Helly-Hansen Mens Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sailing Shoe

Wearing the best sailing shoes, whether onboard your boat or not, can say a lot about you. Besides looking the part and being a bit of a fashion statement, of course, they have a very practical aspect as well.

The most important aspect of wearing the best shoes for sailing is that of safety. There cannot be enough said about taking the proper precautions to keep yourself and the rest of the crew on your sailboat free from injury.

The best boat shoes for sailing are the ones that you want to wear every time you go on the water. This only happens when they are comfortable and do the best job they can, providing support and grip when you need it most.

While it may look cool and hip to sail barefoot, there are many reasons why you should not consider this even for a short cruise around the bay. Sailing barefoot is plain dangerous. You can slip and fall or become injured. There are cleats and blocks and other equipment all over the place, and it’s super easy to stub toes.

You can trip and injure others. You may lose control of your boat should you lose your footing. These are just a few reasons why you should always wear the best boat shoes when sailing.

Here is a table with our picks of the best options on the market at the moment (see a more in-depth review of each shoe at the bottom is this post). These sailing shoes are not specifically for laser sailing, but are popular options for a variety of uses including dinghy, yacht, and ocean sailing, as well as for when you are back on dry land or in the bar…

ImageNameUpperSoleRatingMore Info
Helly-Hansen Mens Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sailing ShoeHelly-Hansen Men's Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sailing ShoeHydrophobic SyntheticGum Rubber sole

4.3 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Sperry Men's Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe100% LeatherSynthetic sole

4.6 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Sperry Men's Salt Washed Striper Boat ShoeSperry Men's Salt Washed Striper Boat Shoe100% TextileNon-Marking rubber sole

4.3 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
L-RUN-Athletic-Womens-Water-ShoesL-RUN Athletic Women's Water ShoesMesh+LeatherRubber sole

4.5 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
GILL Men's Waterproof Rubber Sailing BootsGILL Men's Waterproof Lace Up Rubber Boots90% Neoprene, 10% NylonRubber sole

4.5 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Hi Top Zipper BootNeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Hi Top Zipper BootSynthetic / NeopreneDurable anti-slip rubber

4.4 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Sperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat ShoeSperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat ShoeLeatherRubber sole

4.2 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Gill Men's Yachting Rubber BootsGill Men's Tall Yachting Rubber Boots100% Natural RubberRubber sole

3.8 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Sperry Women's Rosefish Boat ShoeSperry Women's Rosefish Boat ShoeSuedeRubber sole

4.1 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Aleader Women's Water ShoesAleader Women's Water ShoesBreathable meshSynthetic

4.5 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon

The Different Types of Sailing Shoes

The best shoes for when you are sailing come in many different styles and designs. Each has the same basic construction and features you would expect for use aboard a sailboat. These features include:

  • non-slip treads,
  • comfortable materials that can you can wear for long periods of time, and
  • strong enough to withstand the demands of sailing and sailboat racing. This goes for all upper and sole materials, as well as the stitching.

Many also have a nice contemporary look. This makes the best shoes for sailing also a good choice of footwear for other occasions off the water as well.

As for some of the more specific differences:

  • Sport sailing shoes are flexible, provide comfort and come with super-grippy soles for added traction. They are also designed to keep your feet dry.
  • Deck shoes are waterproof, durable and made to be comfortable. The soles do not provide as much traction as sport sailing shoes but are still non-slip.
  • Sailing boots are waterproof and have non-slip soles but are heavier and larger than other sailing shoes.
  • Good offshore boots go up the calf and will keep feet warm and dry in any conditions.
  • Dinghy hiking boots cover the ankles and provide comfort, fit and are completely non-slip. They are flexible and comfortable with soles designed for traction.
  • Sailing sandals are for use in calmer waters and provide traction around the deck and are generally classified as casual footwear while on the water.

Some of the Most Popular Sailing Shoes:

Here are some of the most popular sailing shoes that you will find at the moment:

Helly-Hansen Men’s Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sailing Shoe

Helly-Hansen Mens Ahiga V4 Hydropower Sailing Shoe
Helly Hansen Men’s Hydropower 4

This is one of the best-selling of the best boat shoes for men manufactured by Helly Hansen. It is also their most versatile which is actually an updated version.

