Perhaps the number one rule in life is to look after your feet – and everything else will follow.
And that’s especially true when you’re out fishing. You need a good pair of fishing boots.
Keeping yourself warm, comfortable and protected is vitally important when you’re in or on the water for a full day.
And that starts with your feet.
So, put your best foot forward and read on to discover the best fishing boots on the market, and let’s keep our feet and podiatrists happy.
Table of Contents
- TOP 15 Best Fishing Boots in 2023
- Simms Men's Freestone Wading Boots
- Hodgman Aesis H-Lock Wade Boot
- Frogg Toggs Men's Hellbender Wading Boots
- Servus Comfort PVC Boots
- The Original Muck Boot Company Wetland Boots
- Rugged Shark Great White Fishing Boots
- Kamik Hunter Snow Boots
- Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Boots
- Redington Youth Crosswater Wading Boots
- Tidewe Rubber Hunting Boots
- Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots
- Xtratuf Performance Series Deck Boots
- Xtratuf Legacy Series Fishing Boots
- Dunlop Chesapeake Boots
- Dubarry Galway Tall Goretex Boots
- What to Look for in the Best Fishing Boots
- Fishing Boots FAQ
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TOP 15 Best Fishing Boots in 2023
What to Look for in the Best Fishing Boots
So, you’re in the market for the best fishing boots – but how do you choose the right ones?
Read on for our in-depth buyer’s guide that will help choose the right fishing shoes for you.
Why You Need a Good Quality Fishing Boot
The very nature of trying to catch fish brings us close to water.
We’re either in it, on it, or beside it, and as such we need the right protective gear to keep us warm, dry, and comfortable.
This is particularly true if you’re going to be fishing in the rain – or in any other challenging conditions and/or terrain.
While you should also be wearing one of these quality fishing jackets, you most certainly need a pair of durable fishing boots.
Sneakers just aren’t going to cut it – especially if you’re wading out into the water. You need something with a slip resistant, rugged sole that offers unbeatable traction over slippery surfaces.
This can include boat decks, muddy river banks, underwater rocks, and everything in between.
Wearing a pair of quality fishing boots can make the difference between a successful day of fishing and a broken ankle.
And even if we’re not talking about the worst case scenarios, nobody wants to spend a day standing in soaking wet socks. Keeping your feet dry is essential for comfort.
The best rubber boots for fishing will ensure you can fish safer for longer – and that means more chances of landing a catch.
Type of Fishing Boot
The type of footwear is important when considering the best fishing boots for your needs.
Key Features to Look for:
- Hook and Loop Lace Systems
- Excellent Drainage
- Easy Donning and Removal
- Grippy Soles
Wading boots are designed to be used with waders that have neoprene booties. Still, some models can double as more versatile boots depending on the design and sole.
Unlike other fishing boots, wading boots are designed to let water in.
That’s right. It is the waterproof neoprene sock of your waders that keep your feet dry! Ideally, you need to pick a wading boot that has plenty of holes for drainage.
Wading boots can also get pretty heavy when full of water, so you want to ensure that they have really secure lace systems that will keep them firmly in place.
You’ll generally see two types:
- Felt soled wading boots – Perfect for soft bottoms. Be aware that they soak up mud and moisture, spreading waterborne parasites. As a result, they are banned in certain areas.
- Studded wading boots – Studded boots are great for both soft and rocky bottoms. They are universally accepted on all waters too. If offered the choice, go for studded wading boots.
Key Features to Look for:
- Any insulation is always a good bonus
- Good grip
- Zipped sides for easy removal
- Cushioned soles
Rubber boots or Wellington boots are easily the best waterproof boots for fishing. Hence, if you need something that will seriously keep the elements at bay, go with this type.
Also, rarely are they really insulated, and they certainly aren’t breathable. I’d strongly recommend pairing them up with a thick pair of socks for maximum comfort.
Speaking of comfort, sizing can be troublesome, and they’re not designed for hiking long distances. A good alternative would be to hike down to the lake using regular hiking boots, then change into wellingtons once you get closer to the water’s edge.
Nobody wants to spend a day standing in soaking wet socks.
The best rubber boots for fishing will stop that happening, ensuring you can fish safer for longer – and that means more chances of landing a catch.
Key Features to Look for:
- Low ankle
- Excellent grip
- Ankle loops
Deck boots do exactly what it says on the tin, and they’re designed for use while fishing from the deck of a boat. They usually have a small ankle with a slip-on design and provide a sturdy and stable grip.
