How to Break in Sperry’s Boat Shoes Correctly

In short: Submerge your Sperrys in a container filled with salt water. Then, wear your boat shoes around as they air dry. The material will expand and then shrink to mold itself perfectly to your feet.

Sperry’s boat shoes are the perfect footwear for a relaxing day on a boat or yacht. However, getting them to fit at the ultimate comfort level may take months, maybe even years to reach.

After the initial purchase of your boat shoes, you’ll want to take a couple of days to break them in. In this article, you will learn how to break into Sperry’s boat shoes as fast as possible.

How to break in Sperry’s boat shoes

A little salt water and patience can help you break in your new Sperry’s boat shoes and give them a weathered look. Make your Sperry’s boat shoes more comfortable with the following tips:

1. Fill a bucket with warm water

Take a flat plastic box or bucket, long enough to accommodate your pair of Sperry’s boat shoes horizontally. Fill the box with enough water to reach the top of the boat shoes.

The water should not be high enough to reach the interior of the boat shoes. If it reaches the interior of the boat shoes, empty some of the water and try again until the water level is correct.

2. Add some sea salt

Once the water level is correct, add sea salt if you want to give your shoes a more weathered look. The exact quantity you put in will depend on the amount of water you’re working with.

The salinity of the ocean is about 35 parts per thousand. This means that in every liter of water, there are 35 grams of salt, or about 3.5% of the weight of seawater comes from salts.

As a general rule of thumb, aim to use about 1 tablespoon of salt for every 1⁄4 gallon (0.95 L) of water in your container. This will give you the salinity of the ocean.

Adding salt into the water will simulate the conditions of wearing your Sperry’s boat shoes in and around the sea, which is ideal whenever you’re going for that sailor aesthetic.

3. Let your Sperry’s boat shoes sit in the saltwater

Place the boat shoes inside the box with the sole flat on the bottom.

Let your Sperry’s boat shoes sit for at least 4 hours. The salt in the water will help remove the topcoat of the boat shoes and soften the leather for a more relaxed and worn fit.

4. Air-dry your boat shoes

When time is up, remove your Sperry’s boat shoes and rinse with cold water. Let them air-dry. If the interior is moist or wet, remove the insoles and let them air dry separately.

5. Wear the boat shoes as they dry

To allow the boat shoes to conform to your feet, wear them as they air dry. For best results, go for a short walk or do some simple exercises to introduce more movement to the damp material. 

You shouldn’t have to wait long because Sperry’s boat shoes are designed to dry quickly. You’ll have your brand new pair of boat shoes looking seasoned and weathered in no time at all.

If you don’t want to wear wet boat shoes, use wooden shoe trees while they air dry. Shoe trees mimic the shape of human feet, allowing the material to stretch and loosen up.

Leather expands when it gets wet and shrinks as it dries. Together, these two reactions will result in a unique fit that feels tailor-made (or should we say sailor-made) for your feet.

Make sure you are comfortable

You can always try to break in your new Sperry’s boat shoes, but if they do not fit your feet perfectly, to begin with, they will be useless. Here are some tips to make sure you’re comfortable. 

1. Buy the right size

Feeling comfortable in your Sperry’s boat shoes starts with having the right size. No matter how many times you try to break in boat shoes that are too tight or too loose, it just won’t work. 

Make sure that there’s enough space for your toes to wiggle, and that they’re just snug enough that they won’t fall off. At the end of the day, you want to be sure your feet are comfortable.

2. Account for socks

If you plan to wear socks with your Sperry’s boat shoes, you’ll need to account for them. Socks will make the boat shoes feel tighter because they add volume to your feet.

Additionally, socks may stretch the leather too, so if you break in a pair of Sperry’s boat shoes wearing socks and then wear the boat shoes barefoot, they might feel loose.

3. Choose leather

According to Sperry, classic leather is easier to break in than other textiles. Most of their leather boat shoes are unlined, which means they mold to the shape of your feet faster.

However, leather tends to dry out after time, so if you want that nice broken-in feeling, wear your boat shoes frequently when they’re new (when the material is most pliable).

While Sperry’s boat shoes are durable, they should be taken care of properly. Products such as mink oil or leather shoe oil will help the boat shoes stay water resistant.

If you care for your boat shoes properly, they will give you years of use.

Final words

Now you know how to break in Sperry’s boat shoes. To get your boat shoes fitting comfortably, wear your boat shoes. Yep. Wear them on the beach, sightseeing, on the pier, and on the boat.

The more you wear boat shoes, the better they will fit. However, if you want to speed up the process, you can apply the tips in this article to give your new Sperrys a seasoned look.

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