boat shoes

The best men’s boat shoes for summer 2024

25 Jun 2024 | |By Richard Brown

Once the rubber-soled embodiment of given-up dad style, the beleaguered boat shoe has been the unlikely subject of a high-fashion resurrection

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Boat shoes are back, baby. Of course, the moccasin-toed, non-mark slip-ons never actually disappeared. They certainly never went extinct from the stands of Twickenham during the Summer Internationals. Nor did they become hard to spot on the riverbanks of Henley come Regatta. Indeed, for their anti-scuff credentials, we’re pretty sure that solidly-made soft-soled deck shoes never fell out of favour with, you know, actual boat owners.

Still, it’s hard to remember a time when that most barbecue-friendly of fair-weather footwear ever bothered the style pages of glossy fashion magazines (see the bit about Twickenham and Henley). Boat shoes were never HIGH fashion. They were never street. Well, turn the ship around. Because now it seems the humble, wear-with-anything slipper is both hip and, as we’ll see below, increasingly square.

For proof that the boat shoe is now bona fide cool see the AW24 runways where brands as distinct as Loewe, Miu Miu and Bally offered their take on the nautical classic. While Miu Miu leaned into preppy styling, Bally offered up an innovative heeled boat shoe and Loewe’s bulbous version is a statement maker if we ever saw one.

This isn’t the first time the boat shoe has charmed designers. The silhouette has been a mainstay of many a lookbook at streetwear supernovas Aimé Leon Dore and Off-White while elegant luxury brands Crockett & Jones, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Christian Louboutin, and Manolo Blahnik are just some of the names that have jumped on board, joining the likes of traditional boat shoe-makers – Rockport, Sebago, G.H. Bass and the OG of deck shoes, Sperry – in offering contemporary reboots of your old man’s favourite summer slip-on.

These are the most shipshape boat shoes of summer 2024…

Sebago Portland Spinnaker boat shoe

Sebago had been doing a healthy trade in penny loafers for a quarter of a century before it launched the Dockside in 1970. It was the hand-sewn, slip-resistant boat shoe, however, that would become the American brand’s defining creation – since seen on the feet of Pharrell Williams, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Kate Middleton. The latest Dockside features contrasting Nubuck panels and a rawhide lace system. Newman, we’re fairly confident, would approve.

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Mr P. Caspian suede boat shoes

Taking the traditional boat shoe and adding a chunkier, Vibram rubber lug sole, Mr P. creates a shoe that needn’t be confined to life on deck. The brand assembles its shoes using supple suede – in this case khaki green and threaded with tonal laces.

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Polo Ralph Lauren Merton boat shoe

No shoe says ‘Ivy League’ better than a boat shoe. And no brand is more successful at channelling that preppy American aesthetic than Ralph Lauren. Step in (pun intended) the label’s leather Merton deck shoe. With a classic silhouette and traditional lacing, it’s the deck shoe you think of when you think ‘deck shoe’.

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PS Paul Smith suede boat shoes

Who said boat shoes had to be cut from brown leather? How about sage green suede? Look good, don’t they? And that multi-coloured sole, cool isn’t it? The traditional lacing and eyelets are there, though, making this pair of Paul Smith deck shoes both mid-century retro and bang up to date.

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Camper Runner Four boat shoe

Fun fact: global footwear brand Camper is headquartered on the small Spanish island of Mallorca, the company’s grandfather having introduced one of the first sewing machines to the island in the 1870s. Camper embraced environmentalism long before ‘offsetting’ became a buzzword. Hence this beige pair of boat shoes being made entirely from recycled cotton.

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Coach Benson panelled boat shoe

Boat shoe, but make it fashion. In the case of Coach’s latest deck-ready slip-on that involved adding a monogrammed jacquard panel to the vamp, contrast stitching, and a stacked rubber sole. Mission accomplished.

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Sebago Triton legacy boat shoe

If you associate Sebago with preppy types to whom ‘port’ is a Portuguese fortified wine, and not the left side of a ship, then, well, yeah. But Sebago is also the real McCoy, beloved by captains and crews across the seven seas. The brand has also crossed the cultural divide to make waves in the world of fashion. Thanks, in no small part, to fun, irreverent footwear like these contrasting nubuck and mesh panelled deck shoes.

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Timberland boat shoe

It may be best known for its six-inch boots, but the other footwear that helped put Timberland on the map was its three-eyelet boat shoe. A mainstay of the brand since 1978, Timberland’s slip-on is more rugged than conventional deck shoes, thanks to a ridged rubber sole and padded ankle surround. The standout from this year’s cohort? This elegant white pair. Striking.

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