When it comes to summer footwear, boat shoes are a quintessential choice for the stylish man. Known for their versatility and timeless appeal, they effortlessly blend comfort and elegance, making them suitable for a variety of settings, from casual outings to semi-formal gatherings. In this article, we will explore the history and styling of boat shoes, followed by a curated selection of the best options for men currently available.

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What are boat shoes

Boat shoes, also known as deck shoes, originated in the 1930s as practical footwear for sailors. They are designed with non-marking rubber soles to provide grip on wet boat decks, making them both functional and fashionable. Typically made from leather or canvas, boat shoes feature a moccasin-like construction with lacing that runs through the sides and around the back of the heel, ensuring a secure fit. Over the years, they have transcended their nautical roots to become a staple in men’s casual footwear, beloved for their classic style and comfort.

How to style boat shoes

Styling this shoe style is remarkably easy due to their versatile nature. For a classic summer look, pair them with tailored shorts and a polo shirt. For a more sophisticated outfit, boat shoes can be worn with chinos or linen trousers and a lightweight button-down shirt. They also pair well with denim for a smart-casual appearance. Opt for no-show socks to maintain the clean, effortless aesthetic that boat shoes are known for. Whether you’re heading to a seaside restaurant or a casual office setting, boat shoes can seamlessly complement your ensemble.

Best boat shoes in 2024


Aurélien's boat loafers are a dapper choice for both on-deck and ashore activities. Made entirely by hand, these smart boat shoes feature suede uppers and non-marking rubber soles. Pair them with the brand's matching belt to complete a polished and cohesive look, perfect for any occasion.


KLEMAN presents the Donato G VGT, eco-friendly boat shoes crafted from grained vegetable-tanned leather in an Italian tannery. This sustainable technique gives the leather an authentic appearance, which develops a unique patina over the years. These shoes are a perfect blend of style and sustainability.


Velasca offers a pair with two leather finishes: suede and nubuck, both crafted from full-grain leather of the highest quality. The combination of these materials creates a vintage look that blends the classic and casual worlds. Featuring a glove-like fit and a lightweight rubber sole, these shoes are ideal for effortless, everyday wear.

Oliver Cabell

Oliver Cabell's iteration are part swanky loafer, part slip-proof slip-on. Made from 3oz suede leather from Marche, Italy, these shoes feature a rubber outsole with a proprietary design and a footbed lined with Italian calfskin leather over Arneflex micro foam for comfort and support. Hand-stitched and lasted in Portugal, they offer both style and durability.

Duke + Dexter

The Hardy by Duke + Dexter is a modern take on the classic boat shoe, featuring contrast stitching and hand-cut leather laces. Each pair is crafted with a soft Italian leather lining and sits atop a traditional rubber boat sole, ensuring comfort and wearability. These shoes embody the brand's "Made Different" ethos.

John Lobb

John Lobb's boat shoes are designed for ultimate comfort with light 'sock' padding and flexible soles. Made from pliable leather, they are threaded with a single lace that traces the cuff. This pair offer a refined take on the classic shoe style, perfect for those seeking luxury and sophistication.

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