It may be August, but we’re holding onto summer’s breezy dress code until the leaves start falling. The warmer months bring the unique joy of loosening up your wardrobe—specifically, bidding socks adieu and setting your ankles free. Conveniently, there’s a new wave of seriously stylish boat shoes reviving an old summertime classic.
Originally a utilitarian bit of workwear for sailors, boat shoes were built for function: water-resistant uppers, anti-slip soles. While those crisp white soles were designed to avoid scuffing a ship’s deck, they also speak to more leisurely pursuits: sunset sails on the Cape and poolside lounging at the country club. So, it was only natural that the boat shoe was adopted by mid-century preps and became an Ivy style grail.
The boat shoe is, in many ways, the perfect shoe for right now: fuss-free chic, whether you’re kicking around the house or strolling around town. From traditionally reverent top-siders to streetwear-inflected riffs, here are ten of the best to buy now.
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Church’s Marske Boat Shoes
The classic gone luxe, thanks to the skilled cobblers of British footwear stalwart Church’s. This pair not only upgrades the leather, but subtly breaks from tradition with a refined combo of navy and burgundy—a pairing that plays well with all manner of grays, tans and dark blues.
Sperry Gold Cup Authentic Original Boat Shoes
Sometimes, you can’t beat the original. If you fancy yourself a traditionalist, Sperry is credited with inventing the boat shoe in 1935 (the company was even commissioned by the U.S. Navy). This pair ups the ante with hand-sewn details, buttery lambskin lining and a rich duo of cognac-hued leather and chocolate brown suede.
Rancourt & Co. The Coggins Boat Shoe
Maine moccasin maker Rancourt tapped writer David Coggins to help design this boat shoe, which sports a rugged rubber outsole that leans less yacht club and more log cabin. But should you find yourself in the proximity of water (or rain), its water-resistant Chromexcel leather and waterproof leather laces will be much appreciated.
Brunello Cucinelli Boat Shoes
Brunello Cucinelli’s knack for laidback elegance takes these boat shoes firmly out of frat boy territory, thanks to their combination of supple suede uppers, tonal stitching and a darker rubber sole. Surely, one of the most luxurious ways to shod your sea legs.
Manebí ‘Hamptons’ Boat Shoes
Leaning into the boat shoe’s breezy, beach bum side, Spanish brand Manebí combines an unstructured, unlined suede upper with an espadrille’s woven jute sole. If the thought of popped collars at the yacht club makes you seasick, these are the boat shoes for you.
Fear of God Boat Shoes
The same sleek, minimalist lines that have made Fear of God’s sneakers a cult favorite give this pair a dose of streetwear cool. They wear their nautical inspiration lightly, reading as loafers as much as boat shoes—a hybrid that makes old-school styles look unmistakably modern.
John Lobb Pier Boat Shoes
Thanks to their inky black water-resistant suede uppers and sneaker-esque rubber-crepe soles, this pair from John Lobb is hardy enough to be worn year-round, in town or country. Versatile and durable, consider these your new wear-with-everything shoe. Stan Smith, who?
Scarosso Orlando Boat Shoe
This pair from Italian shoemaker Scarosso features an oiled leather that provides a weathered, seadog patina from the get-go. It’s just the thing for adding a bit of salty character to white jeans (bonus points for rolling the cuffs up to accommodate high tides).
Manolo Blahnik Sidmouth Boat Shoes
With their playfully oversized, crisp white laces, this pair has a playful attitude. But, rendered in cool gray suede, they’re still understated enough to work with everything from jeans to linen shorts.
Sebago x Engineered Garments Cover Deck Shoes
Maine-based Sebago is another heritage maker of traditional boat shoes. It recently teamed up with cult Japanese-American brand Engineered Garments give its classic silhouettes a hit of fashion verve, like this pair with concealed laces and a toggle closure. A more rugged alternative to the originals, this pair is better suited to trekkers, urban or otherwise, than seafarers.