13 Best Boat Shoes for Men in 2024, Reviewed by GQ

The best boat shoes for men are cresting right now. The preppiest, dadliest, old money-iest lace-up on the market was once niche, then ubiquitous, and then somewhere in between, the preserve of chug-happy undergrads and the type of folks who use “summer” as a verb.

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In 2024, the tides have once again turned in the boat shoe’s favor. The style’s been around for going on a century, but thanks to a welcome dose of street cred, a who’s who of cool-guy brands are riding the wave, too—and quietly admitting they might’ve been too quick to toss ‘em back.

Gearing up for a jaunt around the coast on your richest friend’s schooner? Eager to harness the throwback cool of JFK Jr. at his preternaturally chilled-out best? Just looking for a loafer alternative to wear to that one beachside wedding in August? The boat shoe has washed ashore once more, and every version you should know about is immediately below.

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The Best Boat Shoes for Men, According to GQ

Best Old-School Boat Shoes: Todd Snyder x Sperry Top-Sider Suede Boat Shoes

Todd Snyder

Sperry Top-Sider Suede Boat Shoes

The modern boat shoe first dropped anchor in the ‘30s, when Paul A. Sperry, operating out of the prep epicenter of Connecticut, cut a siping pattern into the bottom of his trusty moccasins. The brand that bears his name still hawks the original version in all its nautical glory, but for our money, Todd Snyder’s newfangled spin on the classic Top-Sider is a better bet. Snyder’s true-to-history iteration gives the archetypal boat shoe a fresh update via primo materials and a slew of nifty details, including a grippy, non-slip outsole (with a traditional cork insole) and wraparound rawhide laces to keep ‘em firmly attached to your feet even if you’re tossed overboard. Oh, and the whole shebang comes rendered in handsome suede sourced from renowned English tannery Charles F. Stead & Co. If you’re looking for a classic-leaning boat shoe that yanks the silhouette firmly into the here and now, look no further.

Best New-School Boat Shoes: J.Crew x Rancourt & Co. Read Boat Shoes


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Rancourt & Co. Read Boat Shoes

If Sperry is the old guard, Rancourt is the new school. The brand is one of a few New England shoemakers that’s been around for decades, but its revival in the 2010s under third-generation owner Kyle Rancourt made it more relevant than ever. Its Read boat shoes feature unlined Horween leather, brass eyelets, and non-slip and non-marking deck soles, all finished with a genuine moccasin construction handsewn in the USA. We’re not the only ones who dig ’em—the rejuvenated prep evangelists at J.Crew upped the ante on the silhouette with an exclusive leather colorway and mini-lug Vibram soles for extra comfort and durability.

Best Lug Boat Shoes: Timberland Authentic Boat Shoes


Authentic Boat Shoes

If the slim, non-slip soles typical to other boat shoes read a smidge too prep for you, the first name in highly durable, highly New York boots has you covered. Timberland’s beefed-up version is just as grippy as the daintier options, but adds a hefty dollop of foul-weather ruggedness to the recipe for good measure. The brand’s 3-eye silhouette has all the makings of a traditional handsewn boat shoe—premium Horween leather, rawhide lacing system, moc-adjacent construction—plopped on top of a treaded rubber sole that remains a brand signature.

Best Upgrade Boat Shoes: Paraboot Barth Boat Shoes

Much as we love the conventional boat shoe, in the wrong hands, the silhouette has the nagging habit of turning its wearer into a bumbling American tourist. Enter Paraboot’s tres French riff on the style, which harnesses the Gallic brand’s footwear pedigree to elevate the American classic beyond the realm of frat-guy fare. All of Paraboot’s shoes—including its legendary Michael derby— are built to last, and the Barth is no exception. Come for the the luxe, butter-soft uppers, stay for the sleek rubber outsole with more cushioning than an upmarket SUV.

Best Dressed-Up Boat Shoes: Vinny’s Suede Boat Shoes


Aztec Suede Boat Shoes

The easiest way to take your boat shoes from skipper to mega-yacht? Buy a pair from Vinny’s, the buzzy Danish brand designing hard-bottoms for the post-sneaker generation. The Aztec is still a boat shoe in the most literal sense, but its distinguishing features—hulking lug soles, black suede uppers, metal eyelets—lend it a decidedly dressy tinge. Whether you’re stomping around the back room of a bayside restaurant or clomping across the boardwalk, you won’t feel the stones, sticks, and washed-ashore debris beneath you. In 2024, boat shoes aren’t just for boats anymore—all the more reason to wear these with jeans and a heartthrob V-neck on dry land.

