handle the wettest, slipperiest conditions. They’re constructed from 100% natural rubber, with close-fitting stretch laces that ensure plenty of support while still allowing you to be agile. The polyester lining is quick-drying, if water does seep in, while the reinforced instep, toe, and heel add plenty of support. Although these nautical shoes for women are designed in a boot style, the low-profile means you can still be relatively agile while on-the-go.

Specifications

Brand: Gill
Primary Material: 100% natural rubber compound
Comfort Traction: Reinforced instep, toe and heel
Water Resistance: Yes
Breathable: No
Best Suited To: Competitive sailing, high-intensity water sports

PROS

  • Quick-dry lining
  • Outstanding grip
  • Reinforced instep, toe, and heel
  • Low-profile design for agility

CONS

  • Not breathable
  • Expensive compared to other women’s boat shoes

Timberland Women's Amherst Boat Shoe,Boat Navy,5.5 W US

Overall Rating

4.3 /5

Design

4.6

Quality

4.4

Comfort

4.3

Water Resistance

4.1

Non-slip

4.2

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General Impression

Hand-sewn and constructed from premium full-grain leather, these high-quality women’s boat shoes from Timberland are classics. They feature a 360-degree functional rawhide lacing system to ensure a customized fit plus an EVA midsole that offers lightweight cushioning and shock absorption. The rubber outsole is non-marking and is designed with siping to improve traction in wet conditions. You can find them in a range of colors – from classic brown leather to light blue suede – but will need to treat them to be weatherproof.

Specifications

Brand: Timberland
Primary Material: Full grain leather
Comfort Traction: EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning and shock absorption
Water Resistance: Not waterproof but highly resistant to damp and corrosion
Breathable: Yes
Best Suited To: Casual cruising and yachting

PROS

  • Sophisticated look
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Non-marking sole
  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Hand-sewn construction

CONS

  • Need to care for the leather to prevent salt damage
  • Expensive compared to other women’s boat shoes

If you spend a lot of time out on the water, you’ll know how important it is to invest in the best women’s boat shoes possible. Whether you’re recreational fishing, sailing competitively or just out boating on the weekends, a pair of quick-dry boat shoes will help your feet to stay dry while ensuring you don’t slip on deck.

Gone are the days when sailing shoes for women are only about functionality, with plenty of women’s boat shoe brands now offering stylish boat shoes that transition seamlessly from vessel to land. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the features of boat shoes and how to determine the best pair for you.

best sailing shoes for women

What type of sailing/boating are you doing?

The first question to ask yourself is what kind of water activity you will be doing, as this will determine the apparel you need. Casual cruising and fishing are both relatively laid-back affairs, where a few rogue swells are all you need to contend with. On the other hand, dinghy sailing and competitive yachting welcome more extreme conditions, with water regularly flooding the deck and requiring soles with outstanding grip.

You also need to consider the agility and movement you require in each sport, with some women’s boat shoes bulkier and designed predominantly for grip. Others are lightweight and will allow you to respond quickly if you have to shift your body and weight rapidly.

Setting and weather

Cruising through tropical islands is completely different from sailing through tumultuous seas in a cold climate. You want to find the best boat shoes for women that will keep your feet warm and dry in cold conditions and will prevent them from sweating in hot and sunny destinations. If you’re planning on doing any cold water sailing, then consider purchasing boat shoes with enough room for a pair of warm, thick socks. Those boating in the tropics should look for the best women’s sailing shoes with breathable mesh.

Material

From full-grain leather to canvas and mesh, women’s sailing shoes come in all sorts of materials. Leather and canvas tend to be used for stylish boat shoes that straddle both water and land, allowing you to wear them on deck or while having sundowner drinks at the yacht club. But while leather is soft and comfortable, synthetic materials tend to dry much faster.

Some of the best sailing shoes for women are constructed from neoprene so that you can wade through water or swim if your vessel capsizes. Others are constructed from rubber or plastic to be waterproof, much like a gumboot or wellington. But keep in mind that rubber isn’t breathable, so while it might be suitable for cold-climate conditions, it will leave your feet uncomfortably sweaty in the tropics.

Sole type

When it comes to soles, the best boat shoes for women feature non-marking soles, so you won’t leave tracks on your (or your friends’) boat decks. You want the soles to have a solid grip so that you’ll stay afoot even in slippery conditions, although a tread that’s too deep can result in stones, shells, and rocks getting wedged in the tread, while on land (then ending up scratching the deck). The best women’s sailing shoes are designed with cushioned soles for added comfort, as well as support in the midsole, heel and toe areas.

