Shoes for Sailing



Most people assume that the only footwear we ever wear are flip flops. While that is mostly true when we are frolicking around town, when we are sailing we like to make sure our feet are better protected.

There are two main things you want out of a sailing shoe. The first thing you want to look for is a sole that is non-skid, but grippy. When waves are crashing over the bow, you want to make sure your shoes have a good hold on the deck! You also don’t want to leave any black marks on the deck either. The second thing you want to look for in a sailing shoe is proper toe protection. A sailboat is FULL of hardware that you can catch a toe on and I can guarantee that what ever you hit will cause serious amounts of pain. Add in a factor of urgency and you are even more likely to hit something. Don’t ask me how I know this to be true.

The obvious answer for a proper sailing shoe would be boat shoes, right? While they do technically fulfill my criteria above, they are not my shoe of choice for actual sailing. I have a pair of Sebago boat shoes and I actually find them pretty uncomfortable to wear for any length of time. And, the shoe laces never stay tied – what the heck?! When leather gets wet it doesn’t dry and gives me pretty bad blisters. Definitely not something I want to worry about when I need to stay focused.

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{See all that nice mesh fabric? Keeps my feet airy and dry!}

The shoes that I wear when we are sailing are my Merrell water sports hiking shoes. I don’t know the specific model as I bought them a few years back for actual hiking, but they still make styles similar. They are basically a lightweight and mesh hiking shoe. The mesh fabric allows the shoes and my feet to dry really quick if they get wet and the shoe sports some hefty toe protection. Since they are designed for hiking in and out of water they have an excellent grippy bottom. Bonus that these shoes do double duty when I actually want to go hiking so I have more room to hide, I mean store, my other shoes on board.

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{Jason’s “sailing” shoes – check out the drain holes on the bottom of his!}

Jason also wears a pair of water sports hiking shoes when we sail as well. I also know that a lot of people like to wear Crocs when under sail but something just won’t allow me to buy a pair. I don’t care how comfortable and functional they may be!

What shoes do you wear while sailing?

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