If you’re serious about fishing, you’ve probably spent a fair bit of money on all the gear you think you need: rods, hooks, lures, reel, fishing line, sunscreen, waterproof outer layers, crate-full of fishing snacks – you name it. But many of us forget about an absolute fisherman’s essential: a good pair of fishing shoes.
Unlike a normal pair of boots or trainers, fishing shoes are designed with breathability and ease of movement in mind. They’re intended for getting wet, and many are even designed for submersion in water. A quality pair of fishing shoes can reduce your risk of an accident when you’re out on the water.
Of course, there are many different types of fishing, and you can expect to find suitable shoes for each occasion. If you’re wade fishing, fly fishing, deep-sea fishing or relaxing at the side of a river, there’s a fishing shoe for you. Most fishing shoes are quick-dry, helping to keep your feet as warm and comfortable as possible during a long day in the outdoors.
Whether you’re after the best boat shoes for boat fishing, or you want a pair of sandals that will keep you comfortable while you wade in the water, we’ve covered all of our top picks below in this best fishing shoes guide.
Top 7 Best Fishing Shoes
Best Overall - Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
The Columbia Drainmaker is ideal for all fishing scenarios, earning it the title of the best overall fishing shoe. It’s capable of handling exposure to water thanks to its open mesh sides and areas of drainage in the heel and forefoot. With a removable insole, you can choose to add additional comfort and cushion for long periods of standing up.
The Drainmaker IV is priced fairly reasonably. It’s designed like a lace-up running or tennis shoe – a bonus if you don’t enjoy the look of a classic boat shoe or river sandal. It can be worn on boats or shores, where feet are likely to be exposed to water, or in wading fishing situations where feet are fully submerged.
Keep in mind that you’re probably best avoiding super sandy locations when wearing the Drainmaker, as the sand will enter the tiny mesh sides and drainage areas. You’ll get the most comfortable experience out of the shoe when fishing from areas of (relatively) dry land with fewer pebbles and dirt.
This man’s fishing shoe has an Omni-Grip non-marking outsole to increase traction on slippery surfaces like wet rocks and water-streaked decks. Whether you wear the shoe with or without socks, your foot won’t move about, as you can adjust the straps along the instep to loosen or tighten the shoe to fit to the shape of your foot. You may find that wearing this shoe with socks is more comfortable when walking on surfaces containing tiny pebbles or sand particles.
The Columbia Drainmaker holds up well despite the conditions it’s exposed to. It dries much more quickly than standard tennis shoes and can be worn, dried and used on a daily basis. The shoe requires very little break-in and is designed to offer ultimate comfort from the get-go. If fisherman’s blisters aren’t your friend, the Columbia Drainmaker is the best overall shoe for you.
Best Value - DLGJPA Men’s Lightweight Quick Drying Shoes
Fishing shoes don’t need to cost an arm and a leg to offer the quality you’d expect – as proven by the DLGJPA Men’s Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes. These waterproof fishing shoes are priced between $18.99 and $29.99, making them one of the best value, high-quality fishing shoes on the market.
With a high-traction, lightweight design, the DLGJPA Men’s Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe is ideal for comfort and movability underwater. It blends synthetic materials with a bouncy rubber sole to help you move with freedom in a fly fishing or wade fishing situation.
The DLGJPA Men’s Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe uses a water grip outsole for maintaining exceptional traction on slippery or uneven surfaces. If you’re wearing these shoes on a boat deck or slick, pebbly surface, you’ll be able to keep a strong grip throughout your fishing activities. With a good drainage, you can wear them all day long without waterlogging or heaviness.
This fishing shoe is designed with Fluidflow technology to drain water from the upper mesh to the outsole, which offers the quickest drying breathability while keeping out the majority of sand and pebbles. The material allows the shoe to fit snugly to your foot, but some sizing issues have been reported, with several customers advising to buy a size down if you want the closest fit.
The DLGJPA Men’s Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe offers no break-in period, so you’re free to get straight into intense activity without the fear of blisters. With a slip-on design, you can quickly get this shoe on and off, and there are no fussy laces or straps to deal with. As an added bonus, this fishing shoe comes in 15 different colors, so you’re guaranteed to find one that best matches the rest of your fishing gear.
Best Premium - Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe
If you have that little bit of extra cash to splash on a pair of long-lasting men’s fishing shoes, the Sperry Men's Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe is the best option you’ll find. A well-made boat shoe rarely comes cheap, but compared to other premium products of similar quality, the Sperry shoe is significantly better in value, at $85.46 to $120.95 for a pair.
This fishing shoe is designed for the safest and most comfortable fishing experience. It utilizes smart Adaptive Wave-Siping, which disperses water underfoot to reduce the potential for slippage on wet surfaces like boat decks and rocks.
