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A decent pair of boat shoes are a worthwhile investment if you plan to sail, or spend time on a boat for any length of time. Typical sneakers won't be as effective as you might think. Here's why: Boat decks inevitably become wet, so passengers need extra gripping action to keep from slipping. Some sneakers have good treads, but boat shoes are designed for this express reason. Leather boat shoes have a treated top, which deflect water absorption. Also, boat shoes are low-cut allowing wearers to slip in and out of them easily, since being barefoot is another regular way of life for those on the water!