Best Fishing Shoes Buying Guide For 2023
It was a slick calm day in the Gulf of Mexico, like greasy slick. We were on a grass line that us trolling nerds dream about. Current boiling together, giant grass mats, a blue-to-green color change, and a butt ton of bait. We were bailing the Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) on pretty much everything. We would hook one on the troll, we like to troll meat baits at about 7 knots, and while fighting that fish a million others would swarm the boat. Having a spinning rod and reel setup with a pitch bait, preferably a live bait, ready to go at all times is a must. We hooked a nice fish on the pitch bait and he caught this fish fairly quickly so it was super green. I never wore fishing shoes on the back deck, and if I did it was sandals. I gaffed the fish with about an 8ft homemade bamboo gaff and snatched it in the boat. If you have ever gaffed a Mahi-Mahi you know that if you do not get them directly in the box in one fail swoop, chaos will ensue. Unfortunately, my right big toe and toe nail were the casualties of this giant dolphin tail. It smacked my toe downward so hard that when it flicked back up my toenail shot off into the abyss. It was not a good time. So, that being said, this is when I started exploring different footwear options to wear on the deck.
AFTCO Ankle Deck Fishing Boots
- ICAST 2022 Best of Category Winner
- Ultra-durable 100% waterproof deck boots
- Neoprene lined with recycled fabric
- Rear kick wedge
- Welded pull strap
- Hex grip non-marking outsole
The all-new Ankle Deck Boot fulfills the rigid demands of our pro team, guides, and customers. Designed to deliver a heightened level of comfort via an inner neoprene liner that is quick drying and fully flexible. Paired with a custom compression-molded antimicrobial insole, these waterproof fishing boots offer the perfect amount of cushion, rebound, and support season after season.
Xtratuf 6″ Ankle Deck Boots
- Slip-Resistant Chevron Outsole
- 100% Waterproof
- Recommend half sizes order up
- XpressCool Liner
- Pull-On Tabs
- Toe Box Height is 1.19 inches
- Approximately 3.16 lbs
The Xtratuf 6″ Ankle Deck Boots are a versatile and durable option for those who work or play in wet environments. These boots feature a lightweight and waterproof design with a breathable XpressCool lining that wicks away moisture, preventing sweat and odor buildup. The boots also have a slip-resistant Chevron outsole that provides excellent traction on wet surfaces, and a pull-on tab that allows for easy on and off. With their comfortable and functional design, the Xtratuf 6″ Ankle Deck Boots are suitable for any fishing outing.
Huk Rouge Wave
- Grip-X Outsole Non-Marking Traction Pattern
- Neoprene and Rubber Upper
- 8MM Molded EVA Footbed
- Commercial Grade Reinforced Webbing Pull-Straps
The Huk Rouge Wave is a high-performance shoe designed for fishing. It features a breathable and quick-drying microfiber and mesh upper with a padded collar and tongue for added comfort. The shoe also has a non-marking and slip-resistant outsole with Huk’s GripX technology for superior traction on wet surfaces. Additionally, the Rouge Wave has a removable and antimicrobial EVA footbed that provides cushioning and support while keeping odors at bay. With its combination of durability, support, and water-friendly features, the Huk Rouge Wave is a reliable and functional option for anyone who spends time in or around the water.
Grundens DECK-BOSS Boots
- 100% Waterproof
- 6″ ankle-height coverage for use in a wide range of sea and weather conditions
- Thick, cushioning insole for shock resistance and cushioning
- HeiQ Pure – anti-odor lining finish to keep things smelling fresh
- HeiQ SmartTemp – thermo-regulating finish to keep things cool
- Razor-siped outsole improves traction on a wet surface
- Non-Marking Outsole
Another great option for fishing shoes is the Grundens DECK-BOSS boots. They feature a durable and waterproof upper made of hand-laid rubber with a reinforced toe and heel for added protection. The boot also has a slip-resistant, non-marking outsole with a unique siped design for superior traction on wet surfaces. The breathable airmesh lining wicks away moisture, while the removable EVA footbed provides cushioning and support for all-day comfort. The DECK-BOSS Boots are available in various sizes and colors, making them a reliable fishing shoe.
