Everyone loves buying a new pair of shoes. But, with so many options it can be confusing to find a durable and stylish pair.
Thankfully, we’re looking at specific footwear with a strong history. Whether you're wondering how to wear boat shoes for fashion purposes or functional ones, we'll show you exactly how to pair them with your outfit. Let’s take a look at how to wear boat shoes for any occasion and some tips and tricks to picking the right pair.
A Bit About How to Wear Boat Shoes
When setting out to find exactly how to wear boat shoes, you will first want to understand this specific footwear. After all, what are boat shoes and who can wear them? We'll explore these answers and more below.
What are Boat Shoes?
Boat shoes are made from leather and canvas. In men’s footwear, there aren’t a lot of choices for casual summertime wear. Of course, there are flip-flops, but if you’re looking for a lightweight, comfortable shoe where you can skip socks, boat shoes should be your first choice. They work especially well with shorts, as well as jeans.
They differ from sneakers because they give a real adult fashion sense, rather than sneakers which can often look too casual and sometimes, untidy. Boat shoes easily slip on and are practical enough to wear for heavy-duty tasks, such as on a boat, or walking long distances. Thanks to their thick under-layer, they’re comfortable to wear all day without your feet aching. We like how functional they are too, as you can wear them in water and they’re durable enough to withstand uneven surfaces.
Boat shoes are recognized by their low-cut, hand-sewn design, soft, non-skid rubber sole and laces that run only through two or three eyelets. You can tie them on top of the shoes, or on their sides, depending on your preference or what you’re wearing them with. The laces are typically made from leather which keeps them well-tied and highly decorative to make them easy to slip on and off.
When and Where Can You Wear Boat Shoes?
Thanks to the boat shoe’s soft and thin leather, they’re highly suitable for warm weather. Team with a pair of lightweight shorts or pants to accommodate the heat, without getting sweaty. This shoe leaves a lot of the foot exposed, so they don’t cope well with ice, rain and snow. Due to their classic design and material, stick to wearing thin fabrics with them.
As boat shoes are casual footwear, you can get away with swapping your sneakers for them. They’ll take your ordinary outfit to another level and work well with a plain t-shirt and skinny jeans. However, stick to a polo shirt, short-sleeve top, or button-down shirt to not make you look too casual. In general, it fits the smart-casual category so consider what occasion you want to wear them too.
How do You Choose a Great Pair of Boat Shoes?
Choosing a great pair of boat shoes requires selecting a brand you trust. A few examples include: Timberland, Sebago, Dexter, Rockport, and more. Boat shoes tend to look very similar, so their designs won’t differ too much.
However, it’s the material you have to pay attention to. Pick a leather shoe as it’s more durable than just canvas materials, and will make your outfit look smarter. Leather also adjusts to the size and shape of your feet, making them more comfortable and longer-lasting than cheaper materials.
There are a variety of colours to choose from, and this generally depends on the colour of the rest of your ensemble. We recommend making sure you’ve got dark brown boat shoes, as this is a classic colour which works well with most outfits.
Once you’ve purchased a pair, it might take a while to break into them, and can even take several weeks to fit properly. They’ll eventually conform to your feet and become extremely comfortable to wear. As soon as you buy them, massage out any hard spots on the inside. Remove any natural irritants, such as loose threads and hard components.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
The boat shoe trend has followed a path from work wear to a classic men’s footwear (and women’s, too, though it’s not as in demand). Boat shoes have a unique design and structure that aren’t just ideal for boat decks, but make suitable footwear for summer weather too. When figuring out how to wear boat shoes, we recommend sticking with classic shoes. Classic styles provide a stable rest to brace yourself against an uneven surface. They also keep an authentic design like when they first stepped onto the fashion scene.
To follow this tutorial about how to wear boat shoes, you'll need one very obvious piece -- a great pair of boat shoes. Here are a few recommended pairs to wear with any outfit. We’ve included a variety of colours and styles to give you plenty of options.