Comfort

It goes without saying that you want to find a pair of boat shoes that are comfortable, even if you’re only wearing them on odd occasions. You can check out women’s boat shoe reviews to see what other users have to say about their comfort, particularly when it comes to those with wide feet. Did they experience any rubbing? Is there inner stitching somewhere that can cause discomfort? What are the best boat shoes for wide feet? If you do your research, you’re much less likely to end up with a shoe that’s uncomfortable or causes irritability.

Size

Most of the best sailing shoes for women on our top-rated list, run large, so consider purchasing a size down to ensure a suitable fit. Double-check what other purchasers have to say by reading their reviews regarding size or consider trying a pair on in-store before buying online.

Water resistance

While some boat shoes are water-resistant, others are not. In addition, some boat shoes are more water-resistant than others. The level of water-resistance you need will depend on how much water you will be exposed to during your boating or sailing activities. If you want to make a shoe more water-resistant, you can treat them with purpose-designed sprays or creams.

Style

For many people, style is more important than functionality. With so many boat shoe designs on the market, you don’t have to compromise when it comes to finding your favorite look. Perhaps you want a sporty look or a classic, nautical style. Maybe you want a brightly colored shoe or traditional tan leather. Brown and navy colors tend to be popular with boating shoes, however, you can find bright pinks, turquoise and pure white too.

1. Why are boat shoes called boat shoes?

Boat shoes were invented in 1935 by Paul A. Sperry after observing how his dog could easily run over ice without slipping over. He set to work siping the soles of his shoes and perfecting footwear that was ideal for boating. As the name suggests, boat shoes became popular with boaters and sailors but have emerged as a popular choice of casual footwear for people of all walks of life.

Boat shoes were traditionally constructed from canvas or leather and were designed with non-marking rubber soles that provided enough grip to handle walking along wet decks. Oil was applied to repel water while the absence of socks helped the feet to breathe. Today, boat shoes are made from a variety of different materials, including synthetic fibers that are quick-drying and mesh that helps to drain water effectively.

2. What should I wear with sailing shoes?

Sailing shoes can be worn with whatever you desire, depending on the social or recreational occasion. If you’re heading out into choppy waters, then you’ll probably want to be wearing clothes that will protect you from the elements (wind, rain, sun) while being comfortable enough to adapt to changing temperatures. But on the other hand, you can pair your boating shoes with a casual-look, for drinks at a bar or a stroll around town.

3. Do you wear socks with boat shoes?

Traditionally, boat shoes are worn without socks and bare ankles are all part of the look. If you’re wearing boat shoes for the purpose of boating, then eliminating socks will help your feet to breathe when they are exposed to water. But if you’re wearing boat shoes on land and want to keep them as fresh as possible, consider wearing invisible socks that sit hidden below the ankle. They’ll add to the comfort of the shoes, without losing the classic coastal look.

4. How do I take care of sailing shoes?

Considering the amount of time boat shoes spend exposed to the elements, it’s important that you give them a little TLC. If they’re not water-resistant, consider using a waterproof spray or cream to add to their durability. Non-alcohol polishes can also be used for leather shoes to protect them against the elements before wear.

If salt does accumulate, remove it as soon as possible and wipe off any dirt or dust. Some canvas and synthetic fiber shoes are designed to be machine washable but ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that they aren’t damaged in the process. Afterward, simply air dry them at room temperature before wearing them again.

5. What are the best shoes to wear on a boat?

The best shoes for boating depend on the water activities you will be doing and the amount of water you will be exposed to. Casual cruising or fishing aren’t likely to expose you to a lot of saltwater and waves ,whereas competitive yachties will be exposed to more extreme conditions. If the deck is regularly flooded, then you’ll need soles with a solid grip. However, if you’re going to be regularly wading through water, then it might be better to purchase a pair of boat shoes with mesh or made from a synthetic material with quick-dry capabilities. The best women’s sailing shoes combine water resistance with adequate cushioning and plenty of grip.

best sailing shoes for women

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

Pippa Strickland

Pip is a product expert, a degreed environmental scientist, and an adventure-style traveler originally from Australia. Pip has been an SSI-certified Divemaster for over 5 years, during which time she’s worked with hundreds of certified divers. She’s dived widely throughout Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines and the Middle East, with a particular passion for night diving. When she’s not diving, her key interests include surfing, trekking and gardening in her ever-growing veggie patch.

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