How to Stop Your Heel from Slipping Out of Boat Shoes


Boat shoes are a popular choice for many people, offering a comfortable and stylish option for everyday footwear. However, one common issue that boat shoe wearers encounter is heel slippage. There’s nothing more frustrating than walking around and constantly feeling your heel slide out of your shoe. Fortunately, there are several solutions you can try to prevent this problem from occurring. In this article, we will explore the causes of heel slippage in boat shoes and provide practical tips and tricks to help you keep your feet secure and comfortable.

Understanding the Problem

Why do boat shoes have a tendency to slip off?

Before delving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why boat shoes have a tendency to slip off. Boat shoes are designed with a non-slip sole and a low, easy-on, easy-off silhouette. While these features are great for maritime activities, they can contribute to heel slippage on dry land. The lack of a secure heel counter or a high back can cause your foot to shift while walking, leading to discomfort and instability. Additionally, boat shoes are typically made of soft, flexible leather or canvas, which can stretch over time, exacerbating the slipping issue.

When it comes to boat shoes, the slip-off problem is not just an inconvenience, but it can also be a safety concern. Imagine walking on a wet dock or a slippery deck, and your shoe suddenly slips off, leaving you vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Understanding the reasons behind this issue can help us explore effective solutions.

Common issues with boat shoes and heel slippage

There are several common issues that can contribute to heel slippage in boat shoes. Firstly, purchasing the wrong size or fit is a major culprit. Wearing boat shoes that are too big or too small can lead to heel movement and slippage. It’s crucial to find the right size that provides a snug fit without constricting your foot.

Furthermore, certain foot characteristics, such as a narrow heel or high arches, can also increase the likelihood of experiencing this problem. The lack of proper support or a mismatch between your foot shape and the shoe’s design can result in heel slippage.

Lastly, excessive wear and tear on the shoe’s grip can reduce traction, making it easier for your heel to slide out. Over time, the sole of boat shoes can wear down, losing its grip and compromising your stability. Regular maintenance and replacement of worn-out shoes can help mitigate this issue.

Understanding these common issues can empower you to take proactive steps in preventing heel slippage and enjoying the comfort and functionality of your boat shoes.

Choosing the Right Size and Fit

The importance of proper sizing

To combat heel slippage, it’s crucial to start with the right size and fit. Proper sizing ensures that your foot is securely held in place, reducing the likelihood of slippage. When purchasing boat shoes, be sure to measure both feet and choose the size that fits your larger foot. It’s advisable to try on the shoes and walk around in them to assess the fit accurately. Remember that genuine leather shoes may stretch slightly over time, so avoid the temptation of buying shoes that feel slightly too snug initially.

Choosing the right size and fit for your boat shoes is essential not only for comfort but also for optimal performance. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even potential foot problems in the long run. Therefore, taking the time to find the perfect fit is well worth the effort.

Tips for finding the right fit for your boat shoes

When trying on boat shoes, pay attention to the width and length. Ideally, your toes should have enough room to wiggle, but your heel should not slide up and down. Take note of any pressure points or areas that rub uncomfortably, as this can indicate a poor fit. If you have narrow feet, consider looking for boat shoes with adjustable laces or straps that can be tightened to provide a more secure fit. Conversely, if you have wider feet, choose boat shoes with a wider toe box to prevent discomfort.

It’s also important to consider the type of activities you will be engaging in while wearing your boat shoes. If you plan on using them for boating or water sports, a snug fit is vital to ensure stability and prevent accidents. On the other hand, if you’ll be wearing them for casual outings or everyday use, you may prefer a slightly looser fit for added comfort.

Another factor to consider when finding the right fit is the material of the boat shoes. While genuine leather shoes may stretch over time, synthetic materials tend to have less give. Keep this in mind when trying on different pairs and make adjustments accordingly. It’s always a good idea to consult with a salesperson or read customer reviews to get an idea of how a particular brand or model fits.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the socks you’ll be wearing with your boat shoes. If you typically wear thicker socks, it’s important to account for that when trying on shoes. Conversely, if you prefer thin or no socks, you may need a slightly smaller size to compensate for the lack of padding.

By following these tips and taking the time to find the right size and fit, you can ensure that your boat shoes not only look great but also provide the comfort and support your feet deserve. Remember, a well-fitting pair of boat shoes can make all the difference in your overall experience and enjoyment.

Using Insoles and Inserts

Heel slippage can be a frustrating problem, especially when wearing boat shoes. Fortunately, there is a simple and effective solution: using insoles or inserts. These handy accessories provide additional support and cushioning, helping to keep your foot snugly in place within the shoe.

When it comes to choosing the right insoles or inserts, quality is key. Look for options made from materials that absorb shock and provide arch support. Gel or memory foam inserts, for example, can add extra comfort and prevent your heel from slipping. Simply place the insoles or inserts inside your boat shoes, and adjust them until you achieve the desired fit.