Sneaker Style Fishing Shoes
Sperry SeaCycled Headsail Sneaker
- Textile Upper Material Made With 51% Recycled Polyester
- Breathable Quick-Drying Mesh Upper
- Cushioned Removable Footbed
- Molded EVA Midsole Absorbs Shock and Vibration
- Drainage Ports To Disperse Water
- Non-Marking Rubber Outsole
- Enhanced Wet/Dry Traction
The Sperry SeaCycled Headsail sneaker is an eco-friendly shoe designed for everyday wear that is also great to fish in. It features a breathable canvas upper made from recycled plastic bottles and a non-marking rubber outsole with Wave-Siping technology for superior traction on wet and dry surfaces. The sneaker also has a memory foam footbed for cushioning and support and a vulcanized construction that ensures durability and flexibility. With its sustainable materials and versatile style, the Sperry SeaCycled Headsail Sneaker is a great choice for those who prioritize both style and environmental responsibility.
Under Armour Micro G Kilchis Recover Camo Fishing Shoes
- Highly breathable, quick-dry textile upper & stretch collar for ultimate comfort
- Slip-on design with a collapsible heel for multiple ways to wear
- Contoured midsole designed for rapid drainage
- Full-length Micro G foam midsole for all-day comfort
- Non-marking rubber outsole for grip on smooth, wet surfaces
- Weight: 9 oz.
The Under Armour Micro G Kilchis fishing shoes are specialized footwear designed for fishing. They feature a breathable and quick-drying textile and synthetic upper with a camo print for added style. The shoe’s Micro G foam midsole provides cushioning and support for all-day comfort, while the high-traction rubber outsole with a unique tread pattern ensures a reliable grip on wet surfaces. The shoe also has a removable insole with Under Armour’s Recover technology that aids in recovery after long periods of activity, making it a practical choice for anglers who spend extended periods on their feet. Overall, the Under Armour Micro G Kilchis fishing shoes offer a blend of performance, style, and recovery technology that can enhance the fishing experience.
Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
- Combination of Open Mesh And Synthetic Upper
- Air-Flow And Water Drainable Midsole Ports
- Techlite Midsole
- Superior Cushion
- High Energy Return
- Omni-Grip Non-Marking Wet Grip Outsole
- Average Weight Per Pair: 11.75 oz
The Columbia Drainmaker IV water shoe is a high-performance shoe designed for water-related activities such as fishing. It features a quick-drying and breathable open mesh upper with synthetic overlays for support and durability. The shoe also has a Techlite midsole for lightweight cushioning and superior comfort, as well as a non-marking Omni-Grip outsole with razor siping for excellent traction on wet surfaces. Additionally, the Drainmaker IV has a unique design that allows water to drain quickly, preventing water buildup and promoting ventilation.
- Anatomical, Compression-molded EVA Midsoles
- ICEVA Drop-In Footbeds
- Water-Resistant Synthetic Leather Straps With Soft, Quick-Drying Jersey Knit Lining
- Soft Nylon Toe Post Webbing
- Last-Etched Logos
- Embroidered Details
- Nonmarking Rubber Outsoles
- Coral Reef-Inspired Traction Design
The OluKai ‘Ohana is a versatile and comfortable sandal designed for everyday wear, as well as fishing. It features a water-resistant synthetic leather strap and a soft, quick-drying jersey knit lining that provides a comfortable and snug fit. The sandal also has a non-marking rubber outsole with a coral reef lug design for excellent traction on wet surfaces. The anatomical compression-molded EVA midsole provides cushioning and support for all-day comfort. The OluKai ‘Ohana is available in a variety of colors and sizes, making it a stylish and functional choice for anyone looking for a reliable and comfortable sandal to wear while fishing.