The upgrade has a low-cut design with an anti-microbial, quick-drying surface. The synthetic mesh upper has increased breathability attached to a stable frame. They have a molded EVA sock liner midsole and an outsole with a multi-directional grip system that provides superior traction and shock absorption. High-wear areas have received extra treatment to add durability.

There is no reason to not consider these as one of the best men’s sailing shoes ever made!

PROS

Lightweight
Dry Quickly

CONS

The fit can be a bit small so be careful when ordering by size
These shoes are reported as not being waterproof nor water-resistant. Although they are designed to dry very quickly
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Sperry Men’s Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe

Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Sea Kite Sport Boat Shoe
Sperry Men’s Sea Kite Sport Boat Shoe

These are a highly rated pair of shoes and definitely sit as a contender for the best men’s boat shoes.

This moc-style boat shoe features a quick-dry and water-resistant leather and mesh upper. The smooth inner lining is also water-resistant. They come with compression-molded EVA midsoles and footbeds that are completely removable.

What sets these apart in making them one of the best shoes for sailing is the trademarked Adaptive Wave Siping. This is the name used for the innovative tread design on the soles of these Sperry Top-Siders. The design actually disperses water from under your foot which results in better traction on wet or dry surfaces.

PROS

Attractive, good looking shoes
Comfortable, good fit
Sole has good grip

CONS

No drainage so feet will get wet inside the shoe
Dye on the outside can fade quickly
Leather uppers are easily scratched
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Sperry Men’s Salt Washed Striper Boat Shoe

Sperry Men's Salt Washed Striper Boat Shoe
Sperry Men’s Striper Boat Shoe

Featuring stain and water-resistant canvas uppers, these are easily one of the best men’s boat shoes available.

Padded tongue and collar, as well as a removable polyurethane footbed,  make for a nice comfortable cushion for feet. The out-sole has a non-marking rubber construction with the Wave Siping design to enhance traction on board or on land.

They will stay secure and not slip off when racing around the deck. They also look great so will definitely look the part after a race back in the clubhouse.

PROS

Comfortable fit
Good looking, stylish shoe design

CONS

Sizing may run small
No ventilation
Scuff easily
Laces may come undone easily due to the coating used
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L-RUN Athletic Women’s Water Shoes

Helly Hansen Women’s Ahiga Hydropower Shoe

Lightweight, breathable and flexible describe this L-RUN shoe designed for women and men.

The synthetic open mesh construction allows for quick-drying. Add to this a structural overlay design that keeps feet protected from various onboard and on-land obstacles and you have one of the best boat shoes for women on the market.

Stable midsoles add comfort and cushioning with a durable rubber outsole that adds extra traction.

For an in-depth review of some of the best women’s boat shoes, click here.

PROS

Good fit
Attractive, super-comfortable shoe
Good grip… work well in wet conditions

CONS

Not as durable as some expected
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GILL Men’s Waterproof Lace Up Rubber Boots

GILL Men's Waterproof Rubber Sailing Boots
GILL Men’s Waterproof Boots

The Gill lace up boots features a waterproof blindstitched seam construction designed to keep your feet warm.

With a reinforced heel, toes, and bridge, this is one of the best purpose-designed sailing shoes on this market. The ankle support is wide and supportive. The lace closure system keeps these boots from slipping off during an intense session on the water.

These are very durable and strong boots that will last well and do a good job when on the water.

PROS

Well constructed
An attractive shoe with good sole
Lace closure is easy to use

CONS

Sizing may be off so beware when ordering
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NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Hi Top Zipper Boots

NeoSport Wetsuits Zipper Boots
NeoSport Wetsuits Neoprene Zipper Boots

Made from nylon II neoprene rubber, these zip-up boots have a high traction sole. The seams are strong and durable thanks to a glue and sew method using abrasion-resistant thread.

The sole also has a puncture-resistant insert which adds protection and strength.

These high top boots will keep your feet both warm and dry. They are available in 13 sizes (4 to 16 US) and come complete with a 12-month limited warranty. This makes them one of the best sailing shoes you will find.

For more sailing boots, click here.

PROS

Comfortable, good fit
Nice solid sole
High top design keeps sand and water out

CONS

Zipper closure may be difficult to close on some
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Sperry Men’s Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe

Sperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe
Sperry Men’s Authentic Original Boat Shoe

Featuring a genuine leather upper and a rubber, non-marking sole, these Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes are a great casual choice. They look sharp whether you are on the deck of your boat or back in the club.