1. Sperry Top-Sider Genuine All Leather and Non-Marketing Rubber Outsole
You can’t go wrong with a pair of dark brown boat shoes. These shoes emphasize their laces which are made from genuine rawhide. As such, they make an excellent option if you’re planning to wear them on a boat, or for heavy manual labour. With a superior fit and excellent stability, they improve your posture and balance when on your feet all day. The ortholite underfoot cushioning is unique and enhances shock absorption. As a result, they’re one of the comfiest shoes you could purchase. You can tie them once and then slip them on each time you need them. We love how quick and easy they are to put on.
2. Tommy Hilfiger Brown Shoes
Designed by Tommy Hilfiger, you will have faith that these boat shoes are created by a trusted brand which will look after your feet. With a synthetic sole, they’re comfortable to wear all day long and lightweight too, which helps you walk around easily. The shaft measures approximately low-top from the arch to maintain the natural placement of your feet. Made from leather and fashionable, they’re stunning to look at and will emphasize any outfit. We’re a huge fan of the light brown shade for smarter appearances. Team with a pair of light-coloured jeans to perfectly complement them.
3. Rugged Shark Men’s Classic Genuine Leather Shoes
This blue shade is modern and stylish. But, Rugged Shark also offers other shades. This classic boat shoe uses premium leather for the best quality shoes, along with rubber soles to prevent slipping. As a result, these are excellent for all wet conditions outside. The odor control technology keeps odors away and maintains cool feet in warmer weather too. Consequently, we recommend wearing these all-year round. Soft and supple on the interior and exterior, they’re comfortable and stylish. The leather uppers are also durable and classic to last a long time.
4. Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Authentic Boat Shoes
This brand have been making exceptional boat shoes since 1935 and have become an icon of seaworthy style. With genuine leather materials sewn by hand, they offer a comfortable and sturdy fit. The signature lacing system is like the original designs with a more secure fit. These classics are purpose-built to keep you balanced on deck and not impede your speed.
5. Timberland Men’s Classic Two-Eye Boat Shoe
These classic details and modern design team up with comfort. They make the perfect addition to your workweek, weekend wardrobe or of course, on a boat. Timberland’s Men’s Classic Two-Eye shoes deliver a long-lasting comfort thanks to the handsewn premium leather upper. These are the ideal shoes to lounge on the deck of a boat, or keep you supported for manual tasks.
How to Wear Boat Shoes and Look Stylish
Let’s cover a variety of occasions and styles to achieve with your boat shoes. This traditional footwear work especially well for daily tasks for smart-casual occasions. No matter what you're activity entails, you can likely rely on boat shoes to keep your feet cool and dry.
1. Find The Right Fit
Fit is an important aspect of learning how to boat shoes, as they’re designed to offer comfortable and durability. Wearing them too big or too small can impede their benefits. Your heel should always be well supported and protected by the widest part of the shoe. However, your heel shouldn’t feel restricted. Wearing them too big will mean your feet won’t feel the benefits when walking on uneven surfaces. On average, there should be half an inch of space between your big toe and the shoe.
Your feet shouldn’t feel tight or crammed together, and your toes shouldn’t be so close that it becomes irritating. It’s important that your feet feel gripped but not tight. It’s also worth pointing out that boat shoes loosen up after several wears, so you might feel a very slight pinch when you first purchase a pair. If they’re too loose, your feet will slip around in them, which can lead to blisters. They should fit snugly, because they quickly mold to the shape of your feet.
In order to find the right pair of boat shoes for you, opt for a reputable brand as the material and design of the shoes is the most crucial feature. Consider if you want to wear socks or not with boat shoes, as we don’t recommend switching between the two. If you’d rather not wear socks, choose a style which will keep your feet cool, easily. Alternatively, opt for a traditional design if you’d prefer to wear socks. Both options are find, it’s just important to know before shopping around.
2. Know How To Wear Boat Shoes With Shorts
Wearing boat shoes in the summer is a popular option as they look exceptionally stylish with shorts. Thanks for their design and slim features, they’re an ideal shoe for hot weather. Opt for light colours, such as tan or light blue for a classic look with an edgy vibe. This will also help to keep your feet cooler in the sun. You can still stick to wearing socks with boat shoes in the summer, just ensure that they’re small enough to not show through. The beauty of boat shoes is that it shoes a bit of ankle and leaves a gap between the shoe and ankle bone.