They have a shorter ankle than wellingtons. In theory, you won’t be standing in the water. And what’s more, you’ll need some flexibility in your ankles to avoid slips and falls if the boat is moving. They are also easier to kick off if you go overboard, meaning swimming is easier.
Deck boots are great for boats but not the best choice if you have to walk a considerable distance.
Key Features to Look for:
- Comfort (blisters can make your day a nightmare)
- Good ankle support
- Sturdy grip
- Waterproof qualities
Hiking boots are highly versatile and can be used for several outdoor activities – including fishing. There’s no reason that hiking boots can’t be used to go fishing – and they will be the best option if you’re walking any kind of distance to reach your fishing spot.
Hiking boots can be waterproof too. However, this does have a limit. While they are great for making your way through mud and very shallow water, they aren’t really designed for wading, so plan accordingly.
Because you’ll be using them when navigating rough terrain, you will need great ankle support. Turning your ankle before you get to the bank is going to seriously limit your fun.
Size and Weight
As previously mentioned, sizing can be a little tricky with certain types of fishing boots – particularly the rubber kind.
Wearers often experience problems with the ankle or calf area of the boot, and loose-fitting shoes can be the result.
As such, it’s important to use sizing guides and check reviews for people with the same size feet as you.
Weight also plays a part too. Unfortunately, the trade-off in purchasing heavy-duty footwear is that they’re going to be heavier to actually wear.
Consider the environment in which you’ll be wearing the fishing boot before purchasing. That should help you narrow down your choice.
Here are some really quick tips for choosing the right fishing boot size:
- For wading boots, go a size bigger than your usual shoe size. You’ll have to squeeze in the neoprene socks of your waders and also will be wearing thick socks too, so give yourself room.
- For Wellington boots and deck boots, aim for your usual shoe size. They tend to run big anyway, and on top of this, you will almost certainly want to wear a thick pair of socks too.
- For hiking boots, go for your usual size. Sloppy boots that are too big won’t provide any support and may even increase the likelihood of stumbling.
Materials and Waterproofing
Of course, we’d all like our garments to be able to keep the weather and conditions at bay, but some are much better at it than others.
100% waterproof boots are usually made out of durable PVC. In contrast, other boots use various materials, including synthetic leathers, polyester, and nylon.
When it comes to waterproof materials, all of the above will work well to keep water out, but there is something else you need to consider.
PVC and rubber boots are not going to breathe at all. This means that as your feet perspire, the moisture has nowhere to go.
Here’s a quick table demonstrating which boot materials are the most waterproof and how breathable they are:
|Boot Material||Waterproofing Level||Breathability||Warmth|
|PVC Rubber||High||Very Low||Low|
Without going into the gory details or putting the fear of God into new anglers, fishing does suffer its fair share of accidents.
All sorts of injuries occur when fishing, especially when ice fishing. However, most of these can be avoided with the right gear, planning, and a lot of common sense.
And it’s in this department that good quality fishing boots can really come into their own. If this concerns you, look for boots offering supportive ankles – not dissimilar to basketball boots.
Ankles should be high and comfortable, designed to prevent rolling while practical enough to wear all day long. Keep a good eye on how the boots are secured to your ankles. Laces are always good, but hook and loop systems are about as strong as it gets. They also make it easier to take your boots off at the end of the day too!
And while we’re talking about fishing accidents, remember that sun damage contributes to injuries when you’re out on the water – so wear a good quality fishing hat. You’ll keep those harmful UV rays at bay.
Sole and Grip
You can literally stand or fall on a fishing boots grip, so you need to make sure that the grip on the sole of your fishing boots is adequate for the task at hand.
Consider again where you’re going to be walking and how much traction you’ll need.
Non-marking rubber soles are preferable if you’re on boat decks, as you certainly don’t want your boots making a mess – especially if you’re not the owner of the craft.
The deeper the grips, the more purchase they will afford you on the ground as a general rule. If you can find boots with chunky grips, extra studs, or spikes, I’d advise you to go for them.
Like I always say, you can never have too much grip.
When it comes to footwear, I always encourage people to spend that little bit extra for something that’s good quality and built to last. You’ll be on your feet throughout the day, and, like any equipment that you are going to use often, you’ll want your fishing boots to be the best quality you can afford.
I’d suggest going to the upper end of your budget. You can really consider a good pair of fishing boots as an investment.
You certainly don’t want fishing boots falling apart on you at any moment – let alone when you’re standing in a stream. And like many products, the old adage applies here – good fishing boots aren’t cheap, and cheap fishing boots aren’t good. Always buy the best you can afford.