With rawhide lacing in a 360-degree lace-up system, these best boat shoes for sailing will stay on and fit your feet snugly.

The soles feature the trademarked Razor-Cut Wave Siping tread pattern. This results in excellent traction in both wet and dry conditions.

Shock absorption is from the molded Ortholite heel cup and adds comfort to the fit.

PROS

Look and feel good, fit well

CONS

Laces come undone frequently
Not very water-resistant
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Gill Men’s Tall Yachting Rubber Boots

Gill Men's Yachting Rubber Boots
Gill Men’s Rubber Boots

This rubber rain boot has a non-slip rubber sole for optimum grip in the wet.

It has arch support, as well as a tie around the top to keep the water out.

As these are a tall boot, they are water-resistant, have a traction grip and will keep your feet warm and dry regardless of the conditions.

They are made out of 100% natural rubber and have a superior grip in wet conditions.

They are a practical and durable choice of footwear for sailing.

PROS

Easy pull-on, pull off design
Rubber non-slip sole
Fit well

CONS

Not as durable as expected
No ventilations expected
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Sperry Women’s Rosefish Boat Shoe

Sperry Women's Rosefish Boat Shoe
Sperry Women’s Rosefish Boat Shoe

One of the best women’s sailing shoes for is this classic from Sperry.

The Rosefish Boat Shoes have a leather and fabric upper which provides both comfort and breathability. They use a wave comfort system with a removable molded footbed constructed from polyurethane which adds to the strength of the shoe.

The 360-degree lacing system provides a secure fit and is attractively designed to be a perfect match on or off the boat.

PROS

Attractive shoe
Comfortable fit

CONS

Sizing may be a bit out, so take care when ordering
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Aleader Women’s Water Shoes

Aleader Women's Quick Drying Water Shoes
Aleader Women’s Water Shoes

This Aleader Women’s Water Shoes is quick-drying and lightweight due to the mesh construction.

It features a convenient easy on/off design and excellent traction in wet and slippery conditions. Add to this the soft breathable mesh and your feet will stay dry as well as comfortable. They also have excellent cushioning to make them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

The contemporary styling also makes these the sailing shoes you will want to wear on and off the water. They will go with almost any outfit and social engagement.

PROS

Available in several different colors
Looks like a running shoe
Excellent grip in the wet

CONS

They may take a bit of wearing in
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The Best Shoes for Sailing

It’s not hard to find a large selection of the best boat shoes for sailing. This is because manufacturers have embraced the boating lifestyle in recent years. This means that many shoes are functional and practical whether on the water or not.

When shopping for this kind of footwear you will want to watch for certain features, including:

  • lightweight but strong and durable construction,
  • comfortable but functional,
  • water-resistant, quick drying materials, and
  • non-slip sole or a sole that provides excellent traction in wet or dry conditions.

When you are able to find all this in the right shoe, you will have found the best sailing shoes to maximize the enjoyment of your time on the water.

With so much choice these days, it can be hard to make a decision. We are spoilt for selection with various options in design and price. So, to help out our fellow sailors (and not just Laser sailors), what are your favorite sailing shoes? What has lasted well and stood the test of time for you? Please share your pick of the best shoes for sailing below…

3 Comments

  1. Admin on September 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    So, what’s your favorite pair of sailing shoes?
    Let me know here!

  2. Tony Hastings on February 18, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    I’m stunned by the running shoes, deck shoes and gum-boots you’ve thought of as suitable for wearing while sailing a Laser. Just NO!
    You want a flexible shoe or boot with good protection for the top of your foot while hiking out.
    Depending where you are in the world, any of these. I’ve personally been wearing the Gill skiff boots most weekends for the past 2 years, maybe 180 races, and they’re still good as new – VERY durable. I also call them “the foot sauna”, because water stays in and they get hot (in Australian summer).
    Gill skiff boot
    Zhik 160 https://www.zhik.com/boot-160.html
    Rooster hike boot https://www.roostersailing.com/pd/Hike-Boot_105343.htm

    • Admin on February 19, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Tony
      Thanks for your comments and feedback. I am sorry that I have caused some confusion… these shoes are not just for Laser sailing – they are for sailing in general (eg. yachts, dinghies, ocean).
      I have edited the text and tried to make it a little clearer to avoid any further confusion.
      Cheers
      Brendan

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