If you’re keen to keep your fishing shoes as clean as possible, the Sperry Men's Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe contains a removable molded EVA footbed to simplify cleaning and maintenance. The shoe is designed for ease of use, offering comfort while allowing you to quickly and conveniently pull it onto your feet for an immediate snug fit.
The Sperry Men's Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe offers impressive durability and is designed to withstand the test of time regardless of the environments you expose it to. The shoe offers a modern, trendier take on the classic boat shoe, making it ideal for everyday wear should you wish to get the most use out of your purchase. You can choose between a neutral color range of Grey, Sudan Tan, and Navy.
Unsurprisingly, with its prime use being as a fishing shoe, the Sperry Men's Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe comes in water-resistant leather, with mesh uppers to drain water and offer the quickest drying process to prevent a case of day-long waterlogging. It offers more athletic potential than a traditional boat shoe, allowing you to move with freedom and stay stable all day on the water.
Best Wade Shoe - Hodgman Neoprene
Wade fishing requires a tough, reliable wading shoe designed for fishing in sandy, stony creeks, streams and ponds. At $44.70, the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe is a great value for the high-quality experience it offers.
If a pair of wellington boots are too clunky to enable you to get the best out of your fishing activities, the Neoprene wading booties are a great alternative for wade fishing, deep-sea fishing or fly fishing. By fully enclosing your feet, you’ll be able to walk through dirt, sludge, plant life and other common water cloggers without catching any of it inside your shoes.
The Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe is excellent at insulation, so even while your feet are submerged in colder lakes and streams, your toes should stay at a comfortable temperature throughout the day. There’s no need to worry about accidents involving pointy rocks, twigs, seashells, and other debris, either, as the Neoprene fishing shoes have a thick outer rubber sole to protect your feet from injury.
One irritable aspect of wade fishing is consistently having to clean your shoes out of gravel, but the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe is designed to prevent this external loose stone from getting into the less comfortable crevices. With a tight fit and zippered closure, if you purchase the most snug-fitting pair of these wade shoes, they won’t let anything get through around your ankles.
You can choose to wear the Neoprene shoe with or without socks. If you’re prone to blisters, you’ll be better off purchasing some fishing socks to offer protection from chafing around your ankles. Most anglers should find these wade shoes comfortable enough to wear barefoot, but if you do plan to wear socks, consider buying a size up to account for the extra layer of material.
For the price, the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe is a great value fishing shoe. It’s tough in design, comfortable in fit, and offers the best traction for all fishing activities.
Best Fishing Sandals - SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Shoes
Not everyone enjoys constricting their feet when fishing in water, and the SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Fishing Shoes offer more freedom and open-air breathability. Costing between $37.90 and $64.12, this fishing shoe offers a sturdy, durable quality for the price.
The SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Fishing Shoe is designed with ultra-lightweight EVA material to create an almost invisible sensation around the feet and ankles. If you enjoy fishing barefoot, but want to avoid the risks of doing so, this fishing sandal offers the next best thing.
Foot support is essential in all fishing activities, and the SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Fishing Shoe provides an equal measure of balance and comfort to keep you safe when faced with currents and uneven surfaces. The shoe is designed with an ergonomic arch and a one-piece molded EVA material, which essentially absorbs any heel shock you may experience from standing on rockier terrain, reducing foot fatigue.
Most importantly for anglers, the SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Fishing Shoe is 100% waterproof and features a waterproof removable inner sole to simplify the cleaning and drying process between uses. It’s suitable for wearing on any occasions, and isn’t limited to fishing use only.
These fishing shoes come slightly oversized, so it’s wise to buy down a size to get the best fit. You can wear the SHIMANO sandal with fishing socks if you’d rather prevent tiny rocks and sediment from directly coming into contact with your skin, but again, keep sizing in mind if you plan to do this.
The SHIMANO EVAIR Marine Fishing Shoe comes in a range of neutral color tones, including black, khaki, grey and camo. The closed toe box offers protection when out on the deck or exposed to sharp material in water, while the open side ports allow for ventilation and a bit more wiggle room.
Budget Sandals - Crocs Swiftwater Wave
If you’re looking for a pair of lower-priced fishing sandals without compromising on quality, the Crocs Men's Swiftwater Wave Sandal Flat is a great choice. Priced at $16.80 to $61.19, this quick-dry sandal is one of the best fishing sandals for a smaller budget.
The Crocs Men's Swiftwater Wave Sandal Flat is the most water-friendly shoe by the Crocs brand, and features siped outsoles which channel water away from the foot, preventing waterlogging and improving traction. They give a good grip on all surfaces, making them suitable for use in a variety of fishing situations, including wade fishing and deck fishing.
