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The right shoes on board: Docksides, boots or yet sneakers?

Shoes for everyday use on board must be one thing above all: slip-resistant. In addition, they should not damage the deck, forgive even a spilling wave and provide secure grip and comfort. SeaHelp presents the best shoes for sailors.

The classic


You can’t get a more Kennedy look on board. The classic Docksides from Sebago Docksides, Timberland or even Marinepool come in dark brown and have a light-colored, smooth sole with curved grooves for a secure grip on deck. Alternatively, they also come in dark blue and all sorts of fashionable colors, and the women’s models of the classic moccasin sometimes have different lacing on the blade. An investment worth making, docksides, worn barefoot if possible, can easily be taken to any restaurant in the marina after a day at sea, no matter how elegant.

If the shoes do get wet at sea, the salt water must be rinsed out and the shoes must then be freshly greased. Properly cared for, the shoes will last for years, becoming more comfortable and very easy to put on and take off.

The sporty


Sneakers on board? No. If you’re coming along for a short trip, you can certainly come on board with your street shoes or everyday sneakers in exceptional cases. Water sports novices have a good footing in them, they are light and comfortable to wear. But actually, the sneakers used on the street with their asphalt-colored soles are not welcome on board, especially because small stones can get stuck in the sole and damage the deck.

Much better, and offered by numerous maritime manufacturers, are Tec sneakers with a light-colored, non-slip sole. They are lightweight, water-permeable and insensitive, and provide perfect grip even on wet decks. Pleasant side effect: they also look highly sporty and dynamic. Available from Marinepool, among others.

The Stormy

Sea Boots

Up front, rubber boots are for landlubbers or casual sailors. If you’re expecting heavy weather at sea, lots of water on deck and cooler temperatures, you’ll need some totally waterproof sea boots. French solo sailors swear by the Neptune model with built-in neoprene shaft from Le Chameau slightly cheaper, for example, is the Elementary Boot from Marinepool. Also Musto, proven for generations for maritime functional clothing that can handle almost any situation, has an appropriate deck boot on offer. If you’re sailing a longer tour and have to plan for periods of heavy weather, you should have both: Sneakers and boots. On racing yachts, when every gram counts, the question is: Shoes or boots?

The companions of life

Leather boots

They are the counterpart to the classic Docksides: boots made of leather with a vulcanized sole that can do everything, but also everything. And that for many years. Not as sporty and flexible as the modern sea boots made of high-tech materials, but comfortable, warm, absolutely waterproof and also extremely stylish. The classic sea boots from Dubarry you buy or want once in a lifetime. And cares for and protects them so that they do not dry out and become brittle. Particularly proven is the model “Shamrock”, depending on the area of travel and possible uses, you can choose between a high and a medium-high shaft.

The airy.


Whether these plastic kicks are really beautiful and satisfy the aesthetic demands of fellow travelers remains to be seen. But the fact is: they are incredibly comfortable, airy, slip-resistant and perfectly adapted to the sometimes wet conditions. Even pithy Vendée Globe sailors have been seen walking around with Crocs like slippers on board. Most importantly, they’re a great alternative to flip-flops, which really have no place on board due to the risk of injury on deck.

The Undesirables

Pumps and flip-flops

Anyone who has ever seen a smooth teak deck immediately understands why any form of high heels are undesirable on board. Not only impractical, but also harmful to the deck and floorboards. If you do arrive on board with the wrong footwear, it is better to go barefoot than to damage the ship or slip yourself with pointed heels or leather soles. Stylish yacht owners position a basket at the stern of the ship where the land shoes can be deposited.

Barefoot runners must be careful not to painfully stub their toes on deck. Depending on the size and type of boat, railing supports, genoa rails, spar fittings and cleats can be dangerous little obstacles that are hard to see, especially in the dark. If you like to wear only flip-flops in the summer when the deck gets warm, you also risk stubbing your toes. (Trekking) sandals are a good alternative.

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