hether you summer in St Ives or St Tropez, it is a truth universally acknowledged that boat shoes are a warm weather essential. Originally conceived by Paul S Sperry in 1935 as a deck-friendly answer to the leather loafer or Oxford shoe, the nautical-inspired silhouette has since become an icon of preppy style and a true staple of summer dressing, both on and off deck. From classic styles in supple suede to contemporary takes in eye-catching colourways, these are the best boat shoes to see you through each and every season, whether you’re yachting or not.
Brunello Cucinelli suede boat shoes
More neutral than nautical, Brunello Cucinelli’s uncomplicated rendition of the boat shoe is a masterclass in understated elegance. Crafted in Italy from ultra-soft suede, with contrasting brown laces, exposed stitching and gold foil logo detailing on the supple leather lining, you’ll never want to take off these sumptuous tonal slip-ons.
Brunello Cucinelli neutral suede boat shoes, £590, brownsfashion.com
Etro tie-front boat shoes
Known for its eclectic take on contemporary classics, Italian brand Etro has taken things up a notch with its two-tone boat shoes. Featuring navy blue calf leather uppers, a stocky speckled green rubber sole and contrast whipstitch detailing, you’ll be confidently putting your best foot forward every time you step into these off-beat boaties.
Etro two-tone navy blue and green tie-front boat shoes, £410, farfetch.com
Fear of God suede boat shoes
Toeing the line (see what I did there) between effortless and refined, Los Angeles label Fear of God imbues the traditional boat shoe silhouette with a laid-back ease distinctive of the brand’s blend of modern subcultural styles. With an off-white rubber sole, stamped with the designer’s monogram, and a soft sand suede upper, this contemporary take is definitely not your dad’s deck shoe.
Fear of God brown suede boat shoes, £595, harveynichols.com
G.H. Bass & Co Weejun boat shoes
Crafted from 100 per cent bovine leather, this tonal suede and leather style from G.H. Bass & Co is an unmistakably classic take on a beloved favourite. With a chunky leather sole and contrast topstitching and eyelets, this elegant, round-toed take works just as well on terra firma as it does on top deck.
G.H. Bass & Co brown Weejun boat shoes, £75, theoutnet.com
Paul Smith Jago boat shoes
Whether you’re hitting Cowes or Carnaby Street, Paul Smith’s Jago boat shoes, hand-finished in earthy khaki Italian nubuck suede, will be the ideal finishing touch for any great summer look. Complete with contrasting bright white laces, as well as thick gum soles and cemented construction for added durability, they’ll be a summer staple for seasons to come.
Paul Smith Jago nubuck boat shoes, £452.39, mrporter.com
The Row grained leather deck shoes
Stealth wealth style star The Row hits the nail on the head with its gentler take on the standard deck shoe silhouette. Rendered in supple grained leather, with a rounded toe and traditional lacing, these all-black slip-ons are sure to keep you in step all summer.
The Row black grained leather deck shoes, £950, matchesfashion.com
Rowing Blazers x Sperry Cloud Authentic boat shoes
This vibrant take on Paul Sperry’s Authentic Original boat shoe by Rowing Blazers is crafted from recycled single-use plastics. Created in partnership with the deck shoe OG, Rowing Blazers’ limited-edition design features two-tone Tasman laces and a Vibram lug sole for a silhouette that speaks to the preppy sensibilities of each brand, while retaining a sense of street style cool. Available in a trio of primary colourways, our pick is this striking crimson shade.
Rowing Blazers x Sperry red Cloud Authentic boat shoes, £170, rowingblazers.com
Sunspel x Sperry Topsider boat shoes
Inspired by the iconic moccasin silhouette and 360-degree lacing of Sperry’s A/O deck shoe, Sunspel’s Topsider boat shoe, created in collaboration with Sperry, is an understated yet remarkable take on the classic style. With supple suede uppers in a rich navy and a soft leather lining for breathability, this refined reimagining of a true classic proves that less really is more.
Sunspel x Sperry navy suede Topsider boat shoes, £395, sunspel.com
Thom Browne Duck boat shoes
If you’re looking to make a statement this season, Thom Browne’s three-piece chunky Duck boat shoes are sure to do the trick. Crafted in panelled buffed calfskin and cable-knit textured rubber, they make for an irreverent take on a preppy classic. But what else would you expect from Mr Browne?
Thom Browne blue and brown Duck boat shoes, £1,205, ssense.com