Simms Challenger Flip Flop
- Dynamic Engineered Knit Straps For Comfort When Wet Or Dry
- Right-Angle Footbed Provides All-Day Comfort
- Simms Proprietary Outsole, Micro-Siped, Provides Slip Resistance
The Simms Challenger Flip Flop is a type of footwear designed for outdoor activities, especially fishing. It features a non-marking, micro-siped rubber outsole for superior traction on wet surfaces, a molded EVA midsole for cushioning and support, and a comfortable neoprene-lined upper strap.
Grundens DECK-BOSS Sandal
- SeaDek Footbed – Reduced fatigue and exceptional traction
- Razor-Siped Outsole Improves Traction on Wet Surfaces
- Anti-Odor Properties Reduce Typical Foot Odor
- Non-Marking Outsole
The Grundens DECK-BOSS Sandal is a high-performance outdoor footwear designed for boating, fishing, and other water-related activities. It features a non-marking, slip-resistant, and non-abrasive sole that provides excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces. The sandal’s upper is made of quick-drying neoprene with a breathable air-mesh lining that wicks away moisture and keeps your feet cool and dry. They also have a reinforced heel and toe cap for added durability and protection. Overall, the Grundens DECK-BOSS Sandal is a reliable and durable choice for anyone looking for a nice pair of sandals to fish in.
Wading Shoes For Fishing
Most of my experience with fishing shoes has been while fishing on a boat, but I have really gotten into Speckled Trout and inshore fishing in general over the last few years. One of my favorite ways to target Speckled Trout when the water starts to warm up is by wade fishing. When I first started doing this kind of fishing I would go barefoot and that tactic had many flaws.
My feet were cold and I was constantly worried about stepping on a shell, a piece of glass, or a multitude of other hazards that can lay on a sand bar or a mud flat. Including and most specifically sting rays, a good pair of wading shoes for fishing will help protect your feet and up your ankle a bit. I purchased a pair of dive booties that keep my feet warm and also protect them from all of the above and then some.
Cressi Tall Neoprene Boots
- Zipper Closure
- Built In Sole to provide extra comfort.
- Super Elastic Neoprene
- Boot Thickness Provides Toughness While Maintaining Warmth
- Built In Fin Strap Holder
- 5mm Neoprene Construction
The Cressi tall neoprene boots are designed for water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing but they work perfectly for wade fishing. These boots have a high-top design that covers the calf for added protection against the elements. They are made of durable and flexible neoprene material, which provides excellent insulation and comfort, while the reinforced sole offers superior traction on wet and slippery surfaces. Additionally, the boots have a zipper closure with a water-resistant seal, making them easy to put on and take off.
Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe
- 3.5mm Neoprene Upper
- Cuff Adjustment Around Upper Heel
- YKK Durable Zipper
- Rubber Outsole And Toe Protection
The Hodgman neoprene wade shoe is a versatile and durable option for anglers. These shoes feature a lightweight and waterproof design made of durable neoprene material, which provides excellent insulation and comfort. The shoes also have a reinforced toe and heel for added protection against rocks and other hazards, and a non-slip rubber sole for superior traction on wet surfaces. Additionally, the Hodgman neoprene wade shoe has a unique, adjustable cuff that prevents debris and water from entering the shoe while wading in shallow water.
When I say deck shoes here I am talking about every deckhand and frat boy in the late 90s and early 2000s, but this trend seems to be coming back. I personally have never worn these, I tried a pair one time for about a day. They stink, they are leather, and they are slippery and uncomfortable if you are fishing for any length of time. But, that being said, this is a popular option for fishing shoes and you will look good at the waterfront watering hole or on the sandbar. Here are a few tried and true options for deck shoes.