Keep your shorts casual to create a stylish look. We recommend shorts just above the knee, which are luxurious and a slim fit. Baggy, long shorts look untidy with boat shoes and go against the tradition of their style. Keep the colour of your shorts neutral to keep your look stylish and toned down. Brown or navy colours are an excellent option. Here are a few options to choose from.
Goodthreads Men’s Flat-Front Stretch Chino Short
Made from cotton stretch twill and a flat front, these chino shorts are comfortable and stylish. We love the pale pink colour for a stylish, unique look. When planning how to wear boat shoes with this colour, stick to a pale shade such as cream. Alternatively, navy blue will work just as well for a stylish contrast.
Levi's Men's Straight Chino Short
Designed and created by a trusted brand, these chino pants offer a slim fit. However, they feature a stretch material which makes them comfortable enough to wear all day long. With side pockets and rear button-through pockets, they’re provide excellent storage for essentials and on-the-go tools if you’re on a boat.
3. Master the Casual Look When Learning How to Wear Boat Shoes
Boat shoes work really well for an everyday look or for a casual visit with friend in warm weather. When considering a casual look, you don’t need to switch to an old, worn pair of boat shoes. However, you can afford to make your remaining ensemble simple. The fit of your clothes is important to help you look stylish, though relaxed. Unlike other shoes, it’s difficult to pull off wearing boat shoes with a casual outfit, because they’re a classic-looking shoe. We recommend avoiding patterned designs, heavy prints and bold colours which overpower the shoe’s style. Here are a options to team with your boat shoes.
Soft and comfortable, we like the simplicity of this t-shirt and the fitted neckline which doesn’t show too much skin. Designed for workouts, we like how lightweight and elastic the material is for a comfortable feel all day long. Not to mention, the light-blue shade is trendy with a texture which gives it some diversity. When choosing the fit, go a little smaller than usual to aim for a tidy, casual look.
JNC Men’s Summer Casual Short Sleeve Cotton Short
This high-quality casual t-shirt is made from 100 percent cotton and fashionable. We love the short sleeves and that it’s not too long, which compliments shorts perfectly. The fashion neck design is slightly different to anything you usually see. You can choose to unbutton the top or sew it shut for a casual evening look. As a slim fit, it’s exceptionally fashionable and works great with almost any colour boat shoes.
Vanca Casual Henley T-Shirt
This slim-fitting t-shirt fits every figure well. The thicker material than the above makes it appropriate to wear in autumn and winter too. The solid colour is elegant and fashionable and a casual style which works well with boat shoes. The high-performance and cost-effective materials makes it suitable for a comfortable work experience whether indoor or outdoor.
4. Know How to Wear Boat Shoes With Jeans
We love how versatile boat shoes are, and that you can wear them to the beach, with shorts or with jeans. There are a few key elements to remember before teaming them with your favourite pair of jeans. Boat shoes should always show a little ankle to keep their classic feel. Stick to skinny-fit jeans which stop just before the foot. We also suggest wearing a different colour/shade to your shoes to create a stylish contrast. Replace your sneakers with boat shoes for a slightly smarter look, though still keep a t-shirt on top to keep it smart-casual. Here are a few ankle jeans’ options.
Levi’s Men’s Slim Fit Jeans
We love the traditional appeal with these jeans. These slim-fit carpenter jeans feature stylish and functional pockets for a detailed and practical touch. They’re modern whilst being urban enough to give a unique touch to classic jeans. The colour isn’t necessarily a shade you see in current days, so we love how inventive and sophisticated it feels.
ZLZ Men’s Skinny Fit Denim Jeans
These affordable and high-quality jeans are made from sweat-absorbent, breathable fabric which are soft to touch and comfortable to wear all day long. The brand uses touch stitches, sturdy buttons and a strong zipper to last for many years. The slim-fit perfectly matches a relaxed t-shirt and can be worn with boat shoes in light brown or cream.
Do You Know How To Wear Boat Shoes?
We hope you enjoyed our tips and tricks on how to wear boat shoes. This footwear isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon, and we’re a huge fan of their durability and look.
Do you know any tips we haven’t mentioned above? If so, leave your advice in the comments to inspire others and share knowledge about how to wear boat shoes.
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