There are a whole lot of dad vibes in fashion these days. In the last few years, dad hats, dad jeans, and, of course, dad sneakers have all made the leap from fusty to fashionable. But somehow, boat shoes—the daddest footwear of all; the ones your pops still wears to all manner of cookouts, camping trips, and baseball games—were left behind to rot, too normcore even for normcore.
Or that was the case, anyhow, until 2022 rolled around. Thanks to designers of every stripe, a whole new breed of boat shoe is emerging: slicker and brasher and altogether cooler, more reflective of the adventurous spirit one would expect of footwear designed for the decks of yachts. The timeless moccasin shape and sturdy non-slip soles mostly remain the same, only updated in new colors and materials that fit your weirder, wider-ranging wardrobe. Here are 15 forward-thinking pairs to slip into all summer. Your old man’ll be proud.
The OG Boat Shoe
We may have spent the intro to this story clowning on regular-ass boat shoes, but that’s not to imply that Sperry—who invented the damn things way back in 1935—don’t still make some next-level versions of their signature product. Scroll past the stuffy brown ones that every orthodontist in America wears on vacation, and you’ll find these color-blocked bangers made exclusively for J.Crew. They’re preppy as ever, but not in a stale way. Authentic and original, just like the name says.
The New-School Boat Shoe
The most 2022 of all boat shoes—the kind that feel less “JFK in Hyannis Port” and more “aspiring micro-influencer in baggy jeans and a fitted”—plop handsome, high-quality leather on top of chunky, slush-conquering soles. Yuketen’s sandy suede riff on the silhouette is one of the best we’ve seen yet, and the Japanese craftsmanship means they’ll last just as long as your Goodyear-welted brogues—and look way sicker broken in.
The Fancified Boat Shoe
The neo-prep revival isn’t going anywhere. And as Ivy Style enters its dirtbag era, brands like Sid Mashburn—the Atlanta-based operation steered by the cheery menswear expert of the same name—are primed to lead the charge. Mashburn’s entire MO centers around gently remixing the foundational elements of the classic American wardrobe by making them feel fun again: a splash of color here, a tweaked silhouette there. A prime example? His yacht-ready camp mocs, handsewn in Portugal out of a fetching bottle green leather. Already own white pants and a faded ringer tee? Congrats: now you’ve got a perfect summer fit too.
The All-Weather Boat Shoe
The best way to ruggedize a pair of boat shoes? Swap out the deck-ready soles for ones you’d normally find on your favorite pair of winter stompers. And thanks to the new-era Americana whizzes at Engineered Garments (and their signature multi-color paneling) there’s no shortage of ways to wear them. If ever there were boat shoes to pair with your go-to vintage military fatigues (or better yet, newfangled cargos), these would be them.