Sperry Billfish 3-Eye Boat Shoe
- Full-Grain Leather Upper
- 360° Lacing System Technology
- Full-Length Cushioning
- Non-Marking Rubber Outsole
- Signature Molded Wave-Siping For Enhanced Traction
The Sperry Billfish 3-Eye boat shoe is a top-notch choice for any fisherman. With its sturdy construction, comfortable fit, and slip-resistant sole, it’s perfect for long days out on the water. The 3-eye design provides a secure and customizable fit, while the breathable material keeps your feet cool and dry. Overall, the Sperry Billfish 3-Eye oat shoe is a reliable and durable shoe that every fisherman should have in their gear.
Sperry Authentic Original Boat Shoe
- Full-Grain Leather Upper
- Handsewn Moccasin Construction
- Rawhide Laces With 360° Lacing System
- Rust-Proof Eyelets
- Ortholite Cushioning
- Non-Marking Rubber Outsole
- Razor-Cut Wave-Siping For The Ultimate Wet/Dry Traction
The Sperry Authentic Original boat shoe is a classic and timeless choice for any fisherman. It’s built to last with high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship. The slip-resistant sole provides excellent traction on wet surfaces, making it a safe choice for boating and fishing. The shoe’s design is both comfortable and stylish, making it a versatile choice for both on and off the boat. Overall, the Sperry Authentic Original boat shoe is a must-have for any fisherman who values durability, performance, and style.
Dockers Beacon Boat Shoes
- Treated With Stain Defender
- Double Goring For Easy Slip-On And Off
- Footbed Treated With Cleansport NXT For Odor Control
- Durable TPR Outsole
- Lace-Up Design
The Dockers Beacon boat shoes are a reliable and comfortable option for any fisherman. The shoe’s durable construction and a slip-resistant sole make it a great choice for fishing on wet surfaces. The memory foam insole provides cushioning and support for all-day comfort. The shoe’s stylish design makes it versatile enough to wear both on and off the boat. Overall, the Dockers Beacon boat shoes are a solid choice for any fisherman looking for a comfortable and stylish shoe that can handle the rigors of a day on the water.
Women’s Fishing Shoes
Kane Footwear’s Revive
- Exterior perforations and interior channels allow enhanced airflow
- Raised footbed nodes activate blood flow in key pressure points
- Anatomical last design comfortably secures heel, arch and instep
- Built for smooth transferability and energy return from heel to toes
- Dual density construction for generous cushioning and active support
- Oversized channels and siped soles provide flexibility and traction
Originally designed as a recovery shoe, the Revive incorporates three essential features to ensure enduring comfort throughout the day: a 10mm heel-to-toe drop reduces Achilles strain, raised nodes on the sole invigorate feet, and a roomy fit accommodates natural foot expansion. Whether navigating the boat, beach, or docks, these attributes maintain relaxed and supported feet. Additionally, the Revive is waterproof and features upper ventilation holes, offering the freedom to venture ashore without concern for wet or waterlogged shoes. What’s more, the Revive is crafted using a sustainable, sugarcane-derived foam that actively captures carbon. Both the upper and sole utilize Kane’s RestoreFoam, comprising more than 75% sugarcane materials.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Fishing Shoes
There are several factors that I personally think about when I am trying to buy the best fishing shoes. Am I going to be getting my feet wet? How wet? Ankle deep wet or just hosing the deck off, wet? A very important lesson that I learned with that toenail and lots of other fin-related injuries, was that having closed-toe shoes are very important for safety. The closed-toe option is usually more slip resistant as well. Especially if your sandals get slippery on top when they get wet. Leather is bad about that. I try to avoid leather sandals for the boat. Choosing the right fishing shoes can make a significant difference in an angler’s performance and overall fishing experience.
Here are a few additional things to think about when evaluating which fishing shoes will be best for your pursuits.
- Traction: Fishing shoes should provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces, such as wet rocks and boat decks.
- Comfort: You’ll be wearing your shoes for long hours, so they should be comfortable and provide adequate support for your feet.
- Water resistance: Fishing shoes should be water-resistant, waterproof, and/or easy to dry to keep your feet comfortable.