Fishing Boots FAQ
What are the warmest fishing boots?
The warmest fishing boots are those which have the best insulation. Look for features such as fur lining and padding in the upper and ankle sections. Don’t neglect to focus on the sole area, either. Thick insoles are good, as are soles that are hollow or air-filled, as they prevent cold from seeping up into your foot.
The warmest fishing boots don’t have to be the most expensive. The Kamik Snow boots have all the features I’ve just described above. They are fur-lined and have a drawstring at the top, keeping all of that toasty warm air locked in around your feet. The soles are also full of air, offering excellent insulation from the ground beneath your feet.
Are hunter boots good for fishing?
Generally speaking, Hunter boots are an excellent choice for fishing. They are made of durable rubber and are normally lined, offering a degree of cold protection. While these are both great qualities, hunter boots go all the way up to your calves.
This can make walking long distances awkward. In this case, you might want to consider something slightly less restrictive.
Are muck boots good for fishing?
Muck boots can be great for fishing, provided you aren’t going to be standing in particularly deep water. They offer more mobility than full-length wellington or hunter boots, but with all of the water protection. They also provide excellent grip.
They are an excellent choice if you want a high degree of water resistance but need to walk further to access your swim.
What are the best rubber boots?
For some seriously hard-wearing rubber boots, the Dunlop Chesapeake’s are really great value. They offer the best in class when it comes to grip, and they are super durable. I love that they are lightweight, and they aren’t wallet heavy either.
They are an excellent all-rounder in various situations and can be used whether boat fishing or shore fishing.
Do you wear socks with fishing boots?
Normally, you should wear socks with fishing boots. You create an extra layer of insulation by adding socks, keeping your feet and toes a little warmer.
On top of this, socks wick away moisture from your feet. You can get chapping and irritation if this doesn’t happen as the moisture has nowhere to go. Finally, by wearing socks, you will keep your boots fresher for longer.
There are certain types of fishing boots, such as crocs, that aren’t designed to be worn with socks; however, in 95% of cases, you will want to keep your feet as well wrapped as possible.
How to care and maintain fishing boots?
Knowing how to care for and maintain fishing boots is vital to ensure their longevity. Here are some top tips for maintaining and caring for your fishing boots:
1. Ensure They are Always Dry Inside
We have all been tempted to cast our boots into the corner of the garage after a hard day’s fishing, especially when they are wet.
Don’t do that!
If you leave boots wet, they can turn moldy, and the lining can be irreparably damaged. It is never pleasant to put water-soaked boots back on either.
Instead, store them upside down and stuff them with dry newspaper overnight. The following day, remove the newspaper and, if necessary, add fresh, dried paper until the boots are dry.
2. Keep Them Somewhere Temperate and Dry When Not in Use
The elements can have a detrimental effect on your boots over long periods, especially if they are stored in cold areas. This can cause cracks and splits in rubber, meaning you’ll find a leak next time you are out on the water.
Be sure to keep your boots in a temperate climate and make sure they aren’t subject to areas of extreme heat or cold.
3. Remove Any Dirt and Grime Before Storing
There are several reasons to get rid of any muck from your boots before storing them.
First, it’s easier to remove fresh dirt than that which has been ‘baked on’.
Second, fishing boots have a nasty habit of dropping dried dirt on your carpets.
Finally, certain types of dirt can hold salt and minerals, which will gradually cause your fishing boots to perish.
4. Disinfect Your Fishing Boots
If you fish in several locations, it is well worth disinfecting your fishing boots.
Waterborne parasites can be transferred from water to water with dirty boots. To disinfect them, give them a quick dip in a weak solution of household disinfectant or a tablespoon of bleach in a bucket of water.
5. Apply Treatments to Leather Boots
Leather boots can be costly and need specialist care. Being a natural material, fishing boots need to be nourished and supple to ensure longevity.
It can also help keep them waterproof too. Perhaps once a month or so, apply beeswax or saddle soap to the outside of leather boots to keep them in top condition.
6. Consider Using Boot Shape Keepers
If boots are compressed, they lose their shape and can be prone to cracks and corrosion.
Consider some boot shape keepers or shoe trees. These cheap plastic feet (link to Amazon.com) hold the structure of your boot (when your feet aren’t in them). As a result, your best fishing boots will stay looking newer for longer.
It’s very important we look after our feet at the best of times, and doubly so when we’re getting into the great outdoors for our next adventure, whether that’s for fishing, hiking, climbing – or anything else.
I hope this review has helped point you in the direction of the best fishing boots for your needs. Let me know which model you’ve gone for and why.