I'm Already Over Sandals—These Controversial Flats Are All I Can Think About

This week I've spotted a very specific footwear trend emerge on city streets. Retiring their strappy sandals that simply can't withstand this summer's drizzly forecast, fashion people have been reaching for the boat shoe trend to see them through the summer instead. Whilst there are plenty of interesting boat shoes on the market, it's Timberland's Noreen boat shoes that are absolutely everywhere this season.

Styling them with white crew socks or colourful pairs, the underrated shoe trend is the 2024 summer staple I never saw coming. Originally designed to grip on to the slippery floor of a boat's decking, it makes sense that we're seeing this closed-toe shoe trend more than usual right now, given the particularly wet summer we're having.

Rebecca Rhys Evans wears Timberland boat shoes.

(Image credit: @rebeccarhysevans)

Already a mainstay of Instagram's most stylish, this week I spotted Who What Wear UK's senior fashion and beauty editor of branded content, Rebecca Rhys-Evans, styling a pair during a trip to Japan. Wearing hers with Bermuda shorts, a white embroidered shirt and black sunglasses, Rhys-Evans crafted a relaxed ensemble that could hold up for a days worth of exploring.

With a thick lug-sole and full-coverage design, Timberland's boat shoes have stepped up as the hardy alternative to sandals, as well as a smarter option for when trainers just won't do.

Rebecca Rhys Evans wears Timberland boat shoes.

(Image credit: @rebeccarhysevans)

Cropping up in London, Tokyo and Paris, the shoe trend has experienced a swell of love this season. Whilst previous years disregarded as the pairs as "dated" and instead shopped sleek loafers and trending ballet flats, this summer the sleek shoe is regaining its high-end status.


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Whilst the trend still feels fresh for the summer season, I have no doubt that it won't be long until it's a mainstay in many wardrobes.

Read on to shop the specific shoe trend that fashion people love below, as well as our edit of the other best boat shoes to discover this season.



Natalie Munro
News Writer

Natalie Munro is Who What Wear UK’s news writer. Having worked in the fashion industry since her time at university—where she obtained a BA in Journalism from University of the Arts London, Natalie's experience spans journalistic and styling roles. In the early stages of her career Natalie predominately worked on editorial shoots for fashion publications such as British Vogue, Vogue Ukraine, AnOther Magazine and Elle UK, before moving into journalism roles.

On completion of her degree she interned in the editorial team at British Vogue and later went on to freelance for the publication. Here, she developed her interest in reporting on the latest fashion news and trends. Inspired by the dynamic nature of the industry, Natalie went on to write for other lifestyle and fashion brands and publications before taking on the role as News Writer for Who What Wear.

With an interest in uncovering the latest fashion trends, Natalie takes a leading role in identifying news for Who What Wear UK. Focusing on trends on and off the runway, as well as street style and celebrity fashion, Natalie reports on a daily basis, ensuring that she remains ahead of the trends. Natalie also creates content for Who What Wear’s social channels including TikTok and Instagram on a weekly basis.