What shoes to wear on board a sailboat

The 2021 sailing season is in full swing and with that comes a time of preparation and questions from the crew: 'And what are the best shoes to wear'? 


Moreover, this summer, before we left for our first post-covid cruise in Greece (to the beautiful Saronic Gulf), Tom and I had to find shoes too. His sneakers are torn after many years at sea and mine were left on board Midnight Blue in Norway. 


But there are so many possibilities! In addition, we also addressed an important question for us - which ones to buy to be as environmentally friendly as possible?


So I decided to go the whole hog.


if you're going on a boat for the first time and don't know what shoes to wear, I've written this article for you.


And if you're already a salty sailor and just want to know what shoes we have chosen and why, or if you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative to yours, jump to the final recap.

Not only for our crews!

And if you want to buy shoes like us after reading this article, we managed to negotiate a discount code for environmentally friendly but stylish shoes. After entering it when you place your order, you will get a 10% discount!









Why and when to wear shoes on board


Before we get into what shoes to choose, it's worth thinking about when and why we'll use them during the cruise. And while for many, sea = flip-flops only, know that on a boat they're not the happiest choice. Especially if you're going on a boat for the first time.


The deck is full of ropes, handles and metal loops, protrusions and folds, and if you don't know where the "toe trap" is, it's better to equip your cherished feet with armour in the form of suitable footwear. And if you don't, you risk (at best) a kicked toe or a scraped or (at worst) an broken toe.


No matter what, you should wear shoes for sure - and any good captain should definitely ask you to! - when sailing.


The boat often sails at heel and "dances" on the waves. Plus, sometimes the deck is also wet from sea water sprays. If that's the case and you go to the bow, either for the experience or the captain sends you there to do something (sometimes there's not much difference 🙂 ) you'll appreciate the step. It's better to concentrate on the movements of the boat and where to catch yourself than to watch your step lest you injure your bare foot or just slip stupidly.


It's also a good idea to wear shoes when arriving at the marina. It is often necessary for someone to jump ashore and tie a mooring line, and it is definitely harder to jump "barefoot" than in shoes.


The chapter "Ouch, Sea Urchin" is a chapter unto itself. Because you'll appreciate a good pair of shoes not only on the boat, but also when you go ashore or when you go swimming and the area is crawling with "those prickly things".  

So how do I know if these are the right shoes for the boat? 


I once heard that the number one rule is "always look cool". This is true and this is also a criterion that cannot be taken lightly in these days and age of instagram 🙂 But I would start a bit more practical 🙂 If you answer YES to the following questions, then your shoes are the RIGHT shoes for the boat 🙂 


  • Does the sole have a pattern to keep the shoe from slipping on a wet deck?
  • Does the shoe have a white sole so we don't have to spend our vacation scrubbing dark mark off the white deck of the yacht?
  • Does the shoe have a solid covered toe cap to prevent tripping over corners and protrusions?
  • Is the shoe made of a quick-drying material so that if your sneakers accidentally get wet, they'll be dry by morning?
  • Do the shoes look nice in photos?  (Okay, so good looking matter a bit too 🙂 But seriously, if they look presentable, you'll save space in your luggage because you won't be embarrassed to go ashore in the shoes.
  • Are the shoes made from recycled material, or at least in an environmentally friendly way? (For us, honoring the Serenity Explorers philosophy, absolutely essential. See the next chapter.)

How we chose and which shoes did we end up with? 

After many years, it was time to renew our foot garderobe and get new boats. Although we knew what features the boots should have (see previous paragraph) and the range of boots in the shops seems to be wide and therefore the purchase is easy, we had one criterion that made the choice much more pleasant and easier. All we had to do was type the magic word "Sustainability" into a search engine and google itself separated the wheat from the chaff 🙂


Since every true adventurer has untouched wildlife in his heart and tries to preserve it for himself and his followers, we as sailors are riding the wave of zero waste! So we wanted to make our shoes as environmentally friendly as possible.


There are not many of these on the market yet, so our choice was quick and easy. In addition, unlike the classic consumer salesmen in the malls, the manufacturers of eco shoes will give you very good advice. I googled a few brands and then, thanks to an instagram post by a friend (from Sustainable Design study and a member of one of our crews), I came across the brand Sustainable Wair. 

The company prides itself on producing shoes using only recycled or upcycled materials, natural rubber and generally treating everything with respect for nature. 




The aim of upcycling is to reuse old and unwanted or partially broken products into things with a higher use value than the original product. In doing so, the production of the upcycled product has any or minimal impact on the environment.

I have chosen for us a pair of Phoenix sneakers made from old jeans. Because every now and then the shoe gets dirty when pulling the ropes, I ordered a darker color for myself and Tom, but in different versions of Blue/ Blue and Blue/White so we wouldn't get them confused 🙂 But I have to admit, the sight of Tom, with his foot size 43, trying on my size 37, could be considerably hilarious 😀 


The boots, when chosen, fulfilled everything I ever wanted from a boat shoe. White sole with a pattern that doesn't leave marks but at the same time doesn't slip, solid toe. In addition, their production did not burden nature as much as shoes from other manufacturers of big brands. Simply shoes with a story, plus they go with practically everything. 

But are they really as I dreamed them up according to the shop description? We will bring a detailed review of the shoes in the next article! However, I will disclose in advance that today, after more than a month of intensive use on the boat, both Tom and I are completely satisfied with the boots and they have exceeded our expectations. So I really recommend the boots. And not only for the boat, but also for normal everyday city wear. 


And because we want to promote the idea of zero waste products, we have arranged a discount code for you at Sustainable Wair that everyone can use! So when you shop at https://sustainablewair.com/, just enter the code SERENITYEXPLORERS10 and you'll get 10 percent off. 


We look forward to seeing each new Serenity Explorers boat shoes promote the idea of zero waste! Eco products are not only functional but also stylish these days, and you're sure to get a bunch of likes for them in your vacation photos or on instagram 🙂


PS.: If you get sneakers, take a picture with them and tag @serenityexplorers and @sustainablewair on IG or FB.

We'd love to see that we're not the only ones who love our planet 🙂


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