This fishing sandal uses perforated uppers for comfort and breathability. If you don’t like your feet to be entirely covered by a fishing shoe, the Swiftware Wave offers a bit more freedom. Keep in mind, though, that the larger gaps may allow for sand and dirt to get into your shoes, so a pair of good fishing socks may be the best accompanying purchase you choose to make.
The shoes provide the comfort and quality that the Crocs brand has become renowned for. Croslite™ foam construction won’t absorb water, offering a much quicker drying solution between wears. You can simply hose them off to remove dirt, and they’re essentially good to go again. The sandal is all-purpose, so there’s no reason to limit it to fishing use only.
With a fixed heel strap, the Crocs Men's Swiftwater Wave Sandal Flat offers the support you need to stay sturdy during your fishing activities. Note that sizing runs a little too large, and there is additional space around the toe area that may take some getting used to.
The Crocs Men's Swiftwater Wave Sandal Flat style is a reflection of the ever-improving Crocs design while continuing to maintain the elements of practicality that make the sandal ideal for outdoor water-based activities. You can choose from a range of colors, from the more understated shades of black and navy, to louder oranges, greens, and blues.
Worthy Mention - Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Our best fishing shoes review wouldn’t be complete without a final worthy mention – the Merrell Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe. Selling at a competitive price of $69.99 to $237.62, this men’s fishing shoe is a great thermal choice for fishing in cooler temperatures with cold water exposure.
The Moab 2 provides the comfort and support of a great-quality fishing shoe. As it’s primarily designed for hiking, you can expect the shoe to offer good flexibility and movement on unstable surfaces and slippery decks.
You won’t need to break into the shoe, and there’s plenty of softness to keep your feet comfortable right from your first wear. The toe box offers sufficient space for lunging, leaning, stooping, or any movement that puts more pressure on the front area of your foot.
The Merrell Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe has a fairly thick sole, although it could perhaps offer greater foot protection for use on rockier and sharper surfaces. The shoe is designed like a standard tennis shoe with laces, and the tongue’s soft padding allows you to get a good level of tightness around your ankle without cutting off circulation.
Compared to a standard fishing shoe, the Moab 2 is slightly heavier, although this may be attributed to the shoe’s thicker, insulating material and more stable base. Traction is exceptional, with the sole providing a high-friction grip that sticks well to wet and dry surfaces.
The Merrell Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe isn’t water-resistant, but features upper mesh that absorbs water fairly well. While this fishing shoe might not be the best choice for wade fishing, it’ll offer good protection from water splashes and paddling in shallower areas of water. The shoe material dries quickly, so any wetness you do experience shouldn’t result in hours of soggy-footed discomfort.
Why Do I Need Fishing Shoes?
You may think a pair of basic trainers will suffice for fishing - and in some cases, it will!
However, as you get more serious with your angling, you'll realize just how important having the right footwear is. Special-designed water shoes have a handful advantages over regular shoes or sandals.
- Some are waterproof - Several of the models in this guide will allow you to keep your feet dry even though you submerge them in water. This is something you'll be thankful for on a cold winter day.
- Quick-Dry functionality - Fishing regularly? with quick-dry functionality you'll never have to come back to find your fishing shoes still wet and soggy from your last trip to the river. This also helps with bad smell immensely (no wet dog smell allowed!)
- Solid non-slip sole - When things get wet, they get slippery too. Evidently, a lot of water is going to be involved when we're fishing, so maintaining a safe and strong grip on the surface you're standing on is paramount to your own safety. This is something many regular trainers don't offer to the same extent.
What Type of Fishing Shoes To Get
As with anything, footwear for fishing comes in a variety of different types and styles.
Some will favor certain scenarios and weather conditions over others. Different fishing shoe types include:
- Boat shoes
- Wade shoes
- Fishing sandals
- Slip-on water shoes
- Fishing boots
If you're fishing in hot weather conditions, you may want to opt for a light fishing shoe, whether it be a trainer-like boat shoe, slip-ons or sandals. The most important thing here is comfort, grip and breathability.
If you're fishing in colder conditions, a solid, thick and waterproof footwear solution is ideal. For this, you want something that doesn't let too much heat out, while making sure it doesn't allow water in either. We've all tried getting wet feet in the cold and that's just asking to get sick.
Wrapping It Up
You should now have a solid foundation for picking one or more pairs of fishing shoes to best suit your requirements.
I realize getting proper footwear for fishing isn't a priority for many and others may find it outright gimmicky. But just like a soccer player or a marathon runner wears specific shoes with distinct features to elevate their performance, these shoes do the same for anglers.
While they aren't going to catch fish for you, your own safety and comfort is ensured for years to come. This is something that too many of us take for granted, as we shrug off our infirmities, but your body deserves better.
Nothing left to say than thank you for reading and have fun out there!