Different types of insoles and inserts to consider

Not all insoles and inserts are created equal. There are various types to consider, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

If you require arch support, orthotic insoles may be the way to go. These specially designed insoles are crafted to address foot conditions such as flat feet or high arches. By providing targeted support, they can help alleviate discomfort and prevent heel slippage.

For individuals with sweaty feet, moisture-wicking insoles can be a game-changer. These innovative inserts are made from materials that actively draw moisture away from the skin, helping to keep your feet dry and comfortable. By reducing excessive moisture, they can also minimize the risk of slipping caused by sweat.

In addition to traditional insoles, there are also adhesive heel grips and cushions available. These specialized accessories are designed to provide extra grip and padding specifically for the heel area. By adding an extra layer of support, they can help prevent heel slippage and enhance overall comfort.

When selecting insoles or inserts, it’s important to consider your individual needs and the specific characteristics of your feet. Take the time to explore different options and find the ones that work best for you. Remember, a well-fitted shoe with the right insoles or inserts can make all the difference in preventing heel slippage and ensuring a comfortable stride.

Adjusting Laces and Straps

Properly tightening boat shoe laces

An often overlooked method for preventing heel slippage is adjusting your boat shoe laces properly. Many boat shoes feature laces that go all the way around the shoe, allowing you to tighten them to your desired level of snugness. Take the time to lace up your boat shoes properly, ensuring that they are secure but not too tight. Pay special attention to tightening the laces around the heel and arch area to provide maximum stability and reduce sliding.

When adjusting the laces, it’s important to consider the type of material used for the boat shoe. If your boat shoes are made of leather, keep in mind that leather tends to stretch and mold to the shape of your foot over time. Therefore, you may need to periodically readjust the laces to maintain a secure fit. On the other hand, if your boat shoes are made of canvas or other materials, they may require less frequent adjustments as they tend to hold their shape better.

Another tip for properly tightening boat shoe laces is to use a technique called the “heel lock” or “lace lock.” This method involves creating an extra loop with the laces at the top of the shoe, near the ankle. By threading the laces through this loop before tying them, you create a more secure fit around the heel, reducing the chances of slippage. The heel lock technique is particularly useful for those with narrow heels or those who engage in activities that involve a lot of movement, such as boating or hiking.

Utilizing straps and buckles for a secure fit

In addition to laces, some boat shoes feature adjustable straps or buckles. These can be a valuable tool in preventing heel slippage, as they allow you to customize the fit according to your foot shape and size. If your boat shoes have straps or buckles, experiment with different tension levels to find the most secure and comfortable fit for your heel. Remember to periodically check the tightness and readjust as needed throughout the day for optimal comfort and stability.

When using straps or buckles to secure your boat shoes, it’s important to pay attention to the placement and tightness of the straps. Make sure the straps are positioned to support the arch and heel area, as these are the areas most prone to slippage. Adjust the straps to a snug but not overly tight level, ensuring that they provide enough support without cutting off circulation or causing discomfort.

It’s worth noting that boat shoes with straps or buckles offer an advantage in terms of convenience. Unlike laces, which may require retying throughout the day, straps and buckles can be easily adjusted with a quick flick of the wrist. This makes them particularly useful for those who are constantly on the move or engage in activities that require frequent adjustments, such as sailing or fishing.

Whether you choose to use laces, straps, or buckles, the key to preventing heel slippage in boat shoes is finding the right balance between security and comfort. Take the time to experiment with different techniques and adjustments to find what works best for your feet. Remember, a secure fit not only prevents slippage but also enhances your overall comfort and stability, allowing you to fully enjoy your boating adventures.

Trying Alternative Methods

Using heel grips or cushions

If traditional methods fail to solve the problem, consider using heel grips or cushions. These adhesive solutions attach directly to the inside of your shoe’s heel and provide extra grip, preventing slipping. Heel grips can be particularly helpful if your boat shoes have stretched over time or if you have a narrow heel. Choose a durable and comfortable material, such as silicone or microfiber, and apply the grip according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Exploring adhesive solutions for added grip

If heel grips are not sufficient, there are adhesive products available that can enhance the grip between your foot and the shoe. Look for adhesive traction pads or tapes designed specifically for use inside shoes. These products adhere to the shoe’s insole and create a textured surface that can help minimize heel slippage. Be cautious when removing these adhesive solutions, as they may leave residue on the shoe’s interior.


Heel slippage is a frustrating issue that can detract from your comfort and confidence when wearing boat shoes. However, with the tips and solutions provided in this article, you can take proactive steps to prevent and minimize the problem. Remember to start with the right size and fit, consider using insoles or inserts for added support, adjust laces and straps to secure your foot in place, and explore alternative methods such as heel grips or adhesive solutions if necessary. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort and style of boat shoes without the annoyance of heel slippage.