More Boat Shoes We Love

Blackstock & Weber x Sperry Original 2-Eye Boat Shoes

Blackstock & Weber

Sperry Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe

Todd Snyder isn’t the only menswear-favorite American brand pushing the boat shoe agenda: the loafer specialists as Blackstock & Weber are, too—which makes a whole lot of sense. Not only because boat shoes share a certain amount of DNA with their slip-on relatives, but because B&W founder Chris Echevarria just so happens to be Sperry’s newly-appointed creative director, making him a majority leader of the modern-day Prep Party, charged with overseeing the look’s resurgence and reinvention. If these lug-sole buffalo leather joints are any indication, Sperry couldn’t have picked a better candidate.

Bally Plume Leather Boat Shoes


Plume Leather Boat Shoes

Ever since Gucci alum Simone Bellotti took the reigns at Bally, the Swiss luxury brand has found itself at the nexus of menswear’s return to elegance, a not-so-unlikely position for a sleepy fashion house with a reputation for outfitting the global jet set. Plenty of designers work double-duty as avatars for the labels that employ them, but Bellotti’s vision at Bally seems to be an unusually accurate extension of his mojo. When the designer took a bow at his first show in October, his outfit went mildly viral for its encapsulation of laid-back Italian style: faded baseball cap, vintage sweatshirt, pleated chinos, and boat shoes exactly like these. You could do a lot worse than taking your cues from the subtlest menswear whisperer in Milan right now.

Kleman Donato Boat Shoes

“I see a brown boat shoe / And I want it painted black / No colors anymore / I want them to turn black,” is, sadly, not the chorus of the Stones’ rollicking ’60s chart-topper, but it really should be. Because if you dig the look of boat shoes but not their prep-school associations, there’s only one color for the job. Thankfully, the vaunted French cobblers at Kleman offer a bang-up riff on the style crafted from inky buffed leather, the type of material you typically encounter on boots, high-end sneakers, and derbies. It offers the exact same summer energy as its cheerier counterparts, just imbued with a little Parisian edge.

Yuketen Kiltie Non-Boat Shoes


Kiltie Non-Boat Shoes

If summer isn’t the time to let your freak flag why, when is? And freaky Yuketen’s boat shoes are, in all the right ways. The cult-loved Japanese brand juices the nautical silhouettes with a litany of flourishes that suit its current high-fashion aspirations: patent yellow embossed leather, kiltie-finish front, contrasting laces, all anchored by a speckled, non-marking outsole. They’re absolute madness, and we’re absolutely mad for them.

G.H.Bass Ranger Camp Moc Toe Super Lug Loafers


Ranger Camp Moc Toe Super Lug Loafer

Sometimes, Dad knows best—and if you showed up to the next family hang rocking these, he’d probably wonder when you plucked them from his closet. G.H.Bass’ rich brown Ranger Moc delivers exactly what its name promises: a badass, big-soled, camp- and canoe-friendly number courtesy of an all-American heritage brand with decades of experience making ‘em. Why not make your old man proud for a change—and turbo-charge your spring footwear in the process?

Miu Miu Leather Lace-Up Moccasins

Miu Miu

Leather Lace-Up Moccasins

“When they go low, we go high”—Michelle Obama, of course, but also, we imagine, Miu Miu’s chart-topping boat shoe remix. Plenty of other new-age mocs come with what we like to call ‘lift kits’ (read: lug soles), but Ms. Prada’s excellent, ballet flat-like version is as streamlined as it gets. Thankfully, its tony Italian origins and certified It shoe status don’t make it any more precious than its beefier counterparts—on the contrary, in fact. Thanks to a gently lived-in polish, they look more like Sperrys JFK Jr. might’ve worn bumming around Hyannis Port (Caroline would’ve definitely swiped ’em from his closet).

Dries Van Noten Suede Boat Shoes

Dries Van Noten

Suede Boat Shoes

Dries Van Noten’s boat shoe is a boat shoe in the same way that a Porsche Taycan is a sedan. The Belgian designer’s riff on the silhouette ditches the usual V-shaped leather tongue in favor of higher, ankle-cradling suede—like a mock neck for your feet!—and swaps the flat-heeled outsoles for a rugged Vibram lug sole. Besides for that, though, all the key tenets are there, 360-degree lace system and yacht-ready shape very much included. Their designer pedigree (to say nothing of that jaw-dropping luscious suede) means they’ll work just well with baggy linen shorts when it’s swamp-ass season as they will with jeans when the leaves change color in the fall.

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