Boots and shoes are one of the most important pieces of apparel you can own when fishing. You will spend most of your time fishing on your feet, whether it’s on shore or in the water. Even if you are fishing from a boat, you will want to make sure that you have the right pair of shoes to maintain your footing on the boat and keep your feet dry should any water come in.
The kind of boots and shoes that you need while fishing depends on what type of fishing you plan on doing. If you’re shore fishing in good weather, hiking boots or athletic shoes will probably work. If you’re planning to enter the water, you’ll want rubber boots or water shoes to stay dry and keep your feet protected from rocks. Finally, if you’re on a boat, you will want quality boat shoes that have non-slip and non-marking soles. There are a number of other fishing shoes that you can use and we’ll cover them later in this guide.
In this guide, we’ll walk through the various fishing shoes you can buy. We’ll explain what they’re good for, their pros and cons, and what to look for. We’ll also provide you with recommendations for which shoes in each category are best. You will certainly want to buy more than one type of fishing shoe since some shoes are better for certain environments than others. You don’t want to be caught in a storm while shore fishing with boat shoes.
Rubber Fishing Boots
Rubber fishing boots provide all-weather foot protection since they are both waterproof and durable enough for fishing trips. They are one of the staples in any angler’s wardrobe. There are a lot of options to choose from, so choose wisely.
Height, also known as cut, plays a key role in the sorts of boots you choose. High-cut fishing boots, like the Duck and Fish Buck Man 16″ fishing boots, are great for shore anglers who will frequently be in and out of the water. They are also great if you will be walking in wet grass since they keep your lower legs dry. While high-cut boots may seem like overkill for boat fishing or really warm days, they are almost necessary for shore anglers.
Mid-cut rubber fishing boots, such as the MuckBoots Hoser Mid Boot, tend to cover the ankle and sometimes the lower calf. These tend to be preferred if you are simply looking for a pair of fishing shoes to keep your feet dry from the rain. Make sure that when you try on these mid-cut boots that your rain pants still cover them. The purpose of the rubber boots will be minimized if you still have exposed skin while wearing them.
If you’re going fishing during cooler weather, you will want to look for insulated boots. Often lined with fleece or neoprene, insulated rubber boots will keep you warm and dry while fishing.
Waterproof Fishing Shoes
Waterproof fishing shoes function much the same as fishing boots, but with a much lower cut. These shoes are great for late spring to early fall while the weather is warm since they allow your feet to breathe better. Again, if you are looking to use these shoes to keep your feet dry while it rains, you will want to make sure that your rain pants cover the tops of these shoes so that water doesn’t leak in.
You’ll want to make sure that your fishing shoes come with a strong grip on the soles so that you don’t slip on rocks covered in algae. Because these shoes don’t have a ankle support , you can easily twist your ankle while scrambling over rocks. The XIANG GUAN waterproof fishing shoes are our recommended fishing shoe if you’re looking for grip.
These shoes aren’t meant for colder conditions, so if you plan on going out in colder weather you might want to consider buying a pair of high-cut boots above which can provide better insulation.
Boating & Deck Shoes
If you’re going to be fishing from a boat, you’ll want a pair of boat or deck shoes. These shoes not only provide some level of water protection, they also come with anti-slip and anti-marking soles so that you can safely walk around your boat.
Most boating shoes provide plenty of cushioning in the mid-sole to absorb the shock of bouncing in waves all day. They are generally made from breathable materials, which usually contain some sort of mesh on the outside, making these shoes great for summer wear.
Boating shoes come in lots of options including both lace-up and slip on. There are also lots of styles to choose from ranging from conservative leather to athletic.
Hiking & Hunting Boots
Hiking boots or hunting boots can serve you quite well for fishing, especially if you will be mostly shore fishing. These are a great option if you already own a pair and don’t want to shell out for a new pair of boots. Insulated boots will serve you quite well in cold months.
Most modern hiking and hunting boots are made from Gore-Tex or some other breathable, but waterproof material. This way the boots can be both sturdy and comfortable.
If you’re mostly looking to fish during the summer, a high-quality pair of mesh hiking boots will work well. However, if you plan to continue fishing late into the season, you will want to buy a pair of leather hiking boots, preferably with insulation. These will keep you warm even when the temperature drops.
Water shoes are another great option for fishing. They are generally made with mesh or open sides so they provide plenty of breathability and are intended to get wet often.
These light-weight footwear options offer great cushioning and traction. They are also extremely adjustable via straps so you can find the fit that works for you. We recommend using water shoes for boat or shore fishing. If you intend to go into the water too far, we’d recommend getting the fishing shoes above since they’ll provide more protection for your feet from sharp and jagged rocks.
Sandals & Clogs
While we wouldn’t recommend sandals or clogs for any extreme fishing, they can make great shore fishing shoes provided you aren’t walking too much. Even still, we’d recommend getting a pair with straps. Thong sandals have a tendency to break and bend under while fishing.
Make sure the sandals or clogs fit properly when you buy them. If they are too big, they present a very real tripping hazard. If they’re too small, you are prone to injure your toes. To test the right size put the sandals or clogs on and tap them against a wall. If your toes touch, the sandals are too small. If they slip off easily, they are too big.
As you can see there are a lot of options for fishing footwear. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want comfortable shoes since you’re going to be standing for hours and you probably want waterproof shoes in most conditions. You’ll want to make sure you have both warm and cold weather fishing shoes/boots so you’ll be prepared for any weather. Happy fishing!