- Breathability: Fishing shoes should allow your feet to breathe, so they don’t get too hot or sweaty.
- Durability: Fishing shoes should be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of regular use.
- Weight: The weight of your shoes should be light enough to allow for comfortable movement.
- Style: You may want to choose fishing shoes that match your fishing gear or personal style.
- Protection: Fishing shoes should protect your feet from sharp rocks, fishing hooks, and other hazards.
- Support: Fishing shoes should provide ample support for your ankles and arches to reduce the risk of injury.
- Fit: Choose shoes that fit well and are not too tight or too loose.
Types of Fishing Shoes
Ankle boots are a popular choice for fishing shoes for a number of reasons. Here are some benefits of ankle boots for fishing:
- Ankle support: Ankle boots provide support for your ankle, reducing the risk of sprains or twists while walking on uneven or slippery surfaces.
- Protection: Ankle boots protect your feet from fishing hooks, toothy fish, gaffs, and any of the other dangers that you may find lurking on the back deck.
- Water resistance: Many ankle boots are made of waterproof or water-resistant materials, which keeps your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions.
- Traction: Ankle boots usually have non-slip soles that provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces like wet rocks or boat decks.
- Comfort: Ankle boots are typically designed with comfort in mind, providing padding and support in the right places to keep your feet comfortable even during long days on the water.
- Style: Ankle boots are available in a range of styles and colors, so you can choose a pair that matches your fishing gear, boat, or personal style
Sneaker Style Fishing Shoe
Another great option for the angler that has a little dryer of a fishing situation such as a yacht or a big charter boat with dry decks. There is a style of breathable shoe that is tennis shoe-like in nature but has adapted to the marine environment with materials made that will dry quicker and allow your foot to breathe. This is going to be your most comfortable option, but if you are getting your feet wet throughout the day this can be a tough option.
- Comfort: Sneaker-style fishing shoes are typically very comfortable and lightweight, making them ideal for long hours on the water.
- Versatility: Sneaker-style fishing shoes can be used for a variety of fishing environments, including freshwater and saltwater.
- Style: Sneaker-style fishing shoes are often designed to look like regular sneakers, making them a stylish and practical choice for anglers who want to look good on and off the water.
- Traction: Many sneaker-style fishing shoes have non-slip soles that provide good traction on wet and slippery surfaces, reducing the risk of falls and accidents.
Fishing sandals are ideal for anglers who fish in warmer climates. They are designed to provide maximum ventilation and are made of lightweight and quick-drying materials. Here are some benefits of choosing Sandals as fishing shoes:
- Breathability: Sandals are open-toed, providing ventilation and breathability to your feet, which can be particularly useful in hot weather o when wading in water.
- Lightweight: Sandals are often lightweight and flexible, making them easy to pack and carry.
- Quick-drying: Some sandals are made with quick-drying materials, which can be useful when wading in water or in wet conditions.
- Versatility: Sandals are versatile and can be used for a range of fishing environments, such as beach fishing, river fishing, or lake fishing.
- Traction: Many sandals are designed with non-slip soles, which can provide traction on slippery surfaces.
- Comfort: Sandals can be comfortable and offer freedom of movement, allowing your feet to breathe and flex as needed.
- Easy to wear: Sandals are easy to slip on and off, which can be useful when you need to quickly adjust your footwear or when you are taking a break.
Wading Fishing Shoes
Wade fishing shoes are specially designed to provide stability, comfort, and protection for anglers who wade in the water while fishing. Here are some important points to consider when choosing wade fishing shoes:
- Durability: Wade fishing shoes are exposed to harsh elements such as water, sand, and rocks, so they need to be durable enough to withstand these conditions. Look for shoes made from high-quality materials that can withstand wear and tear.
- Fit: The fit of your wade fishing shoes is important for comfort and support. Look for shoes that fit snugly but not too tight, and consider trying on several different sizes to find the perfect fit.
