Sailing shoes that don't suck?


Super Anarchist
I don't speak your native tongue.

Translation, please.
I've owned a few pairs of Stan Smiths, they're no worse or better than any other bog standard trainer onboard. Not as good grip as a dedicated boat shoe, but not bad.

And I don't care how old you are, wearing socks with sandals is a crime!

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@freewheelin I'm using a pair of Under Armour Tribase Reign 3s that I got at an outlet store. They're onto version 4 now but they look pretty similar: 

They're working pretty well - flat and not super thick sole so good traction and stability plus they have good flexibility at the toes so they shouldn't blow out at the forefoot like some shoes do. Also good level of reinforcing around the whole shoe to protect from non-skid abrasion. I've a done a season as mid-bow on a Club Swan 50 which is a mix of teak and non-skid and I'm keeping them on for another one. They don't have the drain holes of the Terrex but on the lus side it means you don't get waves blasting up through the sole when you're on the rail. Early season use a waterproof or neoprene sock and you're toasty all day.

There is a lace-up Croc that I've seen become pretty popular for boats with non-skid or foam decks but I can't actually find the version online that I've seen people wearing plus I still can't being myself to go down that path...

The bowman I sail with uses an indoor football shoe from Adidas - thin, flat and super sticky sole for max grip. Arguably he could have chosen a more subtle colour;

Having spent just enough time working in the footwear industry to know a few things to look for, it does seem like a lot of sailing brand shoes are pretty poorly made and designed - or are aimed very squarely at 'low impact'' use and not crawling around on non-skid at the front of the boat (there's a lot of very unnecessary stitching and thin mesh which all chafes out very quickly) . Looking at the pros on the TPs and Maxis etc over here the Terrex are about the only sailing specific shoe you really see being used, the rest are all variations on what I posted above plus some basketball kicks for the more fashion conscious. The waffle soled Vans are pretty popular but that's only if you're willing to run through a few pairs a season (forefoot blow-outs are quite common). 


slug zitski

Super Anarchist
I currently use Adidas Terrex shoes, and absolutely love them. They are light weight, dry quickly, drain, and the grip is great. Sadly, they have been discontinued for a couple years. I am looking for a similar shoe that will be good for wet bow-work, but can't seem to find anything close. Zhik ZKG seems to be discontinued as well.

Any ideas/suggestions?

(I am not a fan of the topsider style - I have tried plenty that don't seem to do anything that well)
The classic leather moccasins are superior boat shoes 

as soon as wind comes up , foul weather gear comes out…  I remove the boat moccasins and put on a pair of sports shoes.  Trainers or whatever you call then 

I’ve used many brands , they all work 

choose a pair with suitable boat treads 



Super Anarchist
Best shoes I ever had on a boat were Nike mid highs. Great traction, and when doing a lot of standing they had the ankle support a boat specific shoe just doesn’t have, really had a big difference on windy days when the boat is heeled a lot. Thinking about a pair of Lebrons for this year, bc GOAT and all that. 



Last summer I did foredeck on a narrow 5.5 Meter boat in Olukai leather flip flops. I also climbed rocky outcrops in Maine without any problem. 





Olukai leather flip flops
Maybe not what you want to wear falling asleep on the rail. But on a 5.5 m on a sunny day, why not. They are good for protecting your toes. In warm climates i like to wear sandals, but with ancle straps. I get nervous with crew sailing bare foot. 

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Sperry doesn’t make the ones on the left anymore, they are perfect, and have lasted pretty well- the ones on the right are quirky,but kinda cool- I’ve some white recent  ^_^  mesh Sperry’s that look too much the part, and have ok grip, etc, not leather, but I’m allergic to heavy metal tanning, so no more wearing leather Sperrys to destruction.


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Charter Member. Scow Mafia
North Louisiana
The Sperry Harbormaster is actually a pretty not bad shoe. 

They're comfortable for my foot, light, dry quickly. 

I bought 2 "extra" pairs before my first pair wore out... 

only complain with them, is that the sole tends to wear quicly when worn off the boat.. 

a characteristic that I attribute to the composition that keeps them pretty sticky to a wet deck. 

Granted I can't attest to how well they're gonna serve on a Vendee Globe, but they served me pretty well for  a lot of summer time offshore miles and dicking around on the bay on the J35. can be found at Worst Marine and on Amazon. 

Also still getting good mileage from a 10 year old pair of Teva's I had two pair of these things and on one of them, the sole dried out and cracked apart. The other pair will likely outlive me. 

View attachment 501741
I have two pair, one for the boat and one for other times.  Best boat shoes I have had.  

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Like these?  We were actually considering fake teak decks because no traction, and then I tried the embarrassingly white new ones-  :eek:




Maybe not what you want to wear falling asleep on the rail. But on a 5.5 m on a sunny day, why not. They are good for protecting your toes. In warm climates i like to wear sandals, but with ancle straps. I get nervous with crew sailing bare foot. 
There are only 3 onboard when I wear the flip flops, when 4 I wear topsiders. They’re leather for a reason. They take a ton of abuse that would tear a regular shoe material up and the sole is always good for deck work. Plus, I look like my grandfather when I wear them!

I've really liked Salomon Techamphibians, versions 1, 2, 3, and now 4. They seem to be getting rare. I don't know if they've been discontinued. If they have that's a bummer.

But I hate the newer color schemes. I like shoes that blend in and don't scream "outdoor sports geek." So I still wear regular Topsiders all the time.

Addidas Terrex were great, but now probably gone too.

Sperry's Billfish is a better actual boat shoe than the original. It still looks OK as a normal shoe, and you can still get them. 

If you can't find it at or, it's probably discontinued.