- Weight: Lightweight wade fishing shoes are easier to move around in the water, and they won’t weigh you down. Look for shoes that are made from lightweight materials, such as synthetic mesh.
- Drainage: When you’re wading in the water, it’s important for your shoes to drain quickly so that they don’t become waterlogged and heavy. Look for shoes with good drainage holes that allow water to escape easily.
How to Care for Fishing Shoes
Proper care and maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of your fishing shoes and keep them in good condition. Here are some tips for caring for your fishing shoes:
- Clean your shoes after each use to remove any dirt, mud, or salt that may have accumulated. Use a soft brush or cloth to wipe the shoes and remove any debris.
- If your fishing shoes are made of leather, use a leather cleaner and conditioner to keep them soft and supple. Follow the instructions on the cleaner and conditioner carefully.
- For non-leather fishing shoes, you can use mild detergent and warm water to clean the shoes. Be sure to rinse the shoes thoroughly and let them air dry.
- Avoid drying your fishing shoes in direct sunlight, as this can cause the materials to fade or crack. Instead, let them air dry in a shaded area.
- If your fishing shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper or a towel to absorb excess moisture. This can help them dry more quickly and prevent any damage to the materials.
- Store your fishing shoes in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid storing them in damp or humid areas, as this can cause mold or mildew to form.
- If your fishing shoes have removable insoles, take them out and let them air out separately to prevent odors from forming.
What shoes to wear deep sea fishing?
When going deep-sea fishing, it’s important to wear shoes that are comfortable, provide good traction and can handle exposure to saltwater and rough conditions. When choosing shoes for deep-sea fishing, consider the specific conditions and environment you’ll be fishing in, as well as your personal preferences and comfort. Make sure to break in your shoes before your fishing trip to avoid blisters and discomfort. For Colder and wetter days, look towards ankle deck boots. For warmer days, sandals offer many benefits. If you know your feet won’t be staying wet, sneakers make a great choice.
Do you wear socks with fishing shoes?
Ankle boots and tennis shoe style shoes are typically worn with socks. Wearing socks with fishing shoes can provide several benefits, such as reducing friction, preventing blisters, and keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Socks can also help absorb sweat and odor and provide additional cushioning and support. When wearing socks with fishing shoes, choose socks made of breathable, moisture-wicking materials, such as wool or synthetic blends, to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Avoid cotton socks, which can trap moisture and cause blisters. Ultimately, the decision to wear socks with fishing shoes is a personal one based on individual comfort and preference. Don’t wear socks with sandals, Dad.
What shoes to wear on a fishing charter?
The shoe option that you choose to wear on a fishing charter will strongly depend on what type of fishing you will be doing that day. The most important question you need to ask here is what will you be fishing for, what kind of boat will you be on and how long will you be on the water? If it is a small center console, chances are your feet will get wet at some point throughout the day.
Also, a longer trip will make me choose a more comfortable option than a sandal. If you will be on a larger charter boat, will the deck be wet or dry all day? I have been on lots of charter boats that have bone-dry decks all day. But, I have also been on charter boats that run a saltwater wash-down hose on the boat all day to keep it wet to make clean-up easier. If the deck will be wet all day, ankle boots are your answer.
If the deck is bone dry all day, then the best for dry conditions and comfort will be the sneaker-style fishing shoe. Sandals will be best for everything in between. Also, I usually carry a pair of ankle boots and dry socks with me if I leave the house with sandals on just in case. A spare pair of shoes is always a good option on a boat. Also, if you want bonus points with the deckhand and the captain, look towards fishing shoes with non-marking soles.
Choosing the wrong fishing shoes can lead to discomfort, injuries, and even accidents, which can ruin your fishing experience. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right shoes that meet your specific needs and preferences. Consider the environment, comfort, traction, protection, water resistance, and durability when choosing your fishing shoes. Taking the time to select the right pair can result in a more enjoyable and safe